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In the fast-paced modern world, it is not uncommon to hear stories about the toll that workload and stress can take on people’s mental and physical well-being. But did you know that extreme pressure and continuous stress can lead to brain failure?

You can watch the entire Documentary d José María here

The case of José María Calvar is a surprising and revealing story in this regard. A businessman who, after two months of insomnia treated with benzodiazepines and alcohol, shot himself in the face without being aware of it. Contrary to what many might think, José María was not trying to take his own life, but rather it was his brain, overcome by stress, that decided to put an end to his suffering.

How does stress affect the brain?

The brain, that enigmatic and powerful mass inside our head, is the epicenter of our emotions, thoughts and actions. It is an adaptive organ that has allowed us to survive and thrive as a species. However, the same brain that gives us the ability to love, learn and create can also be severely affected by adverse conditions, stress being one of the most damaging.

Chronic stress and neuronal exhaustion

When we face a stressful situation, our body reacts by releasing a series of hormones that prepare us to face the challenge. This is an evolutionary response designed to protect us. However, when stress is constant and prolonged, the cumulative effect can be devastating to the brain.

Chronic stress causes a sustained release of cortisol, which can lead to neuronal exhaustion. This means that neurons, the brain cells responsible for transmitting information, may be affected in their function and structure. In extreme situations, this exhaustion can contribute to impulsive and self-destructive decisions, as was sadly evident in the case of José María Calvar.

The effect of cortisol on the brain

Cortisol, when released in acute and temporary responses to stress, has protective and regulatory functions. However, when this release becomes chronic, excess cortisol can have neurotoxic effects.

One of the areas most affected by excess cortisol is the hippocampus, a structure essential for the formation and retrieval of memories, as well as for emotional regulation. Prolonged exposure to cortisol can result in atrophy of the hippocampus, which translates into memory problems and difficulties in managing emotions.

In addition, excess cortisol can also affect the brain’s ability to produce new neurons, a process known as neurogenesis. This reduction in neurogenesis may be related to symptoms of depression and anxiety.

In summary, although the brain is surprisingly resilient and able to adapt to many challenges, chronic stress is a threat that should not be taken lightly. The consequences of sustained stress can be severe, affecting our cognitive and emotional capacity and our general well-being. It is essential to recognize the signs of chronic stress and seek strategies to manage it, promoting a healthy balance for our brain and ourselves.

Stress in modern societies: Analysis and repercussions in the world of work.

Stress, that omnipresent word in the vocabulary of contemporary societies, has experienced a worrying rise in recent years. Work demands, fast-paced urban life and constant digital connectivity have created a cocktail that increases stress levels in individuals from all walks of life. In this article, we will dive into some facts about stress and analyze its impact, especially in the workplace.

Stress indices: A look at the data

  • Recent developments: According to the World Health Organization (WHO), in the last decade, reported cases of stress-related disorders have increased by 20%. This increase has been attributed to factors such as work, urban life and economic demands.
  • Job stress: A study conducted in 2020 showed that approximately 60% of workers experience high levels of stress in their work environment, a figure that has been on the rise from previous years.

Stress in executives and workers: A heavy burden

  • Executives: Corporate leaders are not exempt from this trend. Executive stress has been linked to long working hours, constant decision making, and the responsibility of managing teams and results. This can result in burnout, cardiovascular disease and decreased productivity.
  • Workers: Excessive demands, lack of control over tasks and job insecurity are common sources of stress among employees. These situations can lead to fatigue, decreased performance and interpersonal conflicts.

Consequences of stress in the workplace

  1. Decreased productivity: Chronic stress can affect cognitive ability, leading to errors, forgetfulness and lack of concentration.
  2. Absenteeism: Burnout and stress-related illnesses increase absenteeism.
  3. Team conflicts: Stress can trigger tensions, affecting team harmony and work climate.
  4. Costs to the company: Medical expenses, low productivity and staff turnover are some of the financial consequences of stress.

Modern societies face a growing challenge with increasing stress, especially in the workplace. It is imperative that companies adopt strategies to manage and reduce stress, promoting a healthy work environment. Investing in mental wellness is not only ethically correct, but also profitable in the long term for any organization.

How to combat stress and lead a balanced life?

José María’s story, beyond the tragedy, is also a testimony of resilience and transformation. Despite the adversities and limitations that the accident left him with, such as the inability to see and speak, he found inspiration and guidance in the works of Gerardo Schmedling. As a result, he experienced a spiritual awakening that led him to appreciate life in a deeper way.

For those looking for ways to cope with stress and lead a more fulfilling life, here are some recommended practices:

  1. Meditation and mindfulness: These techniques help to calm the mind, reduce stress and improve concentration.
  2. Physical activity: Regular exercise releases endorphins, which are natural painkillers that promote a sense of well-being.
  3. Adequate rest: Adequate sleep is crucial for brain regeneration and for maintaining optimal energy levels.
  4. Disconnection: It is vital to take time to rest, get away from routines and connect with nature or recreational activities.
  5. Therapy and counseling: A professional can offer tools and techniques to manage stress and negative emotions.

Spiritual awakening after tragedy: The inspiring story of José María Calvar

In the darkest recesses of adversity, the brightest stories of transformation and renewal often emerge. José María Calvar’s experience is a moving testimony of how a tragic accident can be the catalyst for a profound spiritual awakening and a life lived with authentic acceptance.

The pressure of the modern world and its harrowing effect

José María, a successful entrepreneur, experienced the rigors of chronic stress in a way that few can imagine. After two months of insomnia, medicating himself with benzodiazepines and alcohol, he experienced an unimaginable episode: he shot himself in the face, without really being aware of his act. According to him, it was his brain, overwhelmed by suffering, that tried to end his agony.

Accepting and transcending adversity

After surviving the failed suicide attempt, José María faced an immense challenge: to accept a life in which he could neither see nor speak. However, instead of sinking into despair, he found inspiration and guidance in the works of Gerardo Schmedling, a reference in self-help and personal growth.

José María experienced a spiritual awakening. He began to see his accident not as a tragedy, but as an opportunity to reinvent himself and rediscover the true meaning of life. Instead of regretting his situation, he felt grateful for each day, valuing his existence and the accident that, paradoxically, brought him back to life.

Lessons for all of us

The story of José María Calvar offers us several lessons:

  1. Resilience: Despite challenges and adversity, the human capacity to adapt and overcome is extraordinary.
  2. Spiritual awakening: Often the most traumatic experiences can be the starting point for profound spiritual and personal growth.
  3. Acceptance: Living in the present and accepting reality as it is can free us from the burden of regret and “what if…”.


Throughout life, we encounter countless challenges and obstacles that push us to grow, learn and transform ourselves. José María Calvar’s moving journey shows us that, no matter the magnitude of adversity, there is always a silver lining and a path to rebirth. Her courageous journey not only serves as an inspiration, but also reminds us of the essentiality of prioritizing our mental health and continually nourishing our body, mind and soul.

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