Why Do We Have Stress Tolerance In The First Place?

The brain has to work extremely hard to make us feel that much stress. It has to keep a constant load of glucose in working memory. And as it does that, it has to do the equivalent of keeping a huge amount of cash in reserve to provide the body with immediate fuel in the event you’re short of the basics.

Stress is like a big ball of sugar in your tank. It may even take up a good four-fifths of the tank. To keep you feeling stressed, and thus keep you going through the day, your brain has a really tough job. It has to keep a constant load of glucose in working memory that’s available in a moments notice to make you feel stressed. And it has to do the equivalent of keeping a huge amount of cash in reserve to provide the body with immediate fuel in the event you’re short of the basics. If none of those items come through as you’re trying to do those difficult jobs and you end up feeling stressed, then you’re going to fail. You may feel bad for a while. But then you’re not going to be there for your family, you’re not going to be there for work, you’re not going to be there for your other responsibilities. You’re going to fall off the wagon to start feeling good again. Which is why the brain has to work even harder to keep you stressed, and it’s why stress is so easy to take care of by just putting your car in gear and driving. It’s also why your job requires a higher level of stress tolerance than your pet monkey or even your beloved dog. You need to make sure that stress isn’t getting the best possible work out of you, and therefore need to give your brain a bigger load of fuel.

Here’s the thing about stress tolerance, though. It comes with a cost .

We’ve got lots of fuel in working memory, and so it’s not a big deal if we’re stressed. We never feel it on purpose. We just feel the stress, and then it goes away. But once we get a big enough stressload, our brain doesn’t have the resources to clear the stress. It starts to get overwhelmed. And that’s when we start to feel the symptoms of stress .

So what do we do about it?

Well, to begin with, we can start by knowing that it’s a cost of stress tolerance. It costs us at least something. And it’s good that it costs us something.

I’ve already talked about why stress is an issue. And that’s fine. But we can do more than talk about the facts. What good is that when some of them feel so wrong?

Here are some things you can do to take back control of your stress tolerance and feel more stress-free every day: 1. Practice what I’ll call the ” stress-in and relax-out method ” . This is like training yourself to keep your stress tolerance and your anxiety at a constant level. You practice being aware of the stress you experience and the feelings that arise . This helps you recognize and deal with the right feelings and the right stress , and gives you the opportunity to deal with them successfully. In time, you’ll start to feel less and less stress. That’s progress! But the first step is to put some effort and mindfulness. Take care of your fuel and your cash in your tank. That’s what matters, right?

2. Change your diet. And don’t be a jerk about it. The whole point of food, as I mentioned before, is safety. The more safety you can provide, the more energy your body can draw from food when you need it. So, by changing your diet to eat low-toxicity foods that have plenty of safety, you’ll make it possible to take a huge stress load off your brain as things start to feel really hard.

3. Eat low-stress foods. In the same way that taking care of your tank on the side is important, it’s also important to take care of your food tank. The good news is that the process of changing your food system is super easy. If you don’t have a vegetable garden, plant some. Even if you can’t eat raw vegetables, make sure you eat cooked vegetables or your gut bacteria will be in danger. When you make your own vegetables or buy them from a farmer, buy fresh or frozen, that’s really important. You want to minimize the stress that it takes for your mind to recognize that the food is safe. Eat foods that are high in the fat and low in the carbs or nutrients . They keep your stress tolerance high, because they have enough energy to provide fuel for your neurons when they have to. The problem with most processed foods is that they’re full of processed carbs and artificial sweeteners and artificial flavors that have a lot of empty calories that fill you up fast. Avoid that by making sure you buy whole foods whenever possible.