Common advice on how to counter stress can keep you stuck in an unhealthy stress loop.



Read the article extract and choose the right definition/synonym a)-c) of the words in bold 1-8.


Stress. It’s on everybody’s mind, and everybody wants less of it. Despite being one of the hot topics in self-care, what you’ve been taught is minimally helpful and, in some cases, 1. dead wrong. It’s time to set the record straight so you can live your best life and stop wasting time on things that don’t work.

First, let’s clarify what stress really is. Stress is your body’s immediate reaction to a trigger. That’s it. Stress is an automatic internal response to an automatic or purposeful thought, sound, smell, sight, or feeling. Stress is not a life situation. It’s not marital issues, an IRS audit, employees who underperform, or a 2. defiant teenager. 

We each have a unique, in-the-moment stress reaction to what is happening to us and within us in real time. Your internal stress switch toggles up and down in milliseconds and dictates how you think, what your focus is, how you make decisions, and ultimately how healthy you are. 

Stress dictates fear, anger, focus, and a 3. host of other states. So when we lower the switch in moments that matter, we have the courage to do the hard thing. We pass the exam; we show empathy; we 4. nail the public speech. We don’t say things out of anger; we connect; we make the decision; we focus.

This one switch 5. manifests our potential, and it’s the difference between the good and the bad in humanity.  

It’s so important, yet we’ve been going about dealing with stress all wrong. It’s not your fault that your efforts to reduce or control it haven’t been very successful. While it is true that some stress can be adaptive for motivation and performance, most stress is excess, unnecessary stress and it’s crucial to minimize it. Yet the messaging around stress ignores current neuroscience and suffers from six 6. fatal flaws:

Flaw 1: You can’t access your “stress management” technique at the moment you need it. The brain processes needed to breathe deeply, think rationally or positively, and problem-solve break down when you’re in a state of moderate to high stress. 

Pro tip: Only use these techniques when you’re a little bit stressed. Don’t try to 7. reason with yourself or anybody else when you’re highly stressed. Don’t believe me? Ask your divorced friends.

Flaw 2: You must leave what you’re doing and go “do” the technique. I don’t know about you, but I can’t just pop into downward-facing dog at 1:45 p.m. on a Tuesday during a strategy meeting. So if my stress switch is high, I have to wait to lower it, and therefore, I stay in a state of high stress. 

Pro tip: Use the right stress tech to reduce stress in less than 30 seconds and refocus almost immediately. (…)

Flaw 4: Tips that take a long time to work, like taking a bath, going for a hike, 8. journaling, etc., don’t produce lasting changes in the brain. That means whatever triggered your stress switch will retrigger you in the future.   

Pro tip: Do healthy things and live a healthy lifestyle, but not as your primary stress reduction strategy. You need to lower stress automatically at the moment you feel it and do so throughout the day. Doing so can change the automatic reactivity from reoccurring from the same trigger. It’s a profound truth, and it underlies how we can cure several mental health issues. (…)

You don’t need to pack up your life and head to the mountains of Tibet to reduce stress. There are simple ways to lower your stress in real time, improve productivity, stay focused, and access your own humanity in more moments, all of which add up to huge gains. Isn’t that such great news?


a) outdated

b) completely

c) not quite


a) compliant

b) uncooperative

c) proud


a) lots

b) small number

c) large number


a) are successful (doing sth)

b) fail (doing sth)

c) give


a) shows

b) protests

c) hides


a) lethal

b) trivial

c) destructive


a) think rationally

b) understand

c) think irrationally


a) working as a journalist

b) writing in a journal or diary

c) going on a journey


Key: 1b; 2b; 3c; 4a; 5a; 6c; 7c; 8b


To continue reading, go to: https://www.inc.com/entrepreneurs-organization/youve-been-dealing-with-stress-all-wrong-according-to-neuroscience


  • in a loop – if something runs in a loop, it runs continuously, so that the same things are repeated again and again
  • to set the record straight – to show that something which has been regarded as true is in fact not true
  • to toggle – to switch between
  • downward dog – a position in yoga in which the hands and feet are on the floor, the hips are high and the head is low, making an an upside-down V shape
  • to underlie – to be at the basis of; form the foundation of
  • obstinance – stubbornness

Practice makes perfect

Watch the video and answer the questions below:


1. How does stress affect the body in the short term and long term?

2. What are the specific hormones released by the adrenal gland in response to stress, and how do they impact the body?

3. How does chronic stress contribute to heart disease and stroke risk?

4. Explain the connection between stress and digestive issues such as irritable bowel syndrome and heartburn.

5. In what ways can cortisol influence weight gain and fat distribution in the body during periods of chronic stress?

6. How does chronic stress impact the immune system and its ability to fight infections or heal injuries?

7. In what other way does chronic stress sabotage your health?




  • What/who stresses you out?
  • Is life becoming more or less stressful?
  • What’s the best stress reliever you know of?
  • What was the most stressful time of your life?
  • Can stress be a positive thing?
  • How do you interact with others when you are under a lot of stress?
  • Have you ever snapped after being under too much stress?



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