TRANSLATOR AND EDITOR: MARIUS-CONSTANTIN POPA
TRANSLATIONS VOLUME 1 * ISSUE 1 * DECEMBER 2016
DO NOT GET STRESSED ANY MORE!
TRANSLATIONS VOLUME 1 * ISSUE 4 * DECEMBER 2016
03 SEVERAL IDEAS ABOUT THE BRAIN 05 DO NOT GET STRESSED ANYMORE 06 FORGET ABOUT STRESS AND RELAX! 10 STRESS IS A REACTION OF ADAPTATION 17 HOW TO ESCAPE FROM STRESS FOR A WHILE
SEVERAL IDEAS ABOUT THE BRAIN
IMMUNE TO STRESS Although many people see the mind as a matter separated from the body, it is an illusion that is actually given by the brain. In fact, many researchers show the dependence of the mind on the brain, as well as the close relation between the nervous system and the immune one. Perhaps you also realised from past experience that you get herpes or catch a cold easier when you are stressed, but you did not think that the brain responds to stress as it does when there concerns infection or in flamation. Well, studies conducted at the Universities of Princeton and Wisconsin-Madison revealed that there is a strong relation between well-being – or its absence – and the response of the immune system. Stress destroys neurons through the same mechanisms through which the body fights against microbes and viruses. This destructive action results in weakness, fever, distension. Some of the most affected areas within the brain are those responsible for learning and memory. How can we protect ourselves from it? One of the most important conditions for having a healthy brain is the feeling that you have control over the environment around you. There are several situations when you can realise that something is wrong from this point of view. You generally do not feel that you are master of the situation, your own life, and you feel that you cannot easily get over the challenges of daily life. In addition, although you are dissatisfied, you do not find yourself able to implement changes. You encounter serious problems in planning your time efficiently at the office, so that you rarely finish all your duties and have to make too many decisions every day. If this situation is added Dragoș Cîrneci to your financial difficulties and dissatisfaction with the reason for which you were not able of building a house and living a lifestyle that you desired, the picture of loss of control gets worse. Another essential condition that you must satisfy in order to protect your brain is the one that you have to feel that your life is meaningful, always seems to be exciting and every day is different. You need to set yourself very clear goals and always see progress on the path to their achievement. Some people believe that they have an ability to find the meaning of their life, to understand which ‘mission’ they have been assigned to accomplish during their lifetime. If they could choose, they would opt to have nine lives similar to their current one. You must learn from them! The third essential condition, which is even more important than the first two ones, lies in being on good DECEMBER 2016 – TRANSLATIONS - 3
SEVERAL IDEAS ABOUT THE BRAIN terms with others. The degree of your loneliness, the terms on which you are with the ones around you and the way in which you communicate with them, if you feel that your close friends and if they are always prepared to help you. You should try to make enough time for your private life, but it must be one in which you seclude yourself and live apart. You must also try to surround yourself with people whom you regard as suitable from the viewpoint of their style of working and living, with whom you have many things in common. It is very important that you should feel that you can discuss major topics with the people around you. It is not recommended that you should spend much time within within an environment where you feel criticised and judged. You must also try to deal with such situations, and if your attempt fails, you have to change the environment. Studies conducted at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) showed that negative feed back and social repulsion lead to the activation of the pain area from the brain and the secretion of molecules from the immune system, as if there was an inflammation inside your body. The people who feel lonely are exposed to heart diseases to a greater extent and have shorter lives. By contrast, researches carried out at the University of Wisconsin-Madison showed that the empathy and social support that the people around you show towards you shortens the duration of influenza, doubling the number of molecules from the immune system that fights against the disease. In conclusion, we must understand that we take spirulina in vain if our life is in ruins! Our body tells us by itself when we do something good or bad – we must not fill psychological tests to find it out. Dragoș Cîrneci is specialist in neuroscience and its applications in health and business. He has a PhD in Psychology and he currently does scientific work and also product developing. He is interested in human evolution and the challenges our species encounters in the techno-digital world we live.
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DO NOT GET STRESSED ANY MORE!
Do not get stressed any more!
Time passes faster, our planet is threatened, and the financial difficulties with which we have to deal defeat us. Today, more than yesterday, all the ingredients are reunited to add other and other pressures on our daily life, which is already quite busy. ‘I am stressed!’ has become a kind of daily poem. However, stress has always marked the lives of people and, contrary to all appearances, your attempt to fight against it will finally prove useless. We all have a great potential to calm down, before stress becomes chronic and damages our health. What remedies could we use? We must give meaning to our actions and cultivate pleasure in our daily actions. DECEMBER 2016 – TRANSLATIONS - 5
DO NOT GET STRESSED ANY MORE!
FORGET ABOUT STRESS AND RELAX! We nowadays live in a hyper-connected world at an alert pace, which makes us fall victims to the stress around us. Surely we are not our own assassins? Perhaps we have enough inner resources to calm down, but we should first stop fighting against stress.
mails sent over the weekend, text messages received at midnight, late reports, difficult monthly conclusion reports, a hysterical colleague, hours in a row spent travelling by underground or by bus—everything around us is stressful: from minor accidents (a printer that is out of order, a mobile phone whose battery dies during a conversation, a postponed meeting) to world catastrophes: a war fought in Syria, tornadoes, our financial difficulties that seem to never end. Our society, who frets at a syncopated pace, driven by the frenzy of transitory situ ations and the constant flow of information, makes us lose our set of priorities. New technologies are put at our disposal in order to accelerate time, make us become hyperactive and put pressure on us, as individuals.
Too many useless emotions It is the opinion of the psychologist Fatma Bouvet, who draws attention to the increasing number of people who fall victim to burnout syndrome at European level. It is a syndrome that concerns the personalisation operated by stress. ‘Permanent connection deprives people of social relationships, hinders teamwork and prevents real communication. It makes us depend on useless emotions’. The complexity and the acceleration of the pace of the world are not the only reasons that lie behind the intensification of stress. ‘What disturbs people’s minds are not events, but their judgements on events’, Epictetus said in the 1 st century CE. Consequently, people do not get stressed only by actions, but also by the way in which we always anticipate negative events as pieces of information reach us. Psychic and physical tension is added to a feeling of weakness; we cannot leave heavy traffic, we cannot do anything to make it rain in good time, we cannot prevent pollution and the irreversible degradation of the planetary environment. Representing a paradox of modernity, our society generates more and more stressful elements continuously for the individu6 - TRANSLATIONS – DECEMBER 2016
DO NOT GET STRESSED ANY MORE! als who are more and more intolerant towards discomfort and lack of strength. However, instead of exhausting ourselves in the fight against stress, which is a natural reaction of the body, surely we should not trust our capacity to adapt ourselves to environmental conditions? There are means by which the inner noise and negative emotions that invade us can be silenced. It is time for us to find these resources and reclaim them. It is also time for us to reject the main ideas that reach us about this major subject.
False beliefs about stress The term ‘stress’ has become so widespread, that we do not know whether we know its meaning. It is a wrong belief that is confirmed by the ideas mentioned below. 1. There are two types of stress—good and bad As there are not two types of cholesterol, good and bad, there are not even two types of stress, good and bad. The confusion has its origins in a book written by a Canadian by the name of Hans Selye, who talked about good stress (eustress) and bad stress (distress). The positive one is said to have
Stressed woman been a vector of well-being. Nowadays, the distinction is made between acute stress, which mobilises our resources, and chronic stress, which exhausts us. The first variant is the intense manifest ation our body to respond quickly to a present situation. There concerns a response on which our DECEMBER 2016 – TRANSLATIONS - 7
DO NOT GET STRESSED ANY MORE! survival depends. If this positive response lasts too much time, however, it becomes negative. Stress thus becomes chronic and exhausts the psychic and physical capacity of the body to fight against diseases or depression. 2. It is an enemy against which we can fight According to Eric Albert, a psychiatrist and the founder of the French Institute for Action on Stress (IFAS), ‘we lose our capacity to adapt ourselves to the environment without stress’. Like the phys ical exercise, where muscular tension maintains the flexibility of the body, it improves the psychic, mental and emotional flexibility of the body. Without psychic and physical pressure, we would not know how to act in order to deal with a difficult situation: for instance, to make an appointment to see the doctor and even consult them because you do not feel well. It is not recommended that you should get rid of this natural and vital energy. It does not make sense, as it does not also make sense to try to breathe less, for the reason that oxygen gives birth to free radicals, the molecules that are responsible for ageing. Instead of consuming our energy in an attempt to fight against stress, it would be wiser for us to act rationally. It is an effective means of not reacting exagger atedly and being always on the defensive any more. 3. In order to be prevented, it must be anticipated first It seems a good idea, but it is impossible for someone to see it through for two complementary reasons: stress is, by definition, a sudden event, which happens in the present. Therefore, the idea of anticipating it is useless when stress is concerned. It is actually a negative notion. It is in the human nature to imagine the worst. The aptitude of people for predicting unfortunate events has guaranteed the survival of the human species. Spending your time, however, thinking about possible unfortunate events that may take place is already a stressful habit. In addition, trying con tinuously to anticipate and see that an unpredicted event takes place gives you a greater feeling of weakness because you understand that you cannot foresee and therefore control anything. It is important, consequently, to place ourselves in the present, the only means of preserving our rationality, evaluating our priorities, making calm choices and accepting the denial of certain things, among which our need to control is counted. 4. A matter of genetics If we are genetically predisposed to stress, it does not mean that we suffer from stress more than others. Researches conducted into epigenetics have revealed that personal history and environmental conditions exert an influence on the fact that our genes express themselves or not. Those who have a lower amount of serotonin within their brain are genetically predisposed to stress, but they can ‘adapt’ their way of living and emotional fragility and can avoid being confronted with too many stressful events. By contrast, those who have enough serotonin, who are also not very vul nerable to stress, can have a tendency to take considerable risks and to incur all kinds of stressful situations, these habits leading to their premature exhaustion. In conclusion, the circumstances of 8 - TRANSLATIONS – DECEMBER 2016
DO NOT GET STRESSED ANY MORE! our life exert a serious influence on our predisposition to stress, which is in the genes in most cases. 5. Is it a psychological fact? According to Thierry Jansen, a psychotherapist, it is one of the many ideas that reach us, which distinguish between psychic stress and the physical one, although the two types of stress are re lated. In fact, stress has always the same method of working. The difference lies in the nature of the triggering event. The nature of the triggering event can be psychological, a professional or physical conflict, such as excessive stimuli, strong noises. When we experience psychic stress, it is associated with bodily tension. We feel that our stomach becomes smaller, our heart beats more intense. Our exposure to strong noises first leads to a physical reaction, then nervous tension, exhaustion and finally depression. According to Jansen, ‘the stronger our feeling of weakness is, the more we tend to make stress a psychological matter’. ‘It is similar to the situation when we want to find an explanation in order to control it. It is also similar to the case when we tell ourselves that, if we find a psychological explanation, we will find a solution as well’.
The true definition of stress The word ‘stress’ comes from the Latin term ‘stringere’, which means ‘to tense’ when translated. There concerns a tense situation that arises in a cascade in the face of danger, either it is real or expected. This immediate bodily and psychic riposte generates negative emotions. Our sympathetic system, when overstimulated, leads to a chain of reactions: an increase in adrenalin, the rise in the frequency of heart beats, an increased flow of blood within muscles, an increased amount of cortisol (the hormone that gives energy). We are on full alert. All our psychic and physical re sources are mobilised for finding a solution: fight or flight. After several minutes, once the danger has passed, the body produces other hormones (endorphins, dopamine, serotonin) in order to return to calm. However, if the stressful moment lasts for a longer time, we are on permanent alert, which exhausts our cardiovascular system, diminishes our immune reserves and disturbs the assembly of hormonal adjustments, which are indispensable for a good functioning of the body.
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DO NOT GET STRESSED ANY MORE!
STRESS IS A REACTION OF ADAPTATION This article deals with topics such as the concrete manifestation of stress, its insurmountable nature, our ability to control and tame it, its influence on children. There are, however, only several characteristics of stress. The content of this feature represents the recommendations made by two psychotherapists who are confronted with problems of tense people. The current definition of stress Today, stress has become an ingredient that adds some unpleasant spice to our daily lives, and each one of us understands and experience it in their own way. As to the origin of the notion of stress, it simply makes reference to the reaction of our body to an external stimulus. Stress is firstly the reaction of our body through which it adapts itself to the environment. Problems arise, however, whenever we are under increasing and lasting pressure and cannot adapt to it. At that time, stress becomes harmful and has some of the most unpleasant effects, both physical and psychic, on our health. During the first stage, we can compare it with our fight against an enemy that we succeed in defeating. If we have to deal with many very strong enemies, who always come from all directions, we will be finally defeated. Stress represents the pressure that we feel inside us whenever we come into contact with a stimu lus: with somebody or something from our external environment. The way in which we will interpret the stimulus will determine our response to the environment. Thus, when we see, hear or feel something, our body and psyche will give a response (we think about, decide or do something) that can return us to a state of balance and feel well or, on the contrary, can raise the state of pressure and make us feel angry, show frustration, anxiety, states of depression, insomnia, worry and even somatisation. The last situation also represents the meaning that most people give to the word ‘stress’. Thus, it is not the external stimulus or the element with which we come into contact that causes our feeling of anger, but the way in which we interpret the element of stress. For example, if someone likes idling (it is beneficial to them) and interprets boredom as an occasion for idling, they will not feel either stressed or under pressure. However, an individual who fears loneliness and, in order not to feel lonely, finds many activities that they can carry out, may regard boredom
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DO NOT GET STRESSED ANY MORE! (lack of activities to perform) as a risk of ‘being lonely’, in which case they may feel under pressure, namely stressed.
On the recognition of stress and its physical manifestation In order to be able to recognise stress and relieve it, we must be on good terms with ourselves. Be ing on good terms with ourselves represents an extraordinary resource that we can value in order to face the many challenges of our life. You must therefore give time to the relationship with your -
your feelings, emotions, thoughts, needs, desires and, last but not least, your body, as regards the events that happen in your life. Everyone experiences stress in their own way and, listening to yourselves, you will finally succeed in preventing its harmful effects. Stress can be easily recog nised, through the feeling of ‘there is something wrong with me’, ‘I do not know what to do’ or through the discomfort that we feel within our body: muscular tension, lack of energy, nervousness, insomnia, forgetfulness, worries and some cases of somatisation.
On good and bad stress and the difference between them Certainly, there are also happy events that cause us stress, which is accompanied with pleasant, even euphoric moods: marriage, the birth of a child, the start of a new project, going on holiday. It is important for us to take into consideration that, although they are events that make us happy, they determine a reaction of adaptation within our body (we make preparations for the wedding in the minutest details, sleepless nights spent together with the newborn baby, the novelty behind the responsibilities within the project, packing your luggage).
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DO NOT GET STRESSED ANY MORE! As mentioned above, stress (inner pressure) arises whenever we come into contact with something, interpret it and react to it. The difference between ‘good’ stress and the ‘bad’ one will just lie in the state of well-being or the one of discomfort that arises after we think about something, decide or do something. These moods are very closely related to the interpretations that we give to the external stimulus with which we come into contact, and these interpretations come to mind depending on the beliefs, desires, fears, past experiences and others that we have within us or that exist inside us.
On the natural ability of people to master it and stress management Each one of us is unique in his or her reactions, which if we look back, represent our personality on the whole (the genes that have been passed on from our parents, our temperament), as well as the lessons that we have learned from past experience. Fortunately, our society, besides the diffi culties that we encounter, gives us the great opportunity to communicate without limits and, therefore, to share our experience with the people around us. We can learn from one another, practise and choose the most suitable path for each one of us for dealing with stressful situations. There are certainly people who are able to manage stress (inner pressure) in a positive manner, namely they give positive interpretations to the occurrences in their lives, and they thus succeed in always restoring their state of balance. In addition, we can learn how to restore our state of bal ance and feel well, but it presupposes making changes in some of our attitudes or beliefs.
The degree of vulnerability to stress among men and women There is no generally valid recipe for this matter, but we can pay attention to some tendencies of interpersonal relationships. Unjustly called ‘the feeble sex’, woman is endowed with sensitivity and attention to other people and relationships. Therefore, she can perceive the events that occur around her in more intense shades and tones and can display stronger reactions of stress. She also satisfies her need to show obedience and to be heard what she has to say quite well. When women have a problem, they talk, relieve their feelings and ask for help, which is to their benefit and is good for finding solutions to pass the crisis. Men, on the other hand, tend to the pragmatic side rather than the emotional one. They think about solutions and, in addition, they have the ancestral capacity to fight against difficulties. However, when problems become too serious, they would also find useful to be able to talk about them (even starting to admit that they could ask somebody for help when they got lost in traffic). Women are not perhaps more vulnerable to stress than men, but they maybe refrain less from manifesting stress on the outside. Both women and men might feel stressed in equal measure, the only difference consisting in the way in which each gender will manifest or manage stress. For in stance, women will seek the company of another person to tell them about their stressful mood, and men prefer to spend their time alone in order to think about and find a solution for the prob lem that causes them stress.
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DO NOT GET STRESSED ANY MORE! On the greater vulnerability of some people to stress in contrast to the others When we are reduced to fretting about any problem of the littlest importance, it means that we already bear more than we can. It is also important for us to think about the possible causes: either there are too many responsibilities (at office, with our children, partner, parents) that we have for a lifetime or that we took recently. We either forget to take care of our needs (rest, relaxation, food, privacy and many others) or we are affected by the harmful deeds of the people around us, which we allow to pollute us: damaging messages or gestures (‘You are not able to do anything’, verbal or even physical acts of violence). We may bear all these negative situations from a child or we can get them during our current relationships.
Stressed woman Our childhood certainly plays a part in this matter, just because we have not learned how to listen to ourselves and manage the unpleasant situations with which we have to deal so that we can regain our peace of mind whenever we come into contact with the external environment. Unfortunately, we have learned not to talk, to refrain from expressing our emotions, do what others want us to do, to our detriment or, on the contrary, we have grown within an environment where the
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DO NOT GET STRESSED ANY MORE! wishes of children came true. All these situations can, at a given moment, manifest themselves in different ways: a pessimistic attitude about life, perfectionism, there is taken too much into consideration what other people say that is good or wrong, a low tolerance for frustration, the fear of being rejected or abandoned, nervousness, the impression that the people around us must behave like us, the belief that the others are guilty for what happens to us, etc.
Techniques of relaxation Certainly, sparing some time for ourselves is an essential first step. We can spend this amount of time by relaxing, breathing, enjoying nature, doing sport. We can also get rid of stressful situations caused by the bad relationships in our lives. Thus, we will only enjoy the situations that
Relaxation please us, boost our energy, confidence in ourselves, our lease of life and the immunity of our body. An instrument that plays a vital role in the cleaning process is ‘the relational bin’. We all have a waste bin, but we do not use anything for ‘relational waste’, with which we are confronted every day, because it is invisible – words and gestures are not seen, but they leave deep traces inside us. You should make them visible, having, both at home and your office, one such bin, where you can store, whenever you get them or at the end of the day, everything you got and that you consider
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DO NOT GET STRESSED ANY MORE! waste. Verbal messages must be written in inverted commas, as you heard them (‘You are not capable of anything’, ‘you fool’, etc.), and harmful gestures have to be drawn and put in the bin. Thus, you will be able to get rid of them symbolically. Perhaps each one of you had to deal with a harmful message that spoiled an entire day. To keep your energy, creativity and health, you must depollute yourself from the relational point of view. A careful examination can help us see clearly what causes us stress and change the external stimu lus quickly and easily. For example, if we follow the first rule of relational hygiene, we can reduce the number of quarrels or unpleasant discussions by 50 per cent, which will also lower the amount of stress from many relationships. The rule says: I talk about myself with the other person, by us ing the pronoun ‘I’, namely, instead of saying ‘You make me angry because you are disorderly’, I will say ‘I grow angry when I see disorder’. Thus, we avoid talking about the other person by using the pronoun ‘you’.
Children and stress: how they deal with it Unfortunately, most children deal with stress to a great degree. A great degree of stress in children is firstly caused by the increasing challenges that they face at school, and the time that they spend for playing and sport is on the decrease. A child who stays at school for at least four hours, does their homework for other three hours and spends their spare time playing computer games does not certainly enjoy a happy life. They do not have means by which they can adapt themselves to the natural environment. In addition, a child is under constant pressure to achieve great results, pres sure that comes from parents and teachers and that results from the best intentions—in fact, besides stress, there is also the embryo of the violent manifestations shown by children either to wards themselves or others. Many people indeed feel pressure mainly because their relational needs are not satisfied and feel helpless, anxious, show depressive moods or become nervous in order to make themselves heard. Relational needs are as follows: the need to open our heart to somebody, to be heard, appreciated, the need for privacy, the need to be accepted as you are, to hope, create, to exert an influence on somebody and to have dreams.
Recommendations for detachment Besides nourishing the relationship with yourself well and performing a daily relational cleaning, we can suggest balanced relations to other people. We can do that by offering and receiving everything is good and have the courage to ask for what we need. In addition, it is important for us to refuse something. We become overburden when we accept more than we can bear. When we say ‘yes’ to another person, when we would actually need to say ‘no’, we say ‘no’ to ourselves, to our needs, wishes and, eventually, to our life. You are recommended to take care of the life within you every day.
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DO NOT GET STRESSED ANY MORE! To find a suitable solution to a problem, we must firstly ‘de-stress’ ourselves because stress only exerts a negative influence on ourselves besides the existing one. To do this, you are firstly recommended to symbolise stress (your inner pressure) through an object, which you lock in a drawer until you solve the problem. The second recommendation lies in unburdening yourself of stress or negative emotions, for example: you have to scribble a sheet of paper by yourself, using an antistress ball, hitting a pillow, tearing apart an old magazine or a newspaper, writing what does not suit you and throw away the piece of paper.
On burnout, its manifestation and how we can fight against it Burnout is a state of physical and psychic exhaustion that we can reach whenever we allow ourselves to be overburden with tasks and responsibilities. Nobody wants that, but the body is our messenger. If other means did not work in order to help us see that we do not care about ourselves, then our body is the one that ‘cries’. It can do that through burnout, accidents, pains, acute or chronic diseases. Everyone will certainly not want to have worked harder on their deathbed. Therefore, in order not to have to face serious consequences, you must take care of yourselves and your needs. You will be thus able to enjoy your lives and set a good example to new generations. Burnout represents a state of stress that is almost permanent, which is firstly caused by emotional stimuli and the events that occur within the relationships between people at the office (doctors, psychologists, teachers, professors, solicitors, sales staff, etc.). It manifests itself in a state of chronic exhaustion, lack of motivation, which leads one to work inefficiently and includes a state of denial of stress or the events that happen at the office, the incapacity to solve a problem or do a job unsuccessfully. We are also able to notice its symptoms, through other signs, such as insomnia, headaches, fits of dizziness, muscular pains, spots on skin, breathing, circulatory or digestive problems.
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DO NOT GET STRESSED ANY MORE!
HOW TO ESCAPE FROM STRESS FOR A WHILE Once we have identified stress and learned how to identify it, it is time for us to also learn how to escape from it for a while. Our main purpose is eventually to become more relaxed in order to fully taste the pleasures of life. You can find relaxation techniques described everywhere, but below you can find several such techniques, which are free and essential. Although it sometimes seems to be an easy task, many of us do not actually identify stress and realised how tired or subjected to all kinds of pressures they are. In other words, they are not aware of the fact that they are almost exhausted. They sleep a little, eat occasionally, try to make peace within a family that does not count among the most harmonious ones and give in until the moment when nothing makes sense any more and depression arises. Even at that time, they do not know what happens to them, recognise the symptoms and move on by virtue of inertia, trying to stay afloat again, which is increasingly difficult. Depression always arises against a background of chronic exhaustion.
Take care of your body The body is the basis, biology, foundation of the soul. If we behave cruelly towards it, if we do not sleep enough (seven or eight hours a night represent the average ‘parameter’ of sleep that is neces sary for an active adult), if we eat unhealthy food, if we do not do sport at least several times a week (you must not excuse yourself for ‘having not spare time’, and going on foot at an alert pace, for half an hour, is beneficial to health), we will pay sooner or later through a large amount of cholesterol, heart trouble, a state of chronic exhaustion, loss of libido and lack of efficiency. We must learn how to decode the language of our body, pay attention to messages of exhaustion, but not to put useless pressure on it. If we do not do it ourselves, nobody will do it for us.
Let us relax every day Surely all our emails really deserve an answer? Do all the requests of children must be really listened? Do all the invitations really have to be honoured? We must all learn how to reject certain causes of problems. We have to set our own limits, educate other people with regard to the symbolical personal space where they are not allowed. For instance, one evening a week must be dedic DECEMBER 2016 – TRANSLATIONS - 17
DO NOT GET STRESSED ANY MORE! ated exclusively to personal care or dinner had with the best friends or any gesture that is benefi cial to us and does not cause us stress. The family is aware of this ritual and obeys it. Relaxation is as important as our presence and participation in social life. It is more important for us to relax on a regular basis and without guiltiness, than to rely on the fact that an extended leave compensates for the entire amount of stress with which we have to deal over the year.
Let us cultivate small pleasures We should cultivate at least four pleasures a day. The more we carry out minor daily pleasant activ ities, the more we relieve the amount of stress within us and recharge our batteries for dealing with difficulties. There must not be complicated things, but they have to be constant and per formed every day. However, it is also important that there should be minor activities, which â€˜breakâ€™ the pace of the major ones. Relaxation is reached through a different activity, not necessarily through a period of rest.
Doing sport plays an important part as well We cannot insist enough on the role that sport plays in our lives. It is simply essential. Man has not evolved as a species in order to be a creature who spends eight hours at the office. The human
Man doing sport species has evolved in the savannah, according to a constant physical dynamics. Many of the cur rent serious diseases represent a combination of stress and sedentariness: obesity, cancer, diabetes. A natural source of endorphins (after 40 minutes spent by running at average speed, there 18 - TRANSLATIONS â€“ DECEMBER 2016
DO NOT GET STRESSED ANY MORE! appears a state of well-being, relaxation and energy), a means by which calories are burned, as well as a source of relaxation hormones, sport is a blessing for our health. As mentioned before, it is not necessary for us to exhaust our entire amount of energy at a fitness centre, for two times a week, do all physical exercise and be exhausted completely for two days, because of muscular fever. It is more important that you should take physical exercise of average intensity every day, and the relaxing effect of this healthy habit is guaranteed!
Keeping a pet A great source of endorphins and unconditional affection is represented by a pet. Patting a pet reduces cortisol, the stress hormone, induces a state of well-being, relaxation, enhances the spirits.
Beautiful kitten Cats, for example, are irresistible! They inspire a feeling of innocence, fun and pure affection, as well as they are extremely entertaining.
Make love, not war Having sex is a pleasant, relaxing and wonderful activity. According to the neuroscientist Dragoș Cîrneci, sex is traditionally regarded, especially in Romanian culture, as something promiscuous, dirty, a necessary evil, something through which humans are related to animals. Leaving aside that the human species would become extinct without sex, the last counts among the strongest natural remedies. With regard to the previous mention, it is amusing how hypocritical the human DECEMBER 2016 – TRANSLATIONS - 19
DO NOT GET STRESSED ANY MORE! species is: a sexual scene is seen as something unclean, while a twig that is in blossom in spring symbolises purity. People forget that they have learned that it is the way in which plants multiply, being therefore a kind of sex as well. Different studies have proved that sex reduces the amount of cholesterol, decreases the number of stress hormones, increases the immunity of the body, helps the cardiovascular system, extends lifetime, is a natural anti-neuralgic, a natural soporific, reduces anxiety, prevents prostate cancer and even generates new neurons.
We must learn to relativise In other words, we have to do exercises for refraining from negative thoughts. It is indeed difficult to do that: if anxiety could be controlled, it could not be anxiety. We can, however, think whether the situation will really cause us stress over time and if it matters after all. A cognitive-behavioural therapy plays a major part in the learning of relaxation techniques, the adaptation and the more realistic nature of stressful thoughts.
Office work We can also simply tell ourselves that nobody can predict the future and we must not puzzle over the matter. We must instead focus on the improvement of our reaction to an external stimulus, when the last one really takes place. For example, it is useless anticipating without interruption the possible discussions with the board of directors within the company. Perhaps it will not be catastrophic at all. However, being prepared to provide the requested pieces of information, com 20 - TRANSLATIONS â€“ DECEMBER 2016
DO NOT GET STRESSED ANY MORE! pleted and updated, to give the clear impression of competence. We should also remember that nobody compels us to know all the answers, we can ask for a postponement, to inform ourselves about the things that escape our attention at this moment, we are humans and we have a right to clemency.
Let us be assertive As mentioned before, we have a right to a delay, if we are not prepared, and if the other person is not willing to grant us a grace, we must ask for it repeatedly and calmly, until our interlocutor understands that it is a serious matter. It is a technique of non-violent communication and assertive-
Being aasertive ness. To be assertive means to specify your needs, say your opinion and repeat it if necessary, without raising your voice. Certainly, it takes some practice, but everything has a beginning. Knowing that you are able to ask, have a right to be heard means much. It gives you a feeling of control, which eases you with regard to a meeting or other kind of social event that causes you stress. Have confidence in your capacity to assert yourself, even if it was never your style. Repeat ing a message, with confidence and calm, has a persuasive effect.
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DO NOT GET STRESSED ANY MORE! Dance, dance, dance Dance is a combination of therapy through music and sport, which does wonders. Either you dance to the music broadcast on MTV or learn to dance salsa, dance has very noticeable relaxing
Dancing tango effects. It is also united with socialisation, well-being, cheerfulness and is a true couple therapy for those who dance the tango, for example, a dance that involves a true non-verbal language of affection.
22 - TRANSLATIONS â€“ DECEMBER 2016