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How can you beat stress and do stress management in the modern world?

Let's start by understanding what your stress system is designed for. If you look at the animal world from which we evolved, you can see that the stress system is designed for short-term survival situations. Our stress system is designed for situations where we encounter a tiger while walking in the jungle. Even deer, mice, or snakes have stress systems for imminent and high-threat situations.

The problem, if we can call it that, is that one of the victories of humanity is that today we almost never face life-or-death situations. We live quite safely. We have a comfortable place to sleep, we have enough food, etc.

What we are seeing today is our stress system being activated inappropriately. The stressors we encounter these days are mostly long-term. We deal with sources of stress such as how we will pay our rent at the beginning of the month, how we will find a job, how we will find a partner, where climate change will end, what inflation will be. The stress we face today is more chronic and long-term. The problem is that there is only one stress system in our body, and it is a system designed for short-term stress. Our body also activates this system against long-term and chronic stressors of the type we encounter today, which creates bigger problems.

Today, when we are stressed, we tend to think: “okay, now I am stressed and this stress is overwhelming me. Therefore, in order for this stress to go away, I should resort to behaviors that will help me escape from stress. “I will do things that will distract me.” But the things we do to escape from stress do not make it disappear. And so the problems pile up and pile up and pile up.

Then we cross a critical threshold and the stress now surpasses your feeling of overwhelm. You postpone things until the last moment and try to solve the problem with a burst of stress at the last minute. But our performance at this point is not very good. We become a bit exhausted and stressed and we try to do everything in a very short time, we try to do everything in a hurry. After all, we're doing a bad job. We feel bad, we blame ourselves.

Today I'm going to talk about how to short-circuit this entire process. I will explain how stress works and then how to solve your problems in the most optimal way.

First, let's learn how our body regulates stress. Let's say you are walking in the jungle and you see a tiger. You start to run away. There is a burst of CRH (corticotropin-releasing hormone) and then cortisol and adrenaline are activated. You are running, your heart starts beating very fast, your blood pressure goes through the roof, so stress has a physical side.

After this, something really interesting happens. Once all this is activated, you start running away. There are receptors in your neck called carotid receptors that measure your blood pressure. You've probably seen ninjas knocking people out with their hands in movies. Here they are not actually cutting off the oxygen flow, they are squeezing these receptors bilaterally. When the carotid receptors are squeezed on both sides, the body thinks the blood pressure is too much. For this reason, the body reduces the blood flow rate, your blood pressure decreases and the ninja victims in the movies pass out.

If you think about it here, you'll see that the body has a natural mechanism to balance a very stressful situation. When your blood pressure increases, your heart rate slows down, which reduces blood pressure and cuts off cortisol production.

Nowadays, there is no physical component in situations where we feel stress. Cortisol levels increase, but heart rate and blood pressure do not. There is no excessive breathing because you are not physically running away from something. When you physically escape, you also release endorphins, and endorphins help you relax and calm down. In other words, your body has a mechanism that has evolved over millions of years to reduce that stress when you are exposed to high stress. You release endorphins and your parasympathetic nervous system is activated.

You can see this too when you do a very intense workout. What does your body want to do after a very intense workout? Nothing. Your body wants to sit, lie down and relax. Even though you're not mentally stressed, you don't want to do anything.

Today, we do not use any of these mechanisms in the face of stress. We feel chronic stress without homeostatic activation. No mechanism is activated to balance the stress response. The interesting thing is that if you want to get rid of stress naturally, we need to activate these natural mechanisms.

When you are overly stressed about something, do the most intense workout that your health can tolerate, as soon as you can. I'm not talking 20 minutes a day. If you're feeling super stressed, run like a monster is chasing you. Run like your life depends on it. You don't need to run for minutes, around 90 seconds of running like crazy is enough. If you are so exhausted after 90 seconds that you cannot run another second, you are doing what I recommend right.

I'm not talking about exercise here. If you use fifty percent of your capacity, you won't catch the stress system. If you use seventy percent of your capacity, you will overwhelm your stress system. If you use ninety percent to one hundred percent of your capacity, you will have a much stronger grip on your stress system.

The good thing about this method is that the more you are untrained and away from sports, the more stress reduction you will experience compared to a fit person.

A beautiful thing happens when you shut down your stress system and no longer feel stress. You stop engaging in escape behaviors. Because you now turn off CRF production with endorphins, and when CRF production is stopped, the desire to distract and avoid decreases. This allows you to do the job that stresses you more easily.

If you are in this situation, and even opening an email, sending a message to someone, or canceling a meeting causes you stress, do the hardest exercise you can. You don't have to do it for long, but do it for as long as you can. Once you do this, you will find that you slow down, stop avoiding doing things, can really concentrate on the tasks at hand, and actually get things done.

As you manage to do and finish the things that stress you, your total stress load will decrease.

Our stress system is designed for our physical survival, but in today's world it is inappropriately activated by mental things. There is an off switch in our stress system, but we do not use this button today. In fact, even when you complete a stressful task, you can't fully relax. Because when you complete a mental task, you do not put your endorphin system and parasympathetic nervous system to work. You don't really turn off CRF production.

Warning: Consult a doctor before following my advice.

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