Have you ever wondered what makes some people perform at extremely high levels?
– While others easily ‘catch a cold’ when exposed to everyday germs?
How can some adapt to exceptional strain — enduring extreme cold weather or high-pressure endurance events, and …
Still perform at their best?
Is it God-given? Better equipment? Or superior tools?
It’s their ability to handle stress: physical and mental.
You see, when we are hit with a wave of stress to match a ‘potentially dangerous’ situation, adrenaline and cortisol are released. These hormones trigger a wider range of physiological events (1,4,5):
- Blood pressure rises
- Breathing becomes more rapid
- Heart rate speeds
- Glucose is released to supply immediate energy
Simultaneously, digestion, immune function, and other body functions not-essential-for-immediate-survival are suppressed. (1,4,5)
When a female lion is hunting an antelope, this series of stress-and-response makes sense:
Once the event is quickly over, the lioness gets back to her normal routine of eating, sleeping, communicating and patrolling. (2)
But in the world we live in, we are bombarded by a continual overload of stress that becomes a new, dysfunctional normal. Never really letting us ‘get back to the way it should be.’ This potential ‘chronic stress’ can lead to a long-term, negative stress response. (1,4,5)
With chronic stress, the body loses its ability to return to normal functioning. This can lead to a host of debilitating diseases such as cardiovascular disease, gut disorders, depression, diabetes, high blood pressure, and maybe even worse. (1,4,5)
One of the common ‘requirements for life’, which is highly related to stress is:
Your ability to adapt
Biologist Charles Darwin (1809-1882) is famous for saying, ‘…the fittest survive,’ and the fittest are those that best “fit” into the environment — being able to adapt to change. (1, 3)
People with a superior ability to adapt not only survive, they also have a better chance of best maintaining good health. Those with a weak ability to adapt are more prone to dysfunction, illness, or early death.
A fascinating study followed 8,000 coworkers over 18 years and found that:
Individuals over 60 years old and in the lowest third for muscle strength, were 50% more likely to die than individuals in the upper third for muscle strength. (9)
It turns out that muscle strength has a protective effect from the incidence of many diseases. (8,9)
In fact, a very interesting and highly related aspect of muscle is its ability to adapt. When a muscle is stressed, it adapts and improves its function. (7) An increase in even just a couple pounds of muscle on your body can offer tremendous physical, mental, physiological, metabolic and musculoskeletal benefits. All factors that can empower you to better adapt to change.
Our core mission of MentalStrength.com is not just about surviving… it’s about thriving. And one of the things we can proactively do to thrive, starting today, is to build a little more muscle.
So set big goals, align with great people and go after it.
All this can propel you to better adapting and thriving in whatever environment comes your way.
We look forward to your success stories!
And as always, if you need anything, we are happy to help!
Until Next Week,
Your team at Mental Strength
P.S. If you want to build rock-solid mental toughness starting today, you are invited to order the Mental Strength and Peak Performance Training Manual, immediate download, PDF (Save Big and get a valuable FREE gift, worth $49).
- Yance, Donald R. Adaptogens in Medical Herbalism: Elite Herbs and Natural Compounds for Mastering Stress, Aging, and Chronic Disease. Healing Arts Press.
- A Day in the Life: https://org.elon.edu/ncwildcat/nc-lions/dayinlife.html
- Charles Darwin: history’s most famous biologist: http://www.nhm.ac.uk/discover/charles-darwin-most-famous-biologist.html
- Chronic stress and body composition disorders: implications for health and disease: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s42000-018-0023-7
- The impact of stress on body function: A review: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5579396/
- Resistance training – health benefits: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/resistance-training-health-benefits
- Thomas D. Fahey, California State University, Chico: https://www.sportsci.org/encyc/adaptex/adaptex.html
- Association between muscular strength and mortality in men: prospective cohort study.: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18595904/
- Live strong and prosper: the importance of skeletal muscle strength for healthy ageing: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4889643/