More people are affected by violence, crime and tragedy than ever before, it’s sad how many people are negatively affected by such things. In my mind, just as sad is that people are killing each other in this very city every single day without even saying a word to each other. You might think I’m crazy but hear me out.
The physiological effects of physical and emotional stress are well documented. In their most basic form they both create similar situations in our internal metabolic environment. A heightened sense of emotion will cause a similar dramatic hormonal cascade to that of a situation of danger requiring immediate physical response. The frequent over expression of these hormones leads to metabolic havoc. The effects of physical and emotional stress have now been linked to a variety of serious ailments: depression, anxiety, cardiovascular disease, HIV/AIDS and even cancer to name a few.
In our world today we are not only faced with more stress than ever but it’s my belief we’ve become so in tune with negative stressors we’ve become even more reactionary to them making stress and stress related disease an even more serious problem.
It seems in general as people we are constantly bombarded with negative influences. I call the news the “bad news”, each magazine cover represents something scandalous, we’re hooked on the emotional drama of reality TV and so on. You may have noticed in general it seems we’re bent on finding the flaw in any situation and pointing it out, we’re quick to anger, become frustrated and continually feel the need to criticize or react to other’s actions.
Here’s an example, this past weekend my wife and I were trying to head to the mall and then out of town for the day, she was driving. As we approached an intersection the turning light changed from green to yellow, she opted to continue rather than slamming on the brakes, just as she was about to enter the intersection to turn the light turned red and the through light turned green. She should have stopped, clearly that would have been the right choice, but I suspect many of us have been in a similar situation and made a similar choice. Someone in the through lane was immediately angered by the choice she made, horn blaring, fist (and maybe fingers) waving they made sure to let us know. Now as I mentioned, my wife made the wrong choice from a safe manner of operating a motor vehicle, however in terms of the situation there was no immediate danger. Everyone could easily see us, if she impeded anyone from carrying on with their journey it was for a fraction of a second, yet as people we’re quick to react, judge, and express anger. Now if you’re feeling or thinking that person in the through lane was justified in their action that’s fine I wouldn’t necessarily disagree, but I’d like to point out that the person most harmed in this situation was that same person in the through lane. Physiologically that short chain of events set about a dramatic chain of internal events.
Simply being angry causes adrenal hormones to surge, our fight or flight mechanism to react, our body to lurch into production beyond its normal capacity. When this pattern occurs frequently it leads to the physiological damages of stress, the over production of cortisol, the inability to sleep restfully, ultimately disease and quite possibly premature death.
Take a moment each day to look at life as a whole and ask yourself is it really worth being affected by the small things. Try to avoid criticizing others, being negative about things that don’t really matter, and make every effort not to become angry. Every time you avoid reacting to something small you are enhancing your own health and likely someone else’s, if we all kept this in mind we could eliminate this North American disease called stress.
Always here to help,