DeepWave - Stress Build Up

How Does Stress Build Up?

Without any need for scientific research, every single one of us can agree that feelings of stress, anxiety and depression can all ‘build up’ over time. I’ve yet to meet anyone who disagrees with that fact. 

We all know from experience that there’s a big difference between one week of stress, one year of stress or ten years of stress. Yet it is unclear what this ‘buildup’ is or how it manifests in our lives or bodies. Let alone what to do about it. 

To help explain stress and the impact it has on us as it builds up, we can draw some similarities to tiredness.

Think about how many times in your life you have felt tired. Now think about how you can easily judge whether you are tired or not. It’s something that you can check for internally in a blink of an eye. It’s also something that once you notice you are tired, there is no denying it. 

However, trying to understand where the feeling of tiredness is, is a little more complicated. Tiredness isn’t your blood slowing down, but is it in your brain? Is it in your body? Is it in both? Is tiredness a change in your body’s chemistry? Is it a change in the body’s nervous system? We don’t know for sure scientifically (from what I know), but we can make some guesses. 

Stress could be a lot like tiredness in many respects. We know that mental health patterns like depression, anxiety, PTSD, and stress can ‘buildup’. Yet on a physical level, what is it that builds up? It’s not as if we are looking at a jug of anxiety slowly filling up until it’s full, which then causes an anxiety attack.

Why Does Stress Build Up? 

Unfortunately, we don’t have any firm answers. However, we know that our blood cortisol rises, causing our muscles to get tighter over time. Additionally, neural pathways in the mid-brain become overactive. There are many physical changes over time, but they don’t necessarily explain the feeling of ‘buildup’ nor why we don’t simply shrug off each day and week as they pass. 

Despite there not being any real firm answers about how stress builds up in our brains and bodies, there are some answers to more important questions. How do I stop stress from building up, and how do we release the buildup once it’s there?

Short-Term Stress Build Up

There are innumerable ways to release buildups of stress once they have established themselves in the body of the brain. Physical exercise is one of the most common. Buildups of stress are successfully released from the body via bouts of intensive physical exercise, making it a powerful mental health tool. 

Outside of physical exercise, you could try cold plunges, fasting and deep breathing, all techniques that help release stress. Yet there are many layers to the stress release game.

 

 

DeepWave - Short Term Stress

Short-Term Build Up

There are innumerable ways to release buildups of stress once they have established themselves in the body of the brain. Physical exercise is one of the most common. Buildups of stress are successfully released from the body via bouts of intensive physical exercise, making it a powerful mental health tool. 

Outside of physical exercise, you could try cold plunges, fasting and deep breathing, all techniques that help release stress. Yet there are many layers to the stress release game.

DeepWave - Long Term Stress and PTSD

Long-Term Build Up

There is more than one layer to stress buildup; unfortunately, too many stress release tools only work on the top layer of stress. This is illustrated perfectly by someone who, when they go for a run, feels a huge amount of relief, but if they don’t get to go for another run within 24 hours, they end up just as stressed as they were otherwise. There’s nothing wrong with this as such. But other tools can go deeper, releasing the more significant mental health buildups, years in the making. 

Techniques and tools that release old and substantial buildups include holotropic breathing (extremely intense breathing exercises), brainwave entrainment, trauma release exercises, and extended fasting. Additionally, a growing body of research shows that psychedelic-assisted therapies can similarly impact long-term buildups that contribute to significant mental health disorders. Research is being done on this topic at Johns Hopkins US and Royal College London.

The ideal approach to managing these stress buildups is to have a series of tools that help release both short- and long-term buildups. Ideally, you gradually add activities or tools into your week that give your brain the rest and recovery it needs to keep healthy.

As they say, prevention is better than a cure, so looking for options that minimise stress buildup is always preferable. The great news is that the tools that help release buildups can also work to prevent them. Though incredibly helpful, they are not the whole picture. Support in looking more holistically at lifestyle, belief systems, relationship boundaries, sleep, and old trauma patterns is often needed to prevent stress and mental health from building up.

Long-Term stress build up

There is more than one layer to stress buildup; unfortunately, too many stress release tools only work on the top layer of stress. This is illustrated perfectly by someone who, when they go for a run, feels a huge amount of relief, but if they don’t get to go for another run within 24 hours, they end up just as stressed as they were otherwise. There’s nothing wrong with this as such. But other tools can go deeper, releasing the more significant mental health buildups, years in the making. 

Techniques and tools that release old and substantial buildups include holotropic breathing (extremely intense breathing exercises), brainwave entrainment, trauma release exercises, and extended fasting. Additionally, a growing body of research shows that psychedelic-assisted therapies can similarly impact long-term buildups that contribute to significant mental health disorders. Research is being done on this topic at Johns Hopkins US and Royal College London.

The ideal approach to managing these stress buildups is to have a series of tools that help release both short- and long-term buildups. Ideally, you gradually add activities or tools into your week that give your brain the rest and recovery it needs to keep healthy.

As they say, prevention is better than a cure, so looking for options that minimise stress buildup is always preferable. The great news is that the tools that help release buildups can also work to prevent them. Though incredibly helpful, they are not the whole picture. Support in looking more holistically at lifestyle, belief systems, relationship boundaries, sleep, and old trauma patterns is often needed to prevent stress and mental health from building up.

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