The stress response is one of the most important life-saving reactions our body has. When environmental stress occurs, cortisol is secreted by the body to help increase blood pressure and heart rate so you can fight or run away – This is what we refer to as the “fight or flight response.”
The stress response will improve your immediate survival because it allows you to act quickly in a time of danger, but it isn’t supposed to be sustained. It is rather something temporary. As we just mentioned, the stress response is supposed to help us solve problems quickly so we can go back to our normal state.
However, stress can become a self-perpetuating cycle and become chronic. Chronic stress is common in the modern-day, fast-paced cities we live in!
Now, we’ve all watched Animal Planet or National Geographic Wild, right? Remember those scenes from the documentaries where Cheetahs chased Gazelles? Well, as soon as the gazelle senses the danger, it starts running for its dear life! No pun intended here.
This is the classical stress response – It gets triggered instantly, blood starts pumping to the extremities, and the gazelle tries to run away from the danger, disregarding whatever it has been doing up until that point.
In case the gazelle survives, it goes back to its normal state in a matter of a minute and continues eating its grass as if nothing happened.
With humans, however, it is quite different – The stress response isn’t triggered by the risk of death by predation, nor does it go away quickly like it is supposed to. As a matter of fact, humans may even get addicted to stress and negative emotions, meaning that we maintain our stress levels high.
The worst thing about this is that this classical survival mechanism shuts down the growth and recovery of the organism and the immune system. Cortisol is so great at buffering the body’s immune system that surgeons use it during organ transplants so that the patient’s immune system won’t instantly reject the organ.
The point here is quite simple – you must not allow stress to get you. Some people have higher stress tolerance and the ability not to care, while others are affected by it to a greater extent. Whatever the case may be, try and stay conscious and aware of anything that kicks you out of harmony.
Stay aware, inhale slowly, hold your breath, and exhale when you feel stress building up. Make a conscious decision to turn on your internal self-regulation, and do not allow stress to take over, let alone linger on for a long time.
The more you allow your body to be in optimal inner balance, the better it is for your overall health, performance, and progress on a physical and mental level.
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