What is toxic stress?
As humans, we sometimes experience an extreme stress that overwhelms our capacity to cope. Whether that's pressure to keep grades up, a recent loss or another traumatic event, this stress can hinder how we function and interact with those around us. We refer to this as toxic stress.
Toxic stress is a subjectively perceived event and an extreme stress that overwhelms a person's capacity to cope. It usually involves a sense of helplessness and fear, and for some, the experience and feelings they get from it can become normal.
Unfortunately, as humans we cannot escape the experience of stress. Because stress is part of the human experience, at Vikara Village we believe everyone has or will experience toxic stress at some point in their lives. We also believe everyone has the ability to recover and heal from it.
We believe through the development and nurturing of healthy coping skills we can help lessen the overwhelming feelings of stress and give our participants the ability to better handle stress in the future.
Stress comes in many shapes and sizes. Just because someone has a stressful event or situation occur to them does not mean it will be toxic. There are many factors that play a part in whether or not it will become overwhelming to an individual. Below, we have provided a short list of a few examples of what could cause toxic stress:
- getting a bad grade on a test
- family pressures
- ending a romantic relationship
- rejection from a friend
- loss of a loved one or a pet
- witnessing or hearing about violence
- an unexpected family emergency