Stress and Self Restraint

Stress and Self Restraint

Dr. McGonigal says, “Stress is the enemy of willpower…The biology of stress and the biology of self-control are simply incompatible.”

You can’t have self control and be stressed, they are literally competing for the same resources at the same time. While self restraint is nice, I am more concerned about stress. As we wrote in our guide on how to relieve stress, that you can get here, stress is a major reason people can’t lose weight. I myself was a victim of this last Spring. I had packed on a couple pounds from a steady regiment of beer during the snowboarding season and I figured I melt it off in a month. A couple weeks go by, no change, a couple months go by, no change!!!! WTF. During this time I strarted stressing about the fact I wasn’t losing the weight and that was on top of some other major life stressing issues. When I eliminate the stress, the weight started to go.

It’s all about the SNS (Symathetic Nervous System) and PNS (Parasympathetic Nervous System). The SNS activates to bring you into a state of stress, which can be a good thing if you’re running for your life from an ax murderer, but it’s not good if you are trying to enjoy your kid’s birthday party. Turning off the SNS is not the same as relieving stress. That isn’t how the brain works. The brain basically only releases neurotransmitters, meaning everything is controlled by turning thing on. Think of it like this, to turn on a faucet you must use energy and it doesn’t just stop when you stop putting energy into it. You have to put more energy into it to turn it off. This is a very rudimentary way of looking at it but it’s helps as a summary.

To relieve stress you need to activate your PNS. The PNS sends messages to the body like, “slow down the heart rate,” and “focus on digestion and building the immune system.” When it comes to staying healthy, managing stress is critical to our mental health, emotional health and even our waist size!