“We’re all stressed. Stress is part of 21st-century life. It’s part of being an adult…”

“We’re all stressed.Stress is part of 21st-century life. It’s part of being an adult. ”

The above quote is from this article.

I would say that is seriously misunderstands what stress is. Stress is not new, and the stress response was not originally dysfunctional. In days gone by, a passing and hungry sabre tooth tiger might happen across a lovely little snack in you!

Your automatic response would be what we now call the stress response. It worked (if it did) because the threat you were facing needed a physical response, was short term and not too often repeated. The stress response gears you for physical action at the expense of longer term health, but then if you avoid getting eaten the system resets to look after the longer term.

It was a Good Thing…

In today’s world the factors that trigger the stress response are not so usually physical, but psychological – a bad boss, a queue on the way to work, a computer that is tooooooooo slow.

That is the 21st century difference.

When the system does not get a chance to reset back to normal functioning our long term health becomes affected.

And as we know it’s a growing problem.

I suggest the answer is two fold.

We need to become much better at recognising what is a threat (and thus rightly triggering the stress response) and what is not. Being stuck in a queue on our journey may well be inconvenient but it is not usually a threat to our life.

Second, we need step up and be influencers who shape our societies and make them into environments that actually nurture us rather than have us as service drones for vested interests. We are creating he world we live in, either actively or by our tacit acceptance of the status quo.

And the status quo sucks (apologies to the band) because it is a largely unconscious acting out of greed and ignorance.

 

It does not have to be this way. We cannot have whatever we want but we can work towards creating it.

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