What can we learn from lobsters about dealing with stress?
In recent years, stress has become viewed as something to be avoided and has also reached epidemic proportions. The role of the subconscious is to keep us safe, but the nervous system often does a poor job of distinguishing between general stress and life-threatening events. If you’re stressed about things such as work, being late or having an argument, your body can still react as if you are facing a life-or-death situation.
When you repeatedly experience the fight or flight stress response in your daily life, it can raise blood pressure, suppress the immune system, increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, speed up the aging process and leave you vulnerable to a host of mental and emotional problems.
In this YouTube video Rabbi Dr. Abraham Twerski talks about lobsters and what they can teach us about stress. Lobsters have soft insides that are encased in a rigid shell that does not expand. As lobsters grow they become uncomfortable and feel the pressure of their shell restricting their growth. In order to survive they hide away, cast off their shell and produce another in order to avoid being suffocated by their own exoskeleton. This cycle continues throughout their lives.
So what can we learn from lobsters about dealing with times of stress, when we feel out of control and are at the edge of our comfort zone? Maybe if we viewed these times as a way of building resilience as a way of learning for the future we wouldn’t be susceptible to all the negative effects that these times can have on the body. We would feel better able to cope.
As Norman Vincent Peale said “Change your thoughts and you change your world.” Or in the words of William James ‘The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.”
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