The negative side of stress

Learn | Read time 2 min

So there is nothing wrong with regularly experiencing stress and still functioning at peak performance. Still, there are two important factors that determine if stress becomes unhealthy: the intensity and the duration of stress.

Intensity & duration

When experiencing acute stress your body is activated. Your body becomes enabled to deal with a threat or danger. This is also called the ‘fight or flight reaction’. The sympathetic nervous system becomes active. You can view this as the ‘action-branch’ of the autonomic nervous system. You notice this immediately: your breathing and heart rate increase, your muscles tense up and your senses sharpen. In the next card we delve deeper into which signals your body produces during stressful situations.

During this programme you will be introduced to different ways of creating a health level of stress. Recovery after a stressful situation is important. Breathing is an effective tool to recover from a stressful experience. Today we will introduce the 4-7-8 breathing method invented by Andrew Weil, an American doctor.

Get started

Watch the video below, to get a hang of the technique and a further explanation bij the inventor (viewing time:  8:11)

If you would like to repeat the exercise, you can count yourself or use the following video (viewing time:  10:19, but you can stop whenever it suits you of course)​

Reflect & Connect

Answer the following questions and share your answers with your online psychologist and/or a friend:

1. Which stressful situations have you experienced the past week?

2. Does your life contain any chronically stressful situations?

3. Have you read or seen things that you could tackle to reduce your levels of stress?

Do you want daily support, just like a trainer on the sideline, to help you reach your goals?  OpenUp offers unlimited contact with our psychologist from €49 per week.

Up next:


Your body says a lot

Read time: 2 minutes

Learn to recognize your physical reactions to stress.