Robert M. Sapolsky in his book entitled ‘Why don’t Zebras get Ulcers?’ explains, “if you are a Zebra running for your life, or the lion sprinting for your meal, your body’s physiological response mechanisms are superbly adapted for dealing with such short term physical emergencies. For the vast majority of beasts on this planet, stress is about a short-term crisis, after which it’s either over with or you’re over with.
When we sit around and worry about stressful things, we turn on the same physiological responses – but they are potentially a disaster when provoked chronically.”Stress in the modern day era where there are no lions chasing us can be defined as a state of internal imbalance and it is a result of a process.”
Stress disorders occur in four different stages-
Psychic Phase: In this phase, due to continuous enviornmental stimulation, the central nervous system becomes hyperactive. There are alterations in behaviour such as irritablity, nervousness, sleeplessness, restlessness, being worried etc. Sitting in a traffic jam, and getting irritated with it, can turn on your stress response.
Psychosomatic phase: In this phase, if the stressful situation continues, along with the above signs, there are some generalised changes like increase in blood pressure, increased thyroid function, tremors, palpitation etc.
Somatic Phase: In this phase, there are the above signs and gradually stress settles down in one of the organs and that there is increased functions of target organs. Ulcers, hyperthyroidism, Asthma are all included in this phase.
Organic Phase: Gradually in the organic phase, the disturbances settle in the target area and chronic conditions can occur through an inflammatory response.
The management of stress depends on which stage the person starts to become aware of the activity in the system and goes to the doctor/therapist or consultants. In my experience, we only start to take action when it actually settles in the somatic phase.
Through exploration of the self and your system, you can take notice of these simple tell tale signs of stress and take action in the earlier stages of the progression. There are no Lions chasing us and there is no need to for us to turn our stress switch on over simple things like traffic jams.
If you or someone you know is suffering with anxiety and would like to explore treatment options, please get in touch with me. I’d be more than happy to discuss how I may be able to help life feel more comfortable. You can email me on firstname.lastname@example.org
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