Stress and Your Stress Threshold
What is your stress threshold? Ultimately, your stress threshold is the level of stress your body can take on (or tolerate) before your muscle contractile efficiency is affected.
To better illustrate this, let's use a professional athlete as an example. If an NFL player takes a big hit on the field, the impact of this collision may or may not be enough to surpass his stress threshold that his musculoskeletal system can absorb effectively but if an "average person" were to be tackled on a football field like that, the collision would likely create some serious problems. Logically, because the NFL player likely has a higher stress threshold and their body has been better trained at handling this level of force from a collision, they are better able to withstand this impact (their stress threshold) than the average person.
When we think of “stress,” we usually think about emotional stress - being nervous for a meeting, feeling overworked, or experiencing general anxiety. In the example above, getting hit by an NFL linebacker is largely a physical stress. Other physical stresses may include the side effects of medications, a poor diet, and injuries that ones body is dealing with.
Physical And Emotional Stresses
When physical and emotional stresses add up, your body often deals with it by “shutting down” to one degree or another. This is observed when a Muscle Activation Techniques® (MAT®) Certified Specialist tests your muscle contractile efficiency (how well your muscles respond to commands from your brain). Contractile efficiency is tested when a MAT Specialist uses the Active Muscle Contract & Sustain (AMC&S) test. When an AMC&S test is not "strong" this is an indication that some form of stress has compromised that muscle (or group of muscles) ability to contract as efficiently as possible.
Another example of physical stress could be medications and in some cases even vitamins. Although vitamins are a natural substance, our bodies are not always efficient at processing this enhanced substance in a highly concentrated dose. In order to break down and absorb this increased vitamin dosage from the pill, your body often has to do an additional level of work, which can result in an additional tax on your system. When these taxes start to add up, you risk surpassing your stress threshold.
I have an autoimmune disease that causes my body to have a relatively low-stress threshold. For this reason, when I take even a multivitamin, I immediately feel worse – achy, tired, and just generally “off” – all of which are partial indicators that I am “shut down.” Of course, a lot of people take a daily vitamin and these people are perfectly fine afterward. This is because a simple vitamin, in their specific situation, is not enough to surpass their higher stress threshold.
MAT Alleviating Stress
Although vitamins and medication might cause someone to breach their stress threshold (shut you down), sometimes you need to take them. So what can you do? Muscle Activation Techniques can help improve your muscle contractile efficiency when you’re shut down and it can help raise your stress threshold so you can take on more things in life.
Sure, MAT can't prepare you for EVERY type of stress that your body can encounter but simply incorporating MAT into your routine will improve your contractile efficiency and enable your muscular system to function more optimally even in times of stress.
How You Can Control Stress
Think of your stress threshold as a bar. If your daily activities and cumulative stresses do not surpass this bar, you will likely feel fine. But once you add additional stress, say a fight with a friend, a new medication, or a rolled ankle, then your muscles will rely on compensation and eventually become progressively more “shut down.” MAT can help raise the bar so that your daily activities and even extraordinary stress will not surpass your threshold. By improving your muscle contractile efficiency, MAT allows your muscles to fire appropriately; meanwhile, with a functioning neuromuscular system, your body can focus its efforts elsewhere, keeping you healthy and feeling better.