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by Brittney Schrick, Ph.D., CFLE - February 25, 2022
Stress. For many, stress is a constant state. It is hard on the body and the mind.
It can cause health problems, emotional irritability, and a host of other concerns.
Especially during the last two years, additional stressors related to the pandemic
such as uncertain job security, school and business closures, and illness may have
taken an extra toll. Taking time to destress, even if it is just a few minutes each
day, can prevent burnout and help keep you physically and emotionally healthier.
In their book Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking Your Stress Cycle, authors Emily and Amelia Nagoski explain that your brain and body respond to stress
by pumping hormones like cortisol into your system to help you escape danger. Those
hormones can cause damage when you have high levels of them for a long time. Basically,
your body is hardwired to respond to threats by pumping you full of chemicals that
help you run away, hide, or otherwise stay safe. This becomes a problem when what
you’re responding to isn’t really dangerous, but your brain tricks you into responding
like it is.
For example, getting frustrated with a coworker who criticizes you can feel very stressful.
That stress leads your brain to produce stress hormones that make you want to fight
back or cry or quit your job. A way to make it through those tough times is to complete the cycle of stress by going through the emotions instead of backing away. Since your body is ready to fight, flee, or
freeze, allow yourself to complete the stress cycle in a way that won’t cause you
Strengthen Your Brain with Gratitude
Parenting with Mindfulness
The book Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle by Emily Nagoski & Amelia Nagoski (2020; NY: Random House) is available at all major
booksellers, online, and through your local library.