The “sense of coherence” is a theoretical formulation that provides a central explanation for the role of stress in human functioning.
“Beyond the specific stress factors that one might encounter in life, and beyond your perception and response to those events, what determines whether stress will cause you harm is whether or not the stress violates your sense of coherence.”
Antonovsky defined Sense of Coherence as: “a global orientation that expresses the extent to which one has a pervasive, enduring though dynamic feeling of confidence that (1) the stimuli deriving from one’s internal and external environments in the course of living are structured, predictable and explicable; (2) the resources are available to one to meet the demands posed by these stimuli; and (3) these demands are challenges, worthy of investment and engagement.”
In his formulation, the sense of coherence has three components:
- Comprehensibility: a belief that things happen in an orderly and predictable fashion and a sense that you can understand events in your life and reasonably predict what will happen in the future.
- Manageability: a belief that you have the skills or ability, the support, the help, or the resources necessary to take care of things, and that things are manageable and within your control.
- Meaningfulness: a belief that things in life are interesting and a source of satisfaction, that things are really worthwhile and that there is good reason or purpose to care about what happens.
According to Antonovsky, the third element is the most important. If a person believes there is no reason to persist and survive and confront challenges, if they have no sense of meaning, then they will have no motivation to comprehend and manage events. His essential argument is that “salutogenesis” depends on experiencing a strong “sense of coherence”. His research demonstrated that the sense of coherence predicts positive health outcomes.
Learn the Art of Salutogenesis… Coherence…in 30 days
In 30 days I will share with you the knowledge and application of nature’s universal laws in such a way as to satisfy all the criteria of “coherence” – life changing….
Applied to Stress Coherence can save your life.
The Result of being off track, out of balance for too long is chronic stress and this puts your health at risk…
Chronic stress can wreak havoc on your mind and body. Take steps to control your stress.
I believe that people get chronic stress from giving too much to others and not enough to self. This then has a multiplying effect, of losing the sense of purpose, feel unfulfilled or depressed, all because their life is somehow out of balance.
Your body is hard-wired to react to stress in ways meant to protect you against threats from predators and other aggressors. Such threats are rare today, but that doesn’t mean that life is free of stress.
On the contrary, you undoubtedly face multiple demands each day, such as taking on a huge workload, paying the bills and taking care of your family. Your body treats these so-called minor hassles as threats. As a result you may feel as if you’re constantly under attack. But you can fight back. You don’t have to let stress control your life.
The normal reaction for people in stress is to focus solely on one or two of the seven areas of life. For example, if they are down in career, they might turn to a coach. Down in health, they might end up at a gym or personal trainer. Mentally down they might start meditating, and so on.
The problem with this is that as one aspect grows, another shrinks. Being unfulfilled at work so they decide to drive harder but as a result, family and love-life suffers. Or if their finances are struggling they might start worrying about money and ignore health. The overall stress level doesn’t change, it simply moves to different causes. Old stresses may go away, but new ones appear. Nothing, at a stress level really changes.
Understanding the natural stress response
When you encounter a perceived threat — such as a large dog barking at you during your morning walk — your hypothalamus, a tiny region at your brain’s base, sets off an alarm system in your body. Through a combination of nerve and hormonal signals, this system prompts your adrenal glands, located atop your kidneys, to release a surge of hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol.
Adrenaline increases your heart rate, elevates your blood pressure and boosts energy supplies. Cortisol, the primary stress hormone, increases sugars (glucose) in the bloodstream, enhances your brain’s use of glucose and increases the availability of substances that repair tissues.
Cortisol also curbs functions that would be nonessential or detrimental in a fight-or-flight situation. It alters immune system responses and suppresses the digestive system, the reproductive system and growth processes. This complex natural alarm system also communicates with the brain regions that control mood, motivation and fear.
When the natural stress response goes wild
The body’s stress-response system is usually self-limiting. Once a perceived threat has passed, hormone levels return to normal. As adrenaline and cortisol levels drop, your heart rate and blood pressure return to baseline levels, and other systems resume their regular activities.
But when stressors are always present and you constantly feel under attack, that fight-or-flight reaction stays turned on.
The long-term activation of the stress-response system and the overexposure to cortisol and other stress hormones that follows can disrupt almost all your body’s processes. This puts you at increased risk of many health problems, including:
- Digestive problems
- Heart disease
- Sleep problems
- Weight gain
- Memory and concentration impairment
That’s why it’s so important to learn healthy ways to cope with your life stressors.
Why you react to life stressors the way you do
Your reaction to a potentially stressful event is different from anyone else’s. How you react to your life stressors is affected by such factors as:
- Genetics. The genes that control the stress response keep most people on a fairly steady emotional level, only occasionally priming the body for fight or flight. Overactive or underactive stress responses may stem from slight differences in these genes.
- Life experiences. Strong stress reactions sometimes can be traced to traumatic events. People who were neglected or abused as children tend to be particularly vulnerable to stress. The same is true of people who have experienced violent crime, airplane crash survivors, military personnel, police officers and firefighters.
You may have some friends who seem relaxed about almost everything and others who react strongly to the slightest stress. Most people react to life stressors somewhere between those extremes.
Self-leadership – Learning to react to stress in a healthy way
Stressful events are facts of life. And you may not be able to change your current situation. But you can take steps to manage the impact these events have on you.
You can learn to identify what stresses you and how to take care of yourself physically and emotionally in the face of stressful situations.
Back on track has two basic goals;
1 Firstly, to achieve balance across all the seven areas of life and secondly, to decrease chronic stress (stress levels you may not be aware of but show up in your biochemistry.
Back on Track stress reduction is vital for companies and for individuals. It saves lives.
If we can reduce depression, divorce, financial breakdown, emotional trauma, mental health problems and illness are all long term consequences of stress, ie.. being off track for too long.
Back on Track™ is both a preventative and a maintenance program. It can be in the form of a 2-day workshop for corporate teams or private coaching or an intensive 30-day programme.
The unique feature of Back on track is that you not only get to reduce stress by getting back on track in a sustainable healthy way but you learn a process for catching chronic stress early for the future.. it means you can regulate your wellbeing and life balance and not be caught with your pants down in the future.
What do you think? Does it resonate with you? Do you know anyone who you think might benefit from this?
Let’s help reduce the stress without taking our foot off the “succeserator.”
The reward for learning to manage stress by getting back on track fast is peace of mind and perhaps a longer, healthier life.