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Rather than focusing only on diminishing the consumption of water in the city, an allostatic solution would figure out new channels to unexplored rivers; foster excavations to discover artesian wells; seek ways to provoke or increase rainfall, all together. A stressor will be any event that takes our mind and body (the city) out of their allostatic balance. Whenever we encounter a stressor, our bodies generate a stress-response to reestablish the allostatic balance and assure survival either by secreting more hormones, suppressing others, or activating certain neural paths and parts of nervous system that produce the four F’s of behavior: fight, flight, fright, and sex responses (Sapolsky, 1998). Our brains work like a city mayor, calling its citizens to do whatever is necessary to keep allostasis, i.e. Although most stressors tend to be short-lived, as human beings we have reached a level of cognition in which our thoughts and anticipatory styles create toxic stressors; i.e. When the stressor becomes toxic, we enter in a constant state of vigilance that ends up creating haywire in our bodies and minds since the brain acts as the master interpreter of stressors and, at the same time, regulates and is impacted by the stress-responses it produces (Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University, 2011; Mc Ewen, 2002). If the organism does not find a means to engage in one the four F’s, a negative feedback loop takes place in which the stress-response becomes even worse than the stress. Retrieved from Kubovy, M. If that happens, substance abuse or a permanent state of anxiety and worrying might take place (Mason, 1975; Sapolsky, 1998). Second alternative: Go for ‘bathroom meditations.’ Lock the door and while seated or standing, breathe in and out deeply for five minutes paying attention to your belly. Now, as a skeptic, you might be craving for counter-evidence. Mindfulness: Theoretical foundations and evidence for its salutary effects. doi:10.1080/10478400701598298 Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University (2011).

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Throughout our evolution, our bodies and brains became wired to seek a state of allostasis, i.e. Exercising physically and practicing mindfulness in your daily life – either at your bank, at your clients’ offices, or at your company – are low-cost, highly effective ways of reducing your stress levels while increasing your cognitive skills, problem-solving capabilities, and consequently your ability to be more effective at work. First, I will explain the mechanisms of stress and how physical exercise and mindfulness alleviate stress and operate on the mind and (ii) I will propose ways of easily incorporating their practice in your daily life. First alternative: Establish short, five-minute pauses at your desk. Take an upright position at your chair, keep your eyes open and focused on a specific point – in this case, pretend you are reading a highly complicated legal sales contract tied to success fees – and keep bringing your attention to your belly whenever you notice you mind wandered.

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