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  • Brian Anderson

Handling Life Events that Trigger the Stress Response

I like to believe that, most of the time, I am in control of my thoughts. I am able to do this, in part, by focusing on getting the positive chemicals (Dopamine, Oxytocin, Serotonin, Endorphins) flowing in my brain and body as early in my day as possible, as touched upon in prior posts. An interesting aspect that I’ve noticed lately is that for those occasional life events that naturally trigger a stress response, I generally am able to glide through those situations in fairly short order during the day because I already have the positive chemicals flowing. The empowering chemicals keep the cortisol of stress at bay.

What I’ve noticed lately though is that, come early the next morning, when I wake up and the positive chemicals aren’t flowing fully yet… such life events can become unexpectedly bothersome. I think, “Wait a minute, I thought I handled that yesterday. What’s going on here?”

I now realize that I am (and surely many others are) fortunate to have a built-up-resiliency during the day due to positive momentum of the day. But then, overnight, our brain may do some additional deliberating on an issue while we sleep. When we wake up, we may then have a second go-round with the issue early in the morning, during what, for many, may be our least resilient point both psychologically and emotionally. This is an occasional scenario, at least for me, that is just a natural part of the dealing-with-life-events process.

Gaining this awareness has been helpful for me in that, the first time I deal with something substantial during the day, I know off the top that I might need to do some gratitude and perspective activities early the next morning to address the issue a second time. Now, I’m not surprised by the situation. Being somewhat prepared for this allows me to skip the possibility of the energy-draining/momentum-killing being-disappointed-in-myself aspect as well as any time spent trying to figure out, “Why do I feel ‘off’ this morning?”

I now realize there are certain situations that may come up in my mind a second time. It’s normal for humans. And I’ve got strategies to deal with it, so there is no need to worry about it. And after I deal with it a second time in the morning, when I’m most susceptible to drifting thoughts, I’m done with it.

So if you ever wake up wondering why things don’t feel right, even though there shouldn’t be anything out there that is bothering you… perhaps there is a little residue laying around from a prior event, which you aren’t consciously aware of, that perhaps needs to be addressed.

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