BY JESS OSSIE
Stress is not objective, meaning that we can't actually blame our stress on the environment, it's not fair to say that, our job is stressful, or the traffic is stressful, we might say that those things are demands or changes in expectation. But actually stress is our unique response as to whether we can adapt to a given demand or a change in expectation. In the modern world, and in our modern day, a lot of us are overloaded with demands, we have signed up to have a lot on our plate, we have added expectations from other people, the rate at which we're consuming information is extremely high, and probably a lot more than what our ancestors did.
And we're constantly being overloaded with demands. Now, that's not a problem if we're able to adapt.
When we're faced with a demand, there are two opportunities, there are two options:
1. USE ADAPTATION ENERGY
The first choice we have when dealing with stress is to use our adaptation energy. That's the amount of energy that we each have in our tank to be able to adapt creatively and intuitively and intelligently to demand that gets thrown our way.
Adaptation energy is the amount of energy that we each have to be able to adapt to a demand or a change in expectation.
It's not that we're born with a certain amount of adaptation energy and gets depleted over life, but rather it's like a well, we can invest in it, and we can top it up with rest. So what we want to be able to do is have high amounts of adaptation energy so that we're able to adapt to stimuli adapt to the demands, and the changes in expectations, as opposed to Maladapt.
2. FLIGHT OR FLIGHT
When we can't adapt the body and our adaptation energy is low, or we've depleted it through the other demands of the day, the body will move into what's called a fight or flight response.
So the fight or flight response, probably many of you know is when we the body moves into a state of flux in order to fight or flee a predator or a perceived predator in our case.
AFFECT OF STRESS ON OUR BODY
When our body is stressed, we have a whole host of physiological and biochemical changes that occur inside the body.
- We have a beating heart because our body perceives that we need to be able to fight or flee this predator and therefore have greater oxygenated blood moving to the muscular system.
- The pH of our skin becomes more acidic. And that's because if this saber toothed Tiger were to bite us, we would want to taste sour, so they don't keep eating us to death.
- Similarly, our blood becomes thicker and coagulates. And that's because if this predator were to bite us, we don't want to bleed to death.
- In the brain, the prefrontal cortex of our brain switches off, this basically means that we're utilizing our animalistic part of the brain, the amygdala, he back part of the brain. And it causes us to not be able to have access to the parts of our brain that are responsible for logic, planning, emotional reasoning, hence why when we get stressed so many of us become really, really reactive as opposed to responsive.
- And finally, there are a few things that occur in the system where the body perceives as more long term projects (immune response and digestive system).
So hence, if we're finding ourselves getting stressed frequently, or, you know many times in the day and not having that time and space to really recover and come back to homeostasis, then the body's in that hyper vigilant flux state where we're not actually giving it time to rest, but also digest, digest our food, digest and metabolize our experiences, and provide the correct setup for us to be able to respond to, viruses and diseases, which is obviously relevant at the moment.