Stress Awareness – Why Do I Do Stupid Things?
You say something, you agree to something, you do something that hurts you or those you love.
We have all been there. If you read my first article in this series, you will know that I certainly have.
After we are done being angry we often feel regret or have to work to justify what we have done. This is a natural part of the process of anger, or any other significant emotional event.
The process of getting really angry is known as the process of arousal, or arousal cycle. You can google this safely as there are tons of good images and articles on this.
The arousal cycle is basically your autonomic nervous system getting in on the action. You have probably heard of the Fight, Freeze or Flight response, which is the same thing. Over the many generations of our existence, our bodies have adapted to respond to danger in any one of these ways, though you will probably have a default setting to one of them.
Stress is one of those things that leads us to lose emotional resources, so we escalate from what might seem stable to a crisis response fairly quickly. It looks like this:
What is called the event trigger in this image is your state of stress and what you are stressed about. It can be anything. You may have been cut off in traffic, a child may have asked for more attention than you can give, or you may have asked someone to do something and they screwed it up. The unfortunate reality is that if you are already highly stressed, the distance between your emotional state and the crisis phase is very short. It also means that you are already operating at a lowered cognitive state than you are capable of.
I have heard that you lose 30 IQ points when you hit the crisis phase. A high level of normal stress in your life will have already eaten away at some of that intelligence and creativity. Losing judgement is what leads to you doing stupid things while stressed or angry.
I know we can’t usually do anything about this while we are in the heat of anger and stress. We need to have a more strategic and ongoing plan and process to get ourselves out of these cycles and into healthier.
We want to solve what is really going wrong in our lives, and the best time to do this is when we are calm and have access to all of our intelligence and good judgment. To help you understand what the best tools and resources are look at my next two articles on assessing your level of stress and identifying supports needed to manage the 5 levels of stress.
How anger works:
If you want help with dealing with your stress and anger, feel free to book a free 30 min session with me.