Let’s Talk About Stress!

Let’s Talk About Stress!


Good morning, John. Yesterday, I let everybody know that I was stuck in, as you say, Cheyenne, Wyoming. I’m working on my book. Since I’ve been stuck in book land, I haven’t been thinking about what I’m gonna do on Vlogbrothers, so I asked everybody what I should talk about. And CGP Grey asked how in the world the word Cheyenne, this word, is pronounced like a girl named Anne who doesn’t talk very much? Because his brain sees that word and just says, “Nope, that is not a word that can be pronounced.” And I can understand that. And it’s probably for an actual reason. Because the word Cheyenne went through several rapid rounds of what linguists call loanword adaptation. That’s when speakers of one language take a word from another language And then they modify the sounds in it so that they can say it. Like, they make it pronounceable with the noises that their language has. In English, the loanword adaptation of /bʊrˈitɔ/ is /bəɹiˈɾəʊ/, because we don’t roll our Rs. Which something that every language does. So, when French settlers were first learning about people in the western United States, they asked the people that they had been talking with, who were Dakota, about these other people, who were not Dakota and the Dakota gave the French people their word for those people. The French people then adapted that loanword into something that sounded kind of like “shey-en,” and then, somewhat rapidly, English adapted that loanword from French from “shey-en” to “shy-an,” which sounds much more American, right? And I say American because this isn’t just about languages, it’s about dialects, it’s about the sounds that we make. Like, “shy-an” is not the kind of noise that a British person would make. I’m sure they would find a much more lovely way of saying that word. Loanword adaptation isn’t a sign of disrespect for a language, it’s a sign that we need this word and we can’t say it with the noises that you make because we don’t have those noises. Anyway, this video is about stress and how to deal with it. I know that it doesn’t seem like it. Here’s the situation: when we experience, like, existential threats, threats to, like, our being, our identity, our existence, our stress response is built for physical threats. And so our bodies do a bunch of stuff to prepare us for a physical threat. They, like, our blood pressure goes up, our heart rate goes up, resources get diverted from our immune system and from our digestion, and we want to do one of two things: We want to fight, or we want to flee. And the first two minutes of this video, that was me fleeing. That is an excellent example of a bad, but not worst, strategy. Because at least now I know stuff I didn’t know before. If I’m thinking about this, like, there’s fight and there’s flight. And flight is reading about linguistics, or going on Twitter or Facebook or whatever. So what is fight, right? Like, I can’t punch my email inbox, though certainly I would like to sometimes. A week ago, I got a bunch of bad news in a row. And I was sitting right here at this desk and I remember thinking, like, that I had spent like a half an hour just trying to distract myself and running away from this unpleasantness. It was like a bunch of bad things, unrelated to each other, so it was just, like, piling on top of me, right? And it didn’t get better until I interfaced with it. And that might be thinking about it, or writing an email, or talking to somebody about it; but dealing with it, letting it be in my life, that’s the fight. It’s remarkable, kind of, but thinking about the unpleasantness, makes the unpleasantness so much less unpleasant. But because it is unpleasant, you don’t want to do it at all. And then I sent a bunch of emails, and the, the fight… was over, and I had dealt with it, and I was through it, and I wasn’t stressed out anymore. And I could play with my baby and be happy. I know this isn’t always possible; my worst stresses in my life have been things that I can’t fix, that you can’t interface with. [High piano note coincides with arrow appearing] They’re just things that happened, because bad things happen. That, you just accept, and that’s no fun. But the other things, though, the things that I can, at least, affect in some way. And it can be hard to find the difference between those two things. I found that kind of nothing works except, like, overpowering my lizard brain and actually doing the things that I know will help. Whether that’s exercise, or contemplation, or talking to somebody about it. Not running away to Reddit, not learning about linguistics, interfacing with the thing that is causing the stress. And fighting, you know? In, like, the most unnatural of ways. Like, slowly, and methodically, and with the knowledge that nothing is going to fix this except work. John, I’ll see you on Tuesday.

Author: Kennedi Daugherty

100 thoughts on “Let’s Talk About Stress!

  1. As a stressed out linguist, I actually found it very comforting and soothing that you prefaced the topic of stress with loanword adaptation.

  2. On loan word adaptation, we have a similar place name thing here in Oregon: Coquille. Looks like it's pronounced koh-KEEL, actually pronounced koh-KWEL, comes from a word in my tribe's native language pronounced koh-KWE[voiceless dental lateral fricative]. XD

  3. Hey guys from the U.S., as a german who loves America for many good reasons, I wonder what is going on in your country. For example: How can you allow your political leaders to withdraw from the Paris Agreement? What is your opinion on that? Is there no way to change something for you? I want to hear your voices!!
    Best wishes from the other side of the Atlantic :))

  4. Oh my goodnessss Hank, I am doing that Right Now a si watch this video. There's been a lot going on in my life recently and I've been so incredibly avoidant and truly…the only thing to make me happy again has been, as you say, to work. To actually engage with the stressors. To face them and try to answer their beckoning. Avoiding them has caused…so much built up anxiety about their completion…while working leaves me feeling more relaxed afterwards. Such a phenomenon.

  5. Got 3 tests back today and none of them went well. School in general is bad right now and this video was exactly what I needed.

  6. There's more than just fight or flight. It's fight, flight, or freeze. Flight at least still feels like the problem is being dealt with. With freeze, you're just stuck, like a deer in headlights, watching your imminent doom speed toward you and feeling unable to do the things necessary (like fighting or fleeing) to prevent it.

  7. Definitely need a video on tips for overpowering your lizard brain. I definitely have a tendency to avoid issues and not push through unpleasantness

  8. Isn't it important to see fight or flight as equally valid? Choosing to fight means on some level choosing to win – honor or dignity be damned. You choose flight, dignity and honor still damned, because it keeps you alive through that which would kill you. Cutting out either seems like a bad way to live.

  9. Things like work piling up, EMAILS, governmental systems to navigate, more emails, meaningless work that has to be done and more and more emails that are all necessary yet highly difficult, irritating, seemingly straightforward and also seemingly postpone-able (spoiler-warning: not really) —- they elicit such a different reaction than, let's say – tipping liquid straight into your computer, which hasn't been backed up for half a year. That's bad and stress that I respond to with immediate panic, action, googling, more action, rice and anceity-ridden waiting, but ultimately with action, with dealing, with 'fight'.
    The emails get half-written, then buried in the Draft-folder. Even good emails.
    Anyone else recognizing this pattern? No? Just me? Excellent..

  10. My name is Cheyenna, you want to talk about stress? Guess how often my name is mangled. Just, guess. Even though it's literally so close to a known word. sigh

  11. Thank you, Hank. This is the kind of video that I need to watch/remind myself of at least once a week. Because I am very, very, very*, VERY, *VERY good at procrastinating and avoiding the confrontation of the problems I'm facing. On a daily basis, not just the big ones. So a reminder that this is really just a (poor) coping mechanism rather than an interesting/productive use of my time is very important.

  12. I feel as though, often times- there is another option.. at least I'd imagine to be an evolutionary tactic of . Freezing. Fight, flight or freeze.

  13. Methodically dealing with unpleasantness has been my life for about four years now. I try to make it my goal to overcome at least one major obstacle a day, but that doesn't always happen. Not every problem can be solved in a day. I don't think about all of the things I have to do. I just think about the one thing I have to do right now. Maybe this approach will help someone else who feels overwhelmed.

  14. Ouch. I am feeling personally attacked by this.

    Realizing I am not the centre of the universe, and that Hank has no idea who I am, I know this is not about me. Still ouch.

  15. People often discuss the whole "Fight or Flight" decision as if it covered the spectrum of possible responses to stress, but the third, and often the most commonly adapted strategy, is "Freeze." It is literally where the term "deer in the headlights" comes from–and it almost always leads to an undesirable outcome (just ask the deer) but is still a common and natural reaction that is neither fighting or flying.

  16. It's kind of funny to me when people can't pronounce/read Cheyenne, as a person who grew up in Wyoming. I'm amused, like I know some great secret they don't, odd as I'm sure that sounds.

  17. Did anyone else feel like Hank just admited to being a lizzard person ("My lizzard brain") , The new wordl order got him NOOOOOOOOOO.

  18. Let's talk about stress, baby
    Let's talk about you and me
    Let's talk about all the good things
    and the bad things that may be
    Let's talk about stress
    Let's talk about stress

  19. On a different note: I relate so much more to Hank in his videos than i ever do to John. While John makes good points and insights on the occasion, i find him condescending. But this may be my bias to relate to squirmy, awkward Hank and john is just uncomfortable and stiffens up in on camera. But Hank's chosen delivery of his material, regardless if he wrote it or if a team did, always seem just so much more authentic, like he was just embraced his awkward and lets it be whatever it will (while still maintaining some decent speech skills). I can easily watch Hank's crash course presentations, while i have to muscle through much of John's presentations.. which is a shame because i am interested in the subject matter.
    When they bro up, they have a great sibling relationship and John gets sillier and less stiff. Since they have been doing this for so many years i doubt John's camera presence and speaking style is likely change, and i know this rant ain't helping anybody… so i'll just go now.

    That thing at the beginning about Cheyenne was interesting!

  20. Reasons I love this video:
    1. My name is Cheyenne and hearing it talked about and its pronunciation is weird but also kind of interesting for some reason
    2. I really needed this video today.
    10/10 overall

  21. Third reaction to threat: freeze. Which is much more obvious when you’re talking about physical threats but mental freezing is pretty unpleasant too.

    When things pile up and instead of tackling them one at a time, or doing…anything it’s just Too Stressed arghhhhhhh Blue Screen Of Deaaaaattthhhh…metaphorically speaking.

    This happens to other people, right?

  22. I'm stressed because I need more responses on my survey for my Marketing class. Calling all nerdfighters to please respond to this survey http://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/4040813/Organization-For-You
    DFTBA!

  23. The book series has some faults, both literary and philosophical, but The Sword of Truth series has one amazing piece of advice on how to think, which I have learned to do more consciously now: think about the solution, not the problem. It is so easy to get caught up in a positive feedback loop where you think about a problem, you can't solve it, so you worry about not being able to solve it, which makes you worry even more because now you've accepted failure and the solution is even further away, so the worry turns into panic, and so on. STOP! Yes, there is a problem, and it needs a solution, so turn it into a puzzle and figure out which pieces go where.

  24. That awkward yet wonderful moment when one of your favorite YouTubers takes a minute to discuss the linguistic origins of your name. Thank you, Hank, even though the thumbnail + title of this video made me feel like you had created a personalized intervention about my stress levels lol

  25. Unless you have anxiety, in which case "fighting"/contemplation is basically all you do, and sometimes it can be better to distract yourself, if you know and have identified that it's not a real problem that can be affected by action. 🙂

  26. You have a gift for always saying what I need to hear at the right points of my life. Thank you, for showing me how to fight and not take flight.

  27. Ug. Ug I'm gonna be "that person". I'm sorry, I'm not attempting pretension, just trying to spread some info I learned for my degree (social work). Fight and flight are typical responses to stress, but "freeze", "friend", or "flop" are also responses they've been paying more attention to lately. Fight or flight tend to be male-centric responses (for that physical fight, be it biology or culture), but that's what science mostly studied for hundreds of years so it's the go-to reaction people think you should have to stress.

  28. Constructive talking, or thinking out loud (which I so appreciate from both of you, Hank and John !) . It helps knowing we go through the sort of same process which is essentially postponing the necessary by doing other seemingly necessary stuff or thinking… No need for loanwords to tell you that procrastination is, aside from its pronounciation, the same word and has the same meaning in French….Your T-shirt is by the way in perfect harmony to your discussion…hide: flight and seek : fight. On purpose ?

  29. 1. I am British, and flattered. ^^ (If I hadn't heard you say 'Shy Anne', I would have pronounced a word spelled 'Cheyenne' as 'shay-ENN'.)
    2. I have an exam tomorrow I am definitely not well prepared for. But this video has inspired me to at least tackle the remaining revision, rather than be paralysed by the fear of not being able to get it done. So thanks for that.

  30. The things I personally stress out the most about in life are things that I have genuinely no control over, like when something needs to be done, but I need approval first from some higher entity or a situation is in the hands of other people. That's when I start to stress like you were stressing about your email but it's almost worse, because I can't deal with it. I just have to sit and wait. I cannot be proactive in my problem solving with makes me feel even more powerless than I originally did. And if I sit and wait and think about it non-stop, it just gets worse and I stress out more and get angrier and more anxious that the thing, whatever it may be, has not been resolved yet. I hate having to depend on other people for things. Sometimes I even stress about whether or not payroll at my job will have processed my check on time because that is a thing that DEFINITELY happens in my life. I need real advice on how to deal with this in a proactive but healthy way. Just thought I'd toss this out there in case you guys look back on previous videos.

  31. Your way to deal with stress was to run away to a book. Same my friend, same. #AgeOfInformation #AgeOfEscapees

  32. Hey im Cheyenne thank you! and also can we start a “Cheyenne” group chat that would be the best thing ever

  33. But there's 5 scientifically relevant stress responses: Fight, flight, freeze, tend and befriend…
    I'm doing a lot of freezing right now, and watching YouTube….

  34. Just wanted to say thanks for this video. I keep coming back to this one. It’s one of those vlogbrothers videos that explain a thing I could never put to words, and somehow, after 4 minutes, everything is just a little bit better 🙂

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