Why ignoring stress is hazardous to health
Books / / December 19, 2019
come full circle
"I'm going to sell drugs, if only to get away with this work" - the so-Julie, the girlfriend Amelia, responded to the question "How are you?". It was the last Saturday before the start of the school year. Julia just kidding. However, the situation was more serious nowhere. She works as a teacher in high school. Her burnout reached a critical point. The idea of the beginning of the next quarter makes the poor man reaching for a bottle of wine at two o'clock.
Who likes that teacher of his child is full of cynicism and drinks the bitter life of alcohol? But there are many. Burnout is devastating, choking apathy, and most importantly, the teacher becomes chorstvym - such cases more than you might think.
- Once I came across a note about a teacher who came to the school on the first day of school is so drunk that he forgot his pants. And I said to myself: "God knows, that's your future," - confessed to Julia, drained the first glass.
- Despair - is overgrown anxiety - Amelia said, recalling his own experience as a teacher. - And the anxiety builds up because of the stress that accumulates day after day and never ends.
- Gold words! - Julie announced, pouring himself a drink.
- school problem is that you never get rid of the causes of their stress - Amelia continued. - And I'm not talking about the children.
- That's right, - picked up Julia. - In children, on the contrary, the whole point. But the administration, reports and papers terribly annoying. - And you never get rid of them. But you can do something with yourself stress. Complete cycle stress reaction.
- I totally agree! - Julia nodded. - Wait, what kind of loop?
In this chapter we will answer a question to Julia. The answer is also the basic idea of the book. "Processing" to get rid of stress and its causes - a completely separate processes. To stress is not accumulated, it is necessary to go all round.
To begin, we will learn how to distinguish between these two things.
There are stressors. They can be anything: everything you see, hear, touch, smell or even imagine in your mind carries a threat. Stressors are external: work, money, family, time, social norms and expectations, experience discrimination and so on. And there are internal. They are more difficult to describe, and they are much thinner. self-criticismThe rejection of their appearance, difficulty with self-determination, negative memories, fear of the future - to varying degrees, all of these factors can be determined by your body as a potential threat.
Stress - is nervous and physiological response of the body in a situation where you are faced with one of the above hazards.
This mechanism is to develop in us by evolution to cope with a sudden attack of a lion, say, or a hippopotamus. Once the brain detects an aggressive animal, we run an automatic "stress response" - a chain of changes throughout the body, the body adapts to the increased load. Who is going to be hot! Adrenalin fills muscles more blood glucocorticoids keep them in good shape, and the endorphins help to ignore all this discomfort. Your heart goes on a fast rhythm, tremors blood in the arteries become more powerful, which increases pressure in the vessels, and you often-pant (monitoring of the cardiovascular system - a favorite way scientists measure the level of stress). Muscles tense, reduced sensitivity to pain, acute attention, but becomes tunnel - you are focused on the current situation and on what happens to you right under your nose. All the senses are working at full speed, and memory depths snatches only information directly related to the stressor. To the maximum to ensure your survival, the body temporarily "extinguishes" the activities of other bodies: the slowing digestion, immune system parameters change (the analysis of immune activity - this is the second favorite way scientists fix the stress). Cell growth and repair can wait, reproductive function is also irrelevant. Your body and mind are changing in response to what you perceive as a threat.
And here's a lion! Stress response fills you up to the ears. What you do next?
You see, all this complex, multi-step reaction has a single goal - to deliver to your muscles the maximum amount of oxygen and energy to give you the opportunity to escape from a meeting with enemy. Other processes are temporarily inhibited. In the words of Robert Sapolsky: "We, the vertebrates, the stress-response is based on the simple fact that your muscles are waiting for a crazy race."
In general, you ran.
Two options. Or lion eats you (or tramples behemoth - no difference, then you do not care), or you are saved! Reaches to his village, the lion is chasing at his heels, but you are struggling calls for help! People run out to finish off a predator together - and you managed to survive. Victory! You rush to embrace the family and neighbors. Life is good, you are overwhelmed with gratitude. The sun shines twice as bright, as you gradually relax, knowing that to be in my body again safely. Then you and the villagers butchered carcass, grill a big piece of the fire together and feasting. The rest of the lion refers inedible away and buried with a special ritual. Return home, holding hands with his assistants, fellow villagers, whom you love so much. Deeply inhale native air and thank lion for his prey.
Stress reaction was complete. Thanks to everybody, you're free.
You deal with the stressor, but what about the most stress?
The human stress response has been perfectly tailored to the environment in which our species evolved. Action to neutralize the "lion" is simultaneously discharged stress reaction. And then you would think that the cycle of stress reaction is always terminated by the destruction of stressors - causes of stress.
But such an interpretation would be too simple.
Imagine that you are running away from a lion into a strong thunderstorm. Around blaze of lightning, and suddenly one of them a slap in the predator! You turn around and see his lifeless body. But if you are filled with a sudden calm and appeasement? Oh no! You are standing at a loss, my heart pounding. Look around in search of other dangers. Your body still wants to break away from a place: to run or fight! Or maybe hide in a cave and porevet? The gods punished this toothy monster, but your body still does not feel safe. stress response cycle must be completed. Mere threat of extinction is not enough. Most likely, you will run into the village and, gasping for breath, the villagers tell their terrible story. Everyone will groan with fear and jump for joy with you. Praise be to the heavenly gods for saving lightning!
But the modern version. Leo is ready to jump on you! Adrenaline, cortisol, glycogen - the whole cocktail is working at full steam. You grab for the gun, broads! Lev to shoot, you have been saved.
Now what? The threat was gone, but your body is still under an avalanche of physiological reactions. You still have not committed acts that the body recognizes as a signal to relax. Useless to say to myself, 'Calm down, it's okay. " It does not help even show a wounded lion. We need action, symbolizing safety. Otherwise, you will remain with this "cocktail" of hormones and neurotransmitters. Over time, it will be diluted, but the relaxation will not occur. Digestive, immune, cardiovascular, musculoskeletal and reproductive systems and remain in oppressed state, unless they receive a signal to return to full operation.
And that's not all!
Imagine that your stressor - not a lion, but some idiot colleague. He does not threaten your life, but dirty tricks on the little things. There is a meeting, he again inserts his stupid comment and you - oh God - poured adrenaline and cortisol glycogen. However, we have to sit sedately with that idiot at the same table and be cute. Perform socially approved role. This will be easier if you peremahnote across the table and scratched his brazen glazonki? Your physiology bloodthirsty enemy. Instead, you spend a peaceful, socially acceptable, is highly constructive a meeting with his boss. He agrees to support you. And if this moron will again occur, senior manager to remind him of the corporate ethics.
You deal with the stressor, but the stress is not yet gone. He permeates the entire body, as long as you do not make the magical relaxing effect.
It goes day by day... And the command "clear" all no, no.
Let's see what happens to one of the systems - cardiovascular. Chronically activated stress response leads to increased pressure. Your vessels are designed for gentle blood flow, and it is - just imagine! - gushing like a garden hose. Naturally, they quickly wear, tear, and increases the risk of heart disease.
Chronic stress seems harmless, but it causes a life-threatening illness.
And remember that the overload occurs in every organ and every system of your body. Digestion. Immunity. Hormones. The human body is not designed to live in such a state. If we get stuck in it, the stress-response instead of saving our lives is slowly killing us.
In the Western post-industrial society everything upside down on its head. In most cases, stress is killing us faster than that caused his stressor. So it goes, until you deliberately do not complete the cycle running stress reaction. As long as you are good with daily stressors, your body is trying to clear away the daily stress. You should give the body resources for discharge. This task is crucial to your well-being, along with sleep and eating.
But first we need to understand why we do not do it now.
Why do we get stuck
The cycle may hang halfway for many reasons. Most often, we see three:
1. → chronic stressor is chronic stress. Sometimes our brain triggers a stress response, you do what he asks, but the situation does not change.
"! Run" - commanded by the brain when you have thrown daunting task: to speak to colleagues, write a report or take a giant responsible interview.
While living in the XXI century, you begin to "run" as is characteristic of our contemporaries. Coming home in the evening, put the album Beyoncé and half an hour dancing with abandon.
"We ran away from a predator!" - declares the brain. You are out of breath, a smile from ear to ear. "Who done? I'm done! "As a reward, the brain generates a list of biochemical substances that create a sense of serene happiness.
But no good comes the morning... a daunting task waiting for you in the same place.
"Run!" - exclaims the brain.
And the cycle begins anew.
We are stuck in the stress response, because infinitely return to the stressful situation.
This is not bad in itself. Harm begins where ends our ability to defuse the tension. This happens regularly, because ...
2. Social norms. Sometimes the brain activates a stress reaction, but you may not realize is that it requires.
- command to run!
And he gives in adrenaline.
- I can not! - answer you. - I'm sitting in the exam!
- Let's give this Nahal on the head!
And you feel a wave of glucocorticoids in the blood.
- I can not let him on the head! It's my client! - lament you.
To sit, smile politely, earnestly implement the educational or work task. Meanwhile your body is being cooked in the cauldron of stress and waiting for you to begin to act.
And sometimes even worse. Society It may inspire you, to feel stress in this situation properly. Provides compelling arguments sound authoritative opinions. Stress - it is ugly. This is a sign of weakness. This lack of respect for others.
Parents often bring daughters "good girl." They interfere with fear, anger and other emotions of the child uncomfortable. Smile and wave. Their feelings are more important than the children.
In addition, expression of uncomfortable emotions regarded as a weakness in our culture.
You are smart, strong woman, and when the roughest people on the streets shouting "cool tits!", You force yourself to ignore the rudeness. He's not a maniac, just a nerd, there is no reason to be angry at him or fear. He's not worth your attention, nothing.
However, the brain says, "A Nightmare!" And makes you speed up the pace.
3. jam a third reason - so safe. Is there a strategy that simultaneously saves you from street harasser and discharges the stress caused by them? Of course. Turn around and close up the boor slap. But then what? He was suddenly aware of the enormity of their harassment and stop them for good? Unlikely. Most likely, the situation is glowing, and he will give you the date, but in this case, your position will be even more dangerous. Sometimes victory is to pass. With a smile, no response aggression, Saying to myself that this is nonsense - that's your survival strategy in this case. Use it with dignity. Just do not forget that these coping strategies may not defuse your stress. They only postpone the need for this body. It is not a substitute for the completion of the cycle.
So, there are ways to deny the sea, to ignore and suppress their stress reaction! As a result, we go, laden with decades of unfinished cycles. They languish in our bodies waiting for discharge.
Emily Nagoski - PhD in healthy behavior and an expert on sexuality - and her sister Amelia Nagoski acted as co-authors of the book "Burnout. A new approach to getting rid of stress. " In it, they are scientifically explain what is stress and what the reaction to it is considered a normal body. The sisters also tell why it is dangerous to ignore how society affects the way we feel and how to get rid of the feeling of depression and emotional exhaustion.
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