Threat Bucket & How to Reduce Stress

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Time for a little vocab lesson.
Allostatic (say it with me – Al – Oh -Stat-Ick) Load – the wear and tear on the body which grows greater as we become exposed to repeated or chronic stress.

Allostasis is the process by which the body responds to stressors in order to regain homeostasis. When we reach allostatic overload, allostasis begins to go awry sending the body signals to remove or lessen the amount of stress to regain balance. This is when injury, fatigue, disease, and illness begin to set in.

Z-Health Performance creates a fantastic analogy. Let’s think of allostatic load like a bucket. The more “things” you put into the bucket, the fuller it becomes until it eventually overflows. As you reach that spill point, you may feel worse and worse. Your brain begins to limit strength/movement potential or even increase pain.

Inefficient or underdeveloped visual/motor skills, our environment exposure (from heavy metals, electromagnetic fields, mold, etc.), poor balance, even slightly inefficient breathing, and poor nutrition can significantly add to that stress bucket!

Ever had unexplainable pain, headaches, nausea, etc.?  That’s your body trying to regain allostasis by stopping you in your tracks to take action and “chill out.” As the bucket fills, so can inflammation in the GI tract and that’s where your body absorbs all of your nutrients. With 95% of serotonin, a “feel-good” neurotransmitter produced in your gut, this could wreak some serious havoc. If your gut is malfunctioning due to inflammation, your ability to produce serotonin may also be compromised. This can cause a major ripple effect. Ignore these and more insidious ailments occur like IBS, fibromyalgia, or even contribution to the growth of diseases and cancers.

Our brain communicates with multiple systems to calculate the levels of our stress/threat bucket and ultimately manage our survival. Vision alone provides our brain with 150 million neural signals to process every second! So if the signals from multiple systems are poor from these stressors, it will cause inadequate information/input. The brain will then limit our output or our overall performance based on the input bucket filling up. This can include: decreased range of motion, increased pain, decreased speed, decreased strength, etc. because the brain does not feel “safe” to perform the task at optimal levels.

So what are some things you can do to lessen these stressors (because God knows car payments won’t be going away anytime soon)?  

Better input with neural drills for better output.

Below are three tips you can incorporate everyday to lessen allostatic load, decrease your stress bucket and help you perform better:

    The average person takes anywhere from 15,000 to 25,000 breaths per day. That’s a lot of breathing! Try this diaphragmatic breathing drill, begin breathing more efficiently and circulate a more well-balanced oxygen to CO2 ratio throughout your blood.

Remember, 150 million neural signals/second from your eyes! If your visual system is even slightly impaired, it may comprise your performance. We recommend starting with basic eye strengthening drills like the pencil push-up.

Quality movement can make a big difference. There are so many options to choose from. Try our favorite movement drills the turkish sit up. Start with no weight to begin with, and as your strength builds over time, load more weight into your hand. Once you’ve mastered the turkish sit up, you can move onto it’s progressions until you’ve reached the full turkish get-up. Make this a fun experiment with your body. We highly recommend beginning with no weight with 3-6 repetitions per side for 3 sets.

Turkish Sit Up

Progressions – Half Kneeling

FULL Turkish Get Up

Want some more? Learn how you can you start eliminating stress and grow stronger with one of our custom training programs by clicking here.