Roger Harty: Technology And The Stress Connection

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rsz_roger_hartyI WROTE in a previous article about stress  (here) and it is appropriate for this article to examine the definition of stress.

Stress is – being here and trying to be there.

Ancient man was open to stress when he hunted in the forest as he was exposed to the dangers of being attacked by wild animals.

If he had an encounter with a wild bear it was a survival mechanism to be stressed as he needed his body to kick into action rapidly (stress hormones, faster breathing etc) in order to run away from the onslaught – in other words he needed to be there (somewhere safe) not here (imminent danger).

What triggered the body to get into stress mode (this had to happen instantly for obvious reasons) was man’s connection with his senses – what he saw, heard, tasted touched and smelled.

Back in those early formative years man was prey, so think of a rabbit taking off when it senses danger about.

The point I’m making is that that sort of danger was very, very real and stress was an absolute requisite for the survival of mankind. So stress was a very necessary and good thing once used in context.

If we move on through the Millennia and centuries that have followed, all of these wild animals are to all extent dead or in captivity.

Yes there are wild dangerous creatures at large, but especially since the invention of firearms, man has got the upper-hand and death from this sort of experience is as rare as hen’s teeth!

The problem with modern living is all of the running and racing that people are doing on a daily basis in order to keep up with all of the daily chores.

From the moment we arise in the morning the rushing starts; Beds need to be made , breakfast needs to be downed, kids dressed, rush to school, rush to work, answer  phonecalls, look up emails, check facebook do whatever work entails, have a quick lunch, back to work, rush home, do all the collections and dropping, have dinner, watch television, check twitter or facebook again, play on the computer, go to bed and get up and do all the same things all over again.

I’m even exhausted writing this and I don’t even live in a city!

The body interprets all this rushing around in exactly the same way that it interprets running from a wild animal.

We are running around and breathing faster as a result, the body in turn interprets this as saying that there must be danger about and thus it produces stress hormones whether or not the real danger exists.

The stress reaction is based on survival and the body is not going to take a chance that the danger may not be real – in other words the stress response is part of our automatic system.

Yes, we have to live in the modern world, but if we do so with awareness of the harm that excessive stress can do to our bodies, then perhaps it is worth having a good look at it.

They say that over 90% of modern illness (Cancer, depression, diabetes, anxiety, high blood pressure, cholesterol among others) are related to stress and unaware modern lifestyle.

Ok Roger – we cannot stop progress, we cannot change the world, we cannot stop modern technology so are we doomed?

No we cannot change all of these things (and we won’t want to unless we come to the realisation of the harm they may cause) but we certainly can always change how we react to these things.

We have always got the choice of controlling our reactions to the world we live in. The best way to react to modern living is practice mindfulness living i.e. introduce some sort of meditation into our daily lives.

Just like our ancestors lived – pay attention to our breath and also to what we see, hear, taste, touch and smell. Have you heard all of this somewhere before – yes – come to your senses!

“Everybody wants freedom but with freedom comes responsibility” – Nelson Mandela.

Next week I am going to write about – benefits of technology

• Roger Harty is a life coach and can be contacted on 087-6128336, on twitter at @Innerjoyz1 or by email 

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