Exhaustion of labor: what happens in the hearts of those who suffer?


The truth is that stress is a response developed tens of thousands of years ago to address the threats that haunted the primitive human being. This response included a repertoire of signs such as increased pulse and pressure, decreased blood flow to the viscera, increased blood flow to the brain and increased attention, among others.

The point is that, at that time, almost all the dangerous situations that generated stress involved physical damage. On the other hand, today we are stressed by physical situations like insecurity, physical abuse, intimidation; but also other non-physical, such as work overload, work pressure, inflation, country risk, dollar, loneliness, discrimination, isolation, no job and much more.

The point is that our mind is not prepared to face all the situations that stress us today. The person who is very stressed loses the ability to discern between the "real" and "non-real" stressors, that is, what can really hurt us and what does not. Even worse, he loses his ability to perceive what really does him good. And often ends up looking for placebos (such as consumerism, alcohol, drugs or cigarettes).

This is where it is necessary to look for resources that allow us to find an internal balance, peace. Of course, we can not change everything that hurts us; in some cases, we will do so, and in others we will have to learn to travel with them.

Burn Syndrome

In principle, it is important to keep in mind that this can happen to anyone. Therefore, it is essential to be alert to your warning signs. When we feel overwhelmed, tired, we can not get out, we lose control of what we are doing, and these feelings remain over time, make us sick.

While it is true that burnout has always existed and is something we see every day, the fact that WHO recognizes it as a work-related disease allows research to be promoted on its effects and promote programs to help those who suffer. In 1976, Cristina Maslach described it as "a three-dimensional syndrome of emotional exhaustion, depersonalization and low personal fulfillment, which may occur among individuals who work with people."

But What happens to a person who suffers burn burning work? To understand it, in a daily interaction there are three systems that are on alert: one is the nervous system, another is the immune system and the third is the hormonal system (which releases cortisol, the stress hormone). If you are in a job that you do not like, you live in a stressful situation or you are very self-demanding, the nervous system reacts by having a very high heart rate, blood pressure increases, the immune system starts to defend itself and the hormone system begins to release cortisol; all this functions like a pressure cooker that sometime explodes and gets sick. Cardiovascular problems, cerebral, myocardial infarction, etc. appear.

In a digital age such as today, the inability to disconnect from labor issues increases the picture.

From the Argentine Cardiological Foundation, we recommend:

  • Learn to say no and do not overload the agenda.
  • Enjoy leisure, do nothing.
  • Focus on one thing to do, learn to prioritize and differentiate between the urgent and the important.
  • Improve affective bonds. People with a good network of social restraint get sick and die less.

Part of the solution

Regular physical activity is an excellent resource for lowering your stress level; walking, running, running, cycling or dancing. In addition, Yoga is; In addition to activities that can be carried out in groups, which allow socialization, provided they are taken as something of leisure.

In this same vein, much has been spoken of Mindfulness as a tool to achieve the long-awaited inner peace and tranquility. This practice, which has the concept of being attentive here and now, without judging, is attained through the formal practice of meditation. 45 minutes, 20, 10, whatever you can; In time it's getting calmer. This method involves experiences, related to everything we do; In this way, you can recognize that within each complicated and stressful day, there are many situations that are enjoyable, comforting, full of love.

In 2017 the American Heart Association (AHA) issued a statute recommending health professionals to indicate meditation to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, along with previously published clinical practices with strong scientific evidence for patients wishing to make a change of style and accept these types of practices.

Food is also a very important part of stress management. A healthy diet, with lots of fruits and vegetables, few flours and saturated fats, abundant hydration, helps to reduce the level of stress. It is essential to make the time to eat a moment and do not do it in a hurry. The WHO recommends eating fruits and vegetables at least 5 days a week and 4 to 5 servings of fruits and / or vegetables a day.

Sleep is also a way of realizing that our relationship with stress is not good. It is not normal not to fall asleep chronically. It is very important to start with a hygiene of sleep: dine lightly, avoid using electronic devices, TV, use nets, drink coffee, avoid activities that make you nervous before bed. Sleeping less than 6 hours is shown to increase the risk of cardiovascular events.

The consultation of the time with a specialist must always be taken into account when we see that in other ways we can not be better and another type of treatment is necessary.

All of this does not just mean enjoying life, the work we have, finding it back and having reasonable expectations. No doubt we are in a very critical moment, but we should not lose hope that everything goes better. This is fundamental. Focus on what we do and have time for one. Making small changes to feel better will help us take care of our heart, not the mortgage for the future.

By the Argentine Cardiological Foundation (FCA)

With the advice of Drs. Julio Giorgini, cardiologist (MN 100.308), member of the FCA; and Jorge Tartaglione, cardiologist (MN 67.502), president of FCA.


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