Is Your Past Causing You Stress?
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post in partnership with StressHealth.org, and any opinions expressed are my own. Resources and information shared in this post were provided the Center for Youth Wellness. This post is the first in a four-part series.
I can’t even put my finger on where I first heard the phrase “toxic stress,” but it’s always on my mind when I think about my adult life. Emotional baggage from the past can cause serious problems in your present and future. It seems like something that would be easy to understand, but it’s probably one of the hardest things we deal with as adults. All of our experiences help shape us into the people we were, are, and will become, and when those experiences are traumatic, they tend to have a bigger impact on us than we often care to admit.
What Are ACEs?
One of my favorite songs, “Bag Lady,” touches on the subject in a way that’s entertaining and relatable to me and so many other people. But I wonder if we are really learning about how our childhood experiences may have shaped us? While browsing the Stress Health website, I learned about Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and the impact they have on us as children and adults. ACEs include experiences such as neglect, abuse, and other major stressors such as a parent’s substance abuse, witnessing violence in the home or divorce.
Before learning of this website and joining this campaign, I had countless conversations with my husband about how our childhood experiences have shaped us as parents. I’d like to think we aren’t still carrying around that emotional baggage and dealing with toxic stress, but I can’t say that for sure. The resources on the Stress Health website are invaluable for anyone searching for answers.
The Stress-Health website has an easy ACE quiz you can access to find out your ACEs score and learn more information about toxic stress. There is also this helpful video
If watching the video triggered anything in you, please visit the Stress Health website to take the ACE quiz. Adults with high ACEs scores are at higher risk for anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and other mental health problems.
Building Healthy Relationship
Emotional baggage can become very heavy, and it affects all the relationships in our lives, both personal and professional. Once you’ve learned more about how your childhood experiences are affecting you, the next step is finding ways to manage and deal with those experiences.
The common phrase “hurt people hurt people” is another phrase I’ve found myself repeating over and over. While it seems simple, it can be hard to manage and deal with emotional damage when you are unaware of the effects, especially if it’s something you’ve known since childhood.
To learn more about Toxic Stress, visit the Stress Health website, and be sure to come back for the rest of the series. Next, I’ll be sharing information on breaking the cycle of toxic behaviors and how parents with ACEs can make sure they are providing positive experiences for their children.