Stress to resilience and strength

By Dr. Maria Zuschmann, Integrative Chiropractor and Stress Adaptation & Performance Coach
March 2022

We are in a time that the speed of change around us is faster than ever before, would you agree? The world, technology and how we use it and our connection to others has changed and had to adapt at a pace that would make most of our heads spin.

In my work both in my Chiropractic practice and working with clients and groups about performance, the word resilience and its importance has become quite the buzz word.

So what is resilience, how do we “get it” and how do we stay strong, through times of upheaval and fast change?

By definition resilience is
• The capacity to recover quickly from difficulties
• The ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape

And one other important definition to remember is that of stress
• A state of strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding situations.

One of the first steps before “getting” resilience, is understanding what impact the stressors around you are having, so you have a clear understanding of what shape you are in right now, before you bounce back.

Are you adapting well to the circumstances around you? Or are they starting to weigh heavily on you, and you are seeing signs and perhaps symptoms? This is where the work I do assisting to recognise, manage and use your stress becomes so important.

Let’s break it down and make it simple.

Stress can have good and bad outcomes and it can get downright ugly if you don’t recognise it early. Having a stress response, otherwise known as fight/flight or sympathetic drive, is a perfectly healthy response to a stressful event. Whether that event is a physical, chemical or emotional one. Our bodies “alert” response is a very healthy one, it is designed to keep us safe from danger. Unfortunately in our modern day lives, what once might have been a short lived state of stress can be ongoing, and you can get stuck in a stress response. This is when your body can start showing “bad” and “ugly” signs of longer term stress.

The Aligned U Stress Adaptation Quiz aka The 8 Ball Survey, is a great place to start to recognise how well you are, or are not adapting to the Stressors around you right now.

The 8 Ball Survey

Having an understanding of your baselines, or the shape you are in now, allows for the right plan of attack to be put in place for you to manage your stress and use it. I like to keep things simple and focus on 5 key areas – Posture, Breath, Inflammation, Movement and Mindset.

One of the keys to “getting” resilience is to keep it simple versus complicating things.

Adding first is a great tool, if you need to make changes to manage the stressors around you differently, add good things first before trying to remove things (unless it’s dangerous of course), and work at change one step at a time.

Resilience is a bit like a muscle, once you “get” it, you can work on it like a muscle and build it into a strength.

* Dr Maria Zuschmann affectionately known as Dr M, is an Integrative Chiropractor, Speaker, Podcaster, Stress Adaptation & Performance Coach, Author and is based in Alexandria in Sydney and has been in the Health and Wellness industry for over 25 years. She also featured as the keynote speaker at the recent Fitzpatricks Client events across the country.


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