Living with stress
relax to live
Stress and the 21st Century
Living with stress
Human beings were not designed for life in the 21st century. have not evolved anything like quickly enough to deal with demands of a fast-paced, information-rich, stressful environment. See side effects
The adrenaline rush
Modern life exposes us to myriad pressures, producing a stress response from our endocrine system, including the release of adrenaline which prepares the body for physical or mental exertion but puts us under actual physical pressure. Our bodies have hardly changed since prehistoric times when, as hunters, we would be exposed to extreme short-term dangers.
Then, the body needed adrenaline to fight or flee from the danger. However, while adrenaline is highly effective in helping us escape from short-term danger, it is less so when faced with ongoing, long-term stress.
In fact, adrenaline and the other chemicals our bodies produce in reaction to stress cause the body to produce toxic substances, free radicals. They are implicated in most human diseases, including cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer's disease and degenerative diseases.
The immediate chemical effect of stress is to reduce the immune system's ability to function, making us more susceptible to disease. Sustained stress may develop into depression, raising corticosteroid levels and putting further pressure on the immune system. A growing body of research links depression with an inability to fight cancer.
Next Steps ...
You'll have more to work with, but it will feel harder at first. Equally, if you're suffering from serious depression, schizophrenia or other mental difficulties, take medical advice before starting meditation. It may not help you at all, or your medication may make it harder for you to do the practice.
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