07 jan What can You learn from the animals?
An animal reacts out of his instinct: Fight, Flight and Freeze. An animal doesn’t know chronic stress. He is surely capable of relaxing.
But what about you? You are human, but you are an animal too.
In our modern society, you want to be the best version of yourself. As a result, you work far too long, sleep too short, live unhealthy and have too much stress, you try to help all your friends, but are you there for yourself too?
Thousands of years ago, stress was especially useful. It is meant to respond. Acute stressors are stressors that are concrete, that you can observe. For example, when a wave arrives, and you don’t want wet feet, your body responds, and you will jump aside. Stress is therefore also very functional. “
Pilot flame position
Chronic stress also occurs in nature, such as very physical stressors like lack of food. Your body is built on that, so compensatory processes will take over. Chronic stress is functional if the threat persists longer. We see that people and animals go into a kind of pilot flame position to save their energy for better times. At such a moment they often show the same symptoms as depression: no interest in the environment, no hunger, as little exercise as possible, superficial sleep and no concentration on certain things. This helps the organism to suppress itself, to depress itself. For example, if you have a test week, it is functional that you crawl into your cocoon and do not want to do all kinds of other things such as parties. you have to sit down, finish your task and show no interest in all that distraction.
Losing our job
Unfortunately, many chronic stressors today are not that concrete. Imagine losing your job, or a reorganization that can sometimes just take a year. You cannot fight against it and you cannot flee from it. You worry and keep worrying. And then you are also stuck with an outdated stress response system that is very similar to that of other animals. This system – already present in the basics of fish hundreds of millions of years ago – cannot cope with modern stressors. It is geared to specific stressors, such as a falling branch or a predator that is after you.
Whether you suffer from stress depends on who you are. There are actually two types of people. Some are very stress sensitive; others are very stress resistant. We used to benefit from different types. The daring went hunting and went out. The less stress-resistant were somewhat more anxious, more compulsive controlling. That too was good; they made sure that everything was kept tidy and that people did not accidentally eat poisonous berries. Both types had an important function.
Extremes are very normal. But if you suffer from stress quickly, you have to be a bit careful and think: This is apparently how I am, so how do I deal with this? For example, take enough breaks during a busy day to get some fresh air or to take a walk, so that you can relax for a moment. If this fails, ask for help from a coach or therapist or ask you occupational health physician.
And realize that you are still an animal in terms of stress response. That all those nasty sensations that we feel – nervousness, beating heart, sweating hands – belong to an outdated system. That you do not have to worry about it, it affects your whole being. You just had too little time to adapt to the abstract stressors of your time. In no time at all, thanks to the industrial and digital revolution, we suddenly started to live differently. We are sucked to our screens like octopuses, we move little, we eat a lot and we sit inside. Since social media, we are suddenly in circles that are much larger than what our brains are actually built on. Of course, for many people that is just fun. But if we are sensitive to stress, remember that we have to take this into account.
Once you realize that you are an animal, live a little more like that animal. Pay extra attention to being outdoors, exercising a lot, good nutrition, drink enough, being with your real friends and relaxing and fiddling on time. LIVE like an animal, but, THINK like a person. you are blessed with a huge brain and with free will. You can think of what you think about, how much stress you pull towards you, when you stop worrying. You can influence your own behavior. You have a pause button that you can use. “
You have a CHOICE!
Also realize, that private life and work have become mixed up in this modern age. Your private life has become a lot busier. It can be good to take a critical look at your personal agenda. Don’t you even have to skip a birthday or remove that group app from your mobile? You fill our free time with things that seem to relax. For example, you go to a festival with lots of music and lots of people. You drink alcohol and you may even use drugs. This form of relaxation has therefore become intensive and not sustainable.
And so how it’s done:
We all started as animals but with the ability to think, choose and adapt, let’s go back to basic with these 7 tips (an improvement made by me and a free translation of Witte Hoogendijk, Psychiatrist: and Wilma de Rek, journalist.)
So, let’s behave like A.N.I.M.A.LS. and experience more well-being in our work and our lives.
All animals play. This is also good for humans. Make time for this and do something that you enjoy.
Live consciously. In the present. Good for our sense of well-being.
Eat healthy food, drink enough water and also mind our “soul food”.
One of the wisest things a person can do. It makes muscles stronger, bones more powerful, the brain sharper and the mind calmer.
Communicate like a beast. For each animal there is a limit to the size of the herd in which it feels comfortable. The limit for humans is around one hundred and fifty. Let those thousand vague Facebook friends rest for a while. See which people are really valuable to us and keep our attention for them.
In other words: Relax. The brain doesn’t want to do nothing but doing nothing is really good for our brain. And the body doesn’t want to move too much but moving is very good for the body. So put the body to work and the brain to rest.
Sleep enough and on a regular basis.
Good luck and if you have questions, just ask