Denying Stress Effects Can Make Them Worse
Delay is the deadliest form of denial.
C. Northcote Parkinson
Part of our human-ness includes our ability to use denial to keep ourselves safe. I know that sounds like a contradiction, and it can be at times. Let me explain.
At times, we may use denial as way to cope with a difficult situation. By not acknowledging it in the here and now, we are essentially giving ourselves a little grace period. That allows us to prepare ourselves to come to terms with an event, experience or trauma.
Staying in the cycle of denial without facing facts, can cause even more pain. It can also interfere with our ability to cope, get help and make necessary changes for our mental and physical well-being.
I’ve shared information about the specific damage that long-term stress causes. It impacts your body, your mental abilities, your relationships, and your well-being. Denying the impact of stress in your life won’t stop the damage and may even make things worse.
Denial Can Be Helpful
For a short period of time, it can help. If you’ve experienced a trauma, then a brief time of denial can provide your brain time to unconsciously absorb shocking or harmful information. That allows you time to process it without creating a situation that is beyond what you can handle in the moment.
As your mind acknowledges what’s happened, it will help you look for help and rational ways to cope. That’s how you know that your “system” works. In this case, denial helps you take a pause until you can manage a way to handle and address the problem.
Denial Will Be Harmful
When we use denial about the stress in our lives, trouble is going to follow. It often means we’re headed for some sort of physical problem. Things like high-blood pressure, heart disease and stroke are just part of the way our body will change in response to chronic stress.
Depression and anxiety are just two of the mental and emotion related stress responses.
Don’t Live in Denial
Dealing with daily, constant stress isn’t necessary. Pretending or denying what’s really happening isn’t either. Stress is part of our lives. We can’t eliminate it completely. But that doesn’t mean you have to suffer mental and physical illness.
There are effective ways to reduce stress. Once you know how to do that, you can also learn to manage the stress that’s going to pop up now and then. Your body, your friends, and your loved ones will appreciate it too!
Most of all you will gain back your peace of mind and the ability to enjoy the things in life that bring you happiness. Will bad days show up now and then? Yes, they likely will. But you can be ready with the resources to face them head on and see yourself through.