Stress relief

Stress process

The flight or attack mechanism is a natural response of the body to a pressing situation. When this reaction lasts for a long time, then other factors intervene that add to the stress process.

In this scheme we can see how the process begins considering the factors that generate stress, such as external stimuli from the environment, internal factors from our psyche and our own body, that is, the physiological factors. We will shortly explain each one of them.

Our brain is the one who processes all this information, external and internal, and decides if it is necessary to alert our entire body, this decision can be made in fractions of a second. As we already mentioned, a sustained situation of anxiety and tension is what will lead us to a chronic stress syndrome, which over time will affect our body and we will begin to notice the first symptoms. Eventually these symptoms may turn into serious illnesses. Let's look at each of these factors in more detail.

External factors

Stress can be caused by multiple factors or situations such as a despotic boss at work, too many activities at home, a busy schedule of activities. Many of these problems can be solved by improving our organization.

In addition to stressful situations, many times stress is simply caused by the environment in which we live, where annoying sounds and stimuli continuously flood our senses; for example, the work environment or the avenues of a big city with loud sounds, intense lights or unpleasant aromas. In this way, the simple fact of staying for a few hours in a noisy place can cause us stress.


Internal factors

Internal factors can be psychological and physiological. With the former we refer to ideas, concepts, prejudices that can also be a cause of stress. Being continually worried about debts or that many issues cause us apprehension or fear: the future, environmental pollution, crime, terrorism, etc.
That is to say that many times stress is not caused by real external factors but by negative ideas or emotions. In most cases, the two go hand in hand. Definitely, a person plunged into a state of anguish, fear, depression and stress is not happy. Therefore, much of the work that must be done is on a psychological level: changing the perspective of a negative and pessimistic thought to an optimistic and positive one. At the same time to make practical changes in life to have better organization, clean up finances, set limits, etc.

On the other hand, we have our body, on which all our well-being depends. Hormonal alterations or the level of some chemical substances such as lithium, sodium, potassium can change our mood. Also the degree of pH in our body can be a factor that makes us feel more anxious and stressed. To achieve the long-awaited tranquility and peace we have to change our eating habits, since we are what we eat. Foods that alter our body, and therefore our psyche are:

  1. Alcohol, although initially a sedative, affects our autonomic nervous system in the long run, generating stress.
  2. Tobacco reduces anxiety momentarily and creates addiction.
  3. Other drugs, each with specific harmful effects.
  4. Coffee, caffeine alters our autonomic system and creates a strong addiction, it prevents our body from entering a state of relaxation, even in deep sleep.
  5. Excess sugars: they alter the pH of the blood, generating metabolic disorders that affect our mental states.

Continuous stress generates tiredness, discomfort, physical weakness and alters our normal sleep rhythms. This situation becomes a vicious circle that in a few months or years will become a time bomb that will threaten our health and our lives. Diabetes, heart attack, chronic-degenerative diseases could be just around the corner.


The body perceives and interprets environmental situations through the nervous system and particularly through the senses. Every stimulus that reaches our senses is interpreted by our brain, which decides if the situation we are facing requires immediate action. Generally speaking, any gentle and repetitive stimulus tells our brain that the situation is under control. Such is the case of the soft sound of a rushing river, soft music or the simple ticking of a clock. However, sudden stimuli immediately alert our nervous system and cause a reflex action or trigger the reaction or flight mechanism.

However, the mechanism is not so simple, since our senses can be irritable due to fatigue or other factors. If our body is not in balance at the nervous and glandular levels, each stimulus can be detected as threatening and activate the stress mechanism.

Not forgetting the psychological factors: fears, prejudices, expectations, etc.; that can be present and alter our perception of reality.


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