By Tibor Moravcik
How does stress affect your body and mind?
Many of us live today under pressure, under stress. A chronic stress negatively affects the human body, especially musculoskeletal, respiratory, cardiovascular, endocrine, gastrointestinal, nervous and reproductive systems. Stress is also one of the reasons for mental disorders.
Stress usually causes undesirable tension which consumes your vital energy, makes you feel tired, and causes pain.
Stress also has a strong effect on your workforce productivity. Under stress it is much harder to focus, so your mistakes magnify, and creativity goes down.
Stress is eating you from the inside.. It makes you feel and look older.
How to cope with stress?
Tension in your body is linked with your ‘mental tension’ – stress, and vice versa.
The first step to cope with stress is to release your body tension.
You relax immediately, your heart rate reduces, blood pressure goes down, and the body produces less stress hormones and enzymes.
To be aware of your tension, it’s necessary to develop an internal feeling – kinesthetic and proprioception sense. It helps you to detect tension in your muscles and fascias and control it.
Another way, to be relaxed (also to improve your internal feeling) is by working with your bodywave – the flow of kinetic energy.
Bodywaves make you relaxed (From the point of view of mechanics, you cannot wave with a tense solid body).
Bodywaves help you diagnose stiff places (the wave doesn’t flow through tense tissue).
Bodywaves help you to break down ‘crystalised’ tissue and makes the tissue supple once again.
Breathing has a massive effect on the tension in your body and mind. You have a subtly different kind of tension and a different quality of your body, depending on whether you inhale, exhale or hold your breath.
Many of us have a tendency to hold our breath to create tension in the lungs. The aim is to make a solid support inside our bodies, and to avoid the use of core muscles.
Aversion to the use of our core muscles leads us to instead prefer the use of much more energetically demanding surface muscles, tendons and fascias.
Holding breath creates a lot of unhealthy internal tension. When we stop holding our breath there is typically a sigh. Interpret this sound like as a warning of undesirable tension.
It helps us to be aware of it. We can often notice this sound, when we sit down, or stand up, or lift something heavy, or in a stressful situation.
To cope with stress and pain it helps to breathe through your ‘hard position’ to avoid making a ‘solid construction’ (and instead keep a liquid and relaxed body).
Systema, Bodywaving and Dancefight make you aware of your reactions and creates new habits through breathing, keeping relaxed and creating a liquid body.
At the start of training, I recommend breathing audibly – to control your breathing through your ears (uses a different part of the brain).
You become aware of this aspect through training and then apply it in your daily life.
(Read more: Systema Seven breathing principles)
Your body is storing created tension in your tissue. Therefore it is really important to get rid of the created tension with using massage, bodywaving and breathing techniques.
So, what do you do when you notice that you are stressed? Ignore it? Pretend everything is fine? No.
‘Expand’ your lungs with a deep inhale and ‘relax flowing down’ with the exhale. Focusing for deep breathing makes you relaxed and makes you start releasing the stress. Systemma teaches you this. You can apply it in your normal working life to control the stress. Eventually, you will learn to use this to your advantage.
Your state of mind is very important.
Fear is a product of your focused awareness (logical, linear), which is asking: ‘what if…?’.
If you are in expanded awareness (flow), you are in the present, there are no logical contradictions, therefore there is no fear or stress. (I am writing a book about these two types of awareness). You are in the present. You have no expectations. You are free to flow.
(About expanded and focused awareness will be workshop: Dancefight – Active and Passive Movement, London 14 July 2018)
“If you are depressed you are living in the past.
If you are anxious you are living in the future.
If you are at peace you are living in the present.”
― Lao Tzu
Your posture may be one of the reasons for your stress. Until you accept it you are still fighting with it inside – you are stressed. Accept the reason for your stress and your stress disappears. When you accept the situation, you can start to deal with it constructively. You can also use an opponent’s force only when you accept it…
Who developed and why an anti-stress program?
In my opinion, warriors have the biggest motivation to cope with stress.
Firstly, coping with stress could be a question of survival.
Secondly, fighting is one of the most stressful human activities..
No wonder realistic antistress programs come from the martial arts world. I have studied many martial arts and all of them have helped me to cope with stress somehow. However, Russian Systema is the one that comes with a simple and easily applicable program on how to cope with stress, tension and breathing.
Systema helps Russian special forces cope with stress. All special forces by definition have to face stressful situations.
However their anti-stress techniques are not just for warriors, those techniques can be used in every situation.
The best way is to order tailormade workshop. Exercises in my workshop provide you unforgiving personal experiences. You could feel how stress comes to you, feel how it affects your body and mind. You could test what techniques work and what doesn’t. You become more aware of undesirable tension, and you could build up new positive habits….
Our program is also used by Russian special forces. The principles about stress are the same for all of our activities. Therefore stress management from Russian Systema is finding its way to sports, wellness, dancing, and team building.
In addition to Systema, my program is also based on my own research. As a doorman I have been studying stress management in real life situations. Apart from controlling my own stress it has been useful in controlling stress in others.
If you are interested in my program, please contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org; +44 7788 538 272) to arrange one.
Instructor of Russian Systema
Sifu of Wing Chun Kung Fu
Professional massage therapist
Creator of Dancefight and Bodywaving
The stress management can also make your movements smoother.
Efficiency of your movement could increase, and so, you could become quicker and stronger.
Then there is a big chance that it will make you healthier.