General Adaptive Potential. This concept is based on work Hans Selye did on our body’s stress response called the General Adaptive Syndrome. Imagine two horizontal, parallel lines:
The space between the lines represent the range where our bodies operate normally. (Handling environmental stressors correctly with no adverse response.)
However, suppose something happens that causes that gap to decrease. This could be toxins we take into our bodies, trauma, or even emotional stress. Those stressors can affect our ability to effectively deal with them. As a result, things that did not affect us before, now are causing us problems.
You can imagine that things we could handle effectively before now fall outside of the upper limits of the GAP. As this process continues, the GAP can become more and more narrow, resulting in a progressive decrease in our ability to deal with life.
For example: Perhaps you know someone who never EVER got sick. Then, they got a new job, moved, and/or had a child. Now, they seem to be ill every other month. The external physical and internal emotional stressors have reduced your friend’s GAP, resulting in the inability to process their environment as efficiently as they could before.
But there is good news! This GAP can also be increased, which we will discuss in the future.