Stress management: in search of balance

Stress management: in search of balance

“We usually think that stress is bad, but without it we would not be alive”Sonia Lupien.


  • 1 Case example
  • 2 New diagnostic techniques
  • 3 The scientific beginnings in stress research
  • 4 The counterpart of cortisol in investigations
  • 5 Stress in our body
  • 6 Four steps to balance stress
  • 7 Another cutting-edge method against stress

Case example

  • Jorge shows up on his first day of work and his boss assigns him the attention of users in his area, with a new computer program and with a technology he doesn't know so far (New).
  • Felipe and María welcome his first son and this generates mixed feelings, the importance of transcending love through your baby and the uncertainty of your future: education, housing, medical expenses, moving houses and many more (Unpredictability).
  • María Fernanda, in a few days, will travel to study in Spain from Mexico and as the time of her departure approaches, she feels that things have exceeded her: packing, saying goodbye to her friends, carrying out the procedures before the embassy, ​​preparing her stay In Spain from Mexico, he worries that he doesn't know what the classes and their classmates will be like in college and more. He simply feels that the preparations are not finished (feeling of uncontrol).
  • Miguel is a person with a lot of experience in his work, but today he feels very angry because a newly hired person doubts his abilities to get so much work accumulated in such a short time (Threat to the ego or the personality).

There are things that all of them share, many chemical messengers move inside your body but fundamentally one, cortisol or stress hormone.

The hectic life of today, the traffic, the meetings with the boss, arriving on time to school, the appointment with the dentist, although it is different from the hunt of the mammoth or facing the saber-toothed tiger, activates the brain tonsil, center of our emotions as has happened for more than 20 thousand years.

New diagnostic techniques

Today we also know by neuroimaging techniques (MRI, positron emission tomography), powerful electron microscopes and black light microscopes, which the human brain has mirror neurons, which allow to recognize emotions, pain and suffering in other human facesAt the same time, just by imagining a reality, the brain interprets it as a fact of living action. And, as in a science fiction story, chemical substances or messengers are present in a state of stress (cortisol) or in their counterpart in a state of relaxation (oxytocin, calm and contact relationship hormone).

The most surprising thing is that even when a stimulus seems threatening to many people like public speakingFor others it is something really fascinating. That is, we do not stress the same stressful stimuli to all human beings, while some interpret it as something positive others see it as something negative.

People think they know what the stress because the term has been vulgarized, but today we have more precise knowledge. We all get stressed, men, women, children, elderly, adults, no matter religion or culture.

The scientific beginnings in stress research

The Austrian physiologist and physician Hans Seyle (1945), understood stress as: a general mobilization for action (fight or flight) in the face of a stimulus or Stressor (stressful factor).

Years later (1956) he distinguished two basically two symptoms associated with it:

1) Physical: increased blood pressure, heart and respiratory rate, iridodilation, temporary arrest of intestinal transit, inhibition of urination, defecation and sexual arousal, increased perspiration and piloerection.

2) Psychological: Intellectual exhaustion, anxiety, irritability, aggressiveness, depression and anguish (Seyle, 1956).

For the National Library of Medicine in the USA, (1993), stress is a physical and emotional reaction that we all experience when we face changes in our lives or sudden changes in our environment. These reactions can have positive or negative effects (Medline, 2012).

Its positive effects occur when, it makes us face constructively everyday goals and challenges. And, in the negatives when it becomes constant and if we do not have a way to reduce it, it can cause illness.

Currently, and after 30 years of research at the Center for Studies on Human Stress, the Canadian neuroscientist at McGill University in Montreal, Sonia Lupien, has reached the following; a behavior to be considered stressful must release cortisol (the stress hormone) and also meet at least one of the following points: 1) be novel, be unpredictable, leave a sense of lack of control and be a threat to our personality or our ego (Center for studies on human stress, 2012).

In addition, Lupien distinguishes three phases where we can know if we are victims of chronic stress, considering like Seyle, physical and physiological symptoms, in three phases: 1) “Stress begins to become chronic: digestion changes, antacids are taken and there is abdominal pain; 2) The brain needs something to “calm down”: it drinks more, smokes more (some drug is consumed), eats more, eats more ice cream, or consumes white powders (sugars or flours), and 3) You sick: memory problems, personality changes, you get angry easily, feeling "burned" and depression (Networks for science, 2009).

On the positive side, Sonia Lupien says that it takes a bit of stress, that it takes a bit to keep the memory. Distinguish Two types of stress: chronic and acute. He points out that chronic stress must be avoided. But acute stress is always very good for survival. What has been discovered is that the relationship between memory and stress is an inverted "U" shaped function. A little stress increases memory. But if it is excessive, then the memory decreases completely. This is the rush that people look for when they are working and want to finish a project. But if it is excessive, at some point the brain begins to confuse everything that needs to be memorized and, because of stress, memory performance decreases (Networks for science, 2009).

The counterpart of cortisol in investigations

In the investigation of autonomic nervous system (regulates involuntary functions), only 10% of studies deal with the parasympathetic system, which is related to rest and growth, and the remaining 90% is dedicated to the sympathetic, which activates defense and stress mechanisms (Uvnäs , 2009).

In its counterpart the study of parasympathetic system It has proved equally important to balance the effects of cortisol. Its antagonist or opposite is found in another hormone, oxytocin. Nature has designed us to open and close locks, to reduce the harmful effects caused by stress.

Recent research on Oxytocin, known as the relationship, calm and contact hormone. It occurs when: breastfeeding, sunbathing peacefully on the beach, taking a bath with hot water, giving us a massage, making meditation and making love, if we have touch and desired body contact (affection and attachment), when entering social contact with friendly or familiar people, when smiling and laughing and with deep relaxation and hypnosis.

The effects of oxytocin: helps the body to grow and heal, transforms nutrition into energy, we are more creative and curious, we learn more easily, it improves the baby's relationship with his mother, in social interaction it allows calm and contact, produces well-being and happiness, lowers blood pressure and cortisol, generates a sense of peace, relaxation and satisfaction, reduces anxiety and fear, produces analgesic functions and activates the immune system, promotes healing, improves digestion and body temperature and increases the threshold of pain (Uvnäs, 2009).

Stress in our body

The human body records every event of life and keeps it which computer, gradually deteriorating the quality of life.

However, lThe events of the outside world are just one step in the stress syndrome, to complete it you need; the thoughts that classify, interpret or make sense of these events, and the physical responses that express the emotions contained (Barrera, 2003).

After facing a challenge, the body should relax and both heart palpitation and muscle tension and blood pressure would tend to normal levels.

When situations that cause physical and emotional stress reactions are constant or perceived as constant, the body never has the opportunity to relax.

Four steps to balance stress

1) Identify sources of stress (e.g. family, work, health, money, material goods, etc.). The first step in managing or balancing stress is to make an inventory of positive and negative experiences.

2) Restructure priorities (e.g. what is more important? my family or my job ?, etc.),

3) Change the individual's responses to stress (e.g. the painful facts of the past cannot be changed, but they can be reinterpreted) and

4) Find methods to manage and reduce stress (e.g. dancing, exercising, going to the movies, practicing meditation, the creative visualization, the yoga, the music therapy, the aromatherapy, laughter therapy, slow and deep breaths, movement of the face, Jacobson's progressive relaxation, the hypnosis, sleep well or request professional therapeutic help).

Another cutting-edge method against stress

One more alternative in methods to reduce stress and produce deep relaxation and with it oxytocin, is the use of the low frequency pulsating electromagnetic field. It is a bed that is connected to a computer and with it the patient is wrapped in a magnetic flux from the feet to the head.

With the low frequency pulsed electromagnetic field treatment the patient achieves the following benefits:

  • By improving metabolism, it restores and regenerates the growth of neurons.
  • Encourages the increase in the expulsion of toxins and free radicals.
  • It substantially improves sleep, removing anxiety, depression and symptoms derived from stress.
  • Increases recovery, reducing pain and inflammation.
  • It is a non-invasive therapy and compatible with any medical treatment.
  • There is no contraindication in patients with metallic implants.
  • It repolarizes the cell, maintaining the polarity of the intra and extracellular electrical charges, enhancing the increase in energy (ATP). The ATP or adenosine triphosphate is the battery of energy that our body has to function (Some benefits of the field, 2012).

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