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    Fighting stress with the SOS technique

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    Robert Maurer
    @robertmaurer
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    Hans Selye, Austro-Hungarian physiologist and physician, said: “It is not the stress that kills us, but the way we react to it”. And it's not a metaphor, given that more and more studies they identify stress as a state capable of generating various diseases on its own.

    However, fighting stress is not that difficult, there is a very simple technique that will allow us to deal with those moments when we are literally about to explode, when we are overwhelmed by the amount of work that lies ahead.

    The SOS technique in three steps

    The acronym SOS is universally known and indicates the request for help. The captain of a ship or the pilot of an airplane knows exactly what it means and how important it is, especially when they are faced with an emergency situation.When we are stressed our body also experiences this state of emergency. Indeed, cortisol and adrenaline levels go up, our pupils dilate and heart rate increases, all in order to cope with the alleged threatening situation. The problem is that if this state persists for hours or days, it can end up destabilizing our metabolism and causing damage at the cellular level, so it's essential to fight stress as soon as it arises. However, it is necessary to clarify that the ultimate goal is not to completely eliminate stress, as a certain amount of eustress is good for achieving goals and gives us an extra dose of energy. The goal of this technique is to eliminate anxiety and distress, to achieve a positive channeling of energy. The SOS (Stop-Organize-Choose) technique can help us in these difficult times.

    How do you put it into practice?

    1. Stop. When we feel that stress is knocking on our door, the first step is to stop. In fact, the main problem is that when we are faced with a mountain of work we generally increase the pace, we think that stopping is a luxury that we cannot afford and we even swallow excess coffee or use other techniques to force ourselves to stay awake and focused. However, increasing the pace only serves to increase stress by generating a state of hyperattention that affects us both physically and mentally. Therefore, it is imperative to stop. Always remember that the best time to relax is when we think we don't have a free minute left. Then that's when we really need to take a break.
    2. Organize. When we are stressed we are assailed by many emotions, but among these, the strongest is the feeling of being saturated, overloaded. Often this happens because we haven't spent enough time organizing activities. In fact, what usually stresses us is not the activities themselves, but rather the feeling of oppression that comes from the fact that we do not know where to start or when we will be able to finish. Thus, the simple activities are added to the others and we come to perceive them as situations that require a lot of effort when it is not, therefore, to combat stress it is essential to get the most objective possible picture of the activities to be faced. and how we will do it. It is a matter of organizing these activities, giving them a priority and even if there are many, it is desirable to write them down on a piece of paper. The therapeutic power of writing should never be underestimated. When you make a list of everything you need to do during the next day or week, you will notice that your mind has cleared of worries and you will be able to think more clearly.
    3. Choose. We are not Superman, the sooner we accept it the better it will be for our psychological balance. This means we have limited resources, both in terms of time and effort. Therefore, learning to prioritize activities is imperative to combat stress. In fact, the difference between people who have been put off by circumstances and those who improve their performance in stressful situations is that the latter know how to clear the path, remove obstacles, eliminate all that is superficial and focus on what it really matters.Sometimes it's not possible to do everything we want. If so, it's a good idea to choose from larger tasks or projects. In fact, it is important to consider that it is precisely the less important activities that often take up the most time, until they turn into a hole that absorbs all our energy. Remember that "more" is not always better. Sometimes it is better to do less, but invest in quality. Your psychological balance will thank you for this shift in perspective and ultimately it will have a positive impact on all areas of your life.

    Combat stress at its source

    The SOS technique is a lifesaver that we can wear when we are at the limit. However, it would be best not to go that far. In fact, if we think about it carefully, we often create stress ourselves, because we are unable to say no, postpone activities at the last minute or obsessively devote ourselves to work, without leaving room for relaxation. It is important to be aware that small daily stressful situations profoundly alter what is known as cardiac coherence. Basically, whenever we are stressed our heart starts beating irregularly, even if we usually don't notice it. However, prolonged stress over time can profoundly impair the functioning of the parasympathetic system and heart, causing a heart attack, so it's best to fight stress in the bud by making some changes to the way you understand and deal with the demands of daily life.
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