We all know stress! Stress comes in many shapes and sizes. Some allows us to grow, learn, adapt, and change for the better; things like hunger, thirst, curiosity, even pain are stresses that encourage us to grow.
So, what happens when we can’t adapt and grow with the stress of our life? Sometimes distress overwhelms our ability to respond. Sometimes hunger, thirst, curiosity, and pain can slow us down and make living difficult, which may require that we ask for help from friends, family or even strangers. Sometimes this distress lasts longer than we can handle, or is so overwhelming that we try to escape or numb ourselves- that’s toxic stress. That’s the type of stress that causes risky behaviors, health issues and makes life difficult.
Did you know that your early life experiences set us up for how much stress we can tolerate? Early bonding to parents and those who care for us, and later to extended family, friends, school and community build resilience and allow us to ‘surf the wave’ rather than being ‘pulled under the rip current’ of distress and toxic stress. Our brains and bodies grow differently when they are safe and nurtured, which gives us the ‘muscle’ to stay on top of ‘the wave’.
“Adverse Childhood Experiences” or ACEs are categories of abuse, neglect, and household dysfunction that make a child’s home unsafe and unpredictable. The following video, by a leading expert in ACEs, Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, describes the surprising effects of early adversity and the health outcomes https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=95ovIJ3dsNk . Unsafe schools, neighborhoods and communities can also be sources of stress for those who live there.
There are ways build personal, family and community strength to balance the negative effects of stress that we all face. In the end that strength comes from connection- living and growing in trusted, nurturing families, and being connected to safe schools, neighborhoods and communities. We can handle distress and toxic stress when we have someone we trust to turn to for love and support. Humans are meant to be connected; relationships help us feel safe enough to be curious, learn, explore, and trust the world and others.
The Schuylkill Resiliency Project’s Families Grow Together is an opportunity for any family to strengthen their bonds, build their ability to surf the stress that life throws at us. Located at the Pottsville YMCA, Families Grow Together, meets on Tuesday evenings from 5:30 – 7:00 to explore healthy relationships. On Saturday mornings (10 – 12) the families gather to do fun, family activities such as drumming circles, art projects, and yoga all designed for parents and kids to share time together. This program is FREE, runs in 6-week blocks, and is open to any family in Schuylkill County. It is FREE because of the generosity of PA Taxpayers through a grant from the PA Commission on Crime and Delinquency. Thank you.
Please contact Tracy at 570-728-3476 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and to register for the next group. Remember, Relationships = Resilience