Stress is now a global issue in our world. But what is stress? How does it affect us?
Stress is a defensive mechanism in our body. It is called a fight or flight reaction. During the old days (and I mean the really old days), when humans were hunters and gatherers, we were constantly in danger, and nature had its own way of preparing and helping us out in those moments of threat.
Let us go back to the Stone Age. Imagine a situation where you are being chased by a deadly, hungry tiger. Your only escape is to run like you never have before. Suddenly, your heart starts to beat faster, in order to supply more blood to your limbs so you can run faster. Your lungs are also working fast, so you get sufficient oxygen. Blood supply to the digestive tract, immune system and brain have all decreased. Surely, the last thing you want when you are running for your life is to make sure you are digesting smoothly, or that your defense system is working!
So, during stress, your body is trying its best to get you out of a tight state alive. However, this is only a short term situation. At least, this is what the body is geared to work on and this is what nature had intended for us human beings.
Now, fast forward to the 21st century. Humans are now in constant stress – whether it is your exams, school homework or the India-Pakistan cricket match! Your body is going through the same process which has been described above; but every single day! Imagine what your body is going through! Your digestive system is always in chaos mode, which results in indigestion, heartburn, and obesity. Your immune system is not functioning, which means that your body is an open campsite for all bacteria and viruses to cause infection! Additionally, your brain is always panicking – which can lead to high blood pressure and other lifestyle diseases.
Do you think this is good for your body? Absolutely not. So, what is the way out of this? Of course, there is no single mantra for us to alleviate ourselves from the situation we are in. However, a healthy lifestyle, which includes exercise, good food habits, and meditation can reduce the risks of stress.