Saturday, July 23, 2016

What is Stress and How do Modern Societalists Cause their own Stress Responses?

Stress is manifested through perceptions, knowledge or lack thereof, and external environmental causes in Modern Society.

                                                            Written by N. Rae Clark, Community Healthcare Educator


 Prior to modernization acculturation shifts stressors in comparison were ones of encountering predators, contagious diseases, and hunger. Specifically, the stress mechanisms were designed to adjust our physiology to respond to the stressor or as the author refers to this way as a response to a “short-term crisis” (Sapolsky, 2004) (pgs. 2, 6).The time-frame and ability to project thought into anticipation of the future events in the human contrasts with the stress-response of the Zebra to go from one moment of homeostasis to the awareness of the need to generate a hormonal sequence of events to generate movement to safety (Sapolsky, 2004) (pgs. 6, 7). 

Sapolsky states that the “stress-related disease emerges” as a result that the human activates a physiological response in their systems that originated as a response mechanism to protect continuity of the life force within the human due to an acute or crisis situation (Sapolsky, 2004)(pg. 6). Thus the repetitive behavior of the Modern Societalist triggers the hormone cascade at the manifestation of the human being’s “worry” or overwhelming focus and generates a chronic response presenting itself as dis-ease and can eventually lead to system failures as a result of their internal thought process.

Homeostatic balance is defined as an optimal level of the varying mechanisms within the body and their responses to keep an ideal operating system to maintain the life force (Sapolsky, 2004) (pg. 6). A stressor is defined as any external influence that causes an imbalance of the beings homeostatic (optimal balance) maintenance (Sapolsky, 2004) (pg 6). The stress response is the mechanism by which the body works to return to a state of balance (homeostasis) (Sapolsky, 2004) (pg 6).


The projection of expectation known as anticipation is related to stress. This is what is experienced by Modern Societalists when they “overthink.” In other words, when someone believes a stressful outcome might exist they dwell (spend their time in contemplation) sending the energy of their projected negative response into their physiology, the human body responds to the negative surge of hormones released from the endocrine organs such as the adrenals (cortisol, endorphins) as though the situation was occurring in that present moment (Sapolsky, 2004)(pg. 9).

The body adapts to an acute stressor by redirecting the energy of the homeostatic bodily processes through the endocrine system, and halts or inhibits the immune system (Sapolsky, 2004)(pg. 8). Sapolsky states on page 13 of “Why Don’t Zebra’s Get Ulcers?” that the stress-response is more damaging than the stressor itself (Sapolsky, 2004).


To learn how to relax and restore the body breathing practices (pranayama, ni, ni'lchi) and yoga (body movements) are important in addition to a spiritual practice of prayer and meditation.

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