When was it Advantageous for our Ancestors to have Stress Slow Down their Metabolism? Is it helpful or harmful in our era?
Recently, IDEA Fit’s Home Page had an article that discussed a study about how stress causes the metabolism to slow down and results in fat storage and weight gain. Surprisingly, this is not new news. In fact, through Darwinism, our cavemen and cavewomen ancestors needed this physical ability to help them survive some of the harshest conditions. Do you know why? Is this now a case where there is no application for this particle physical adaptation or perhaps it can still help some people in our world survive or even your every day joe, in the right circumstances. Maybe, instead of labeling stress as “bad”, we need to learn how to better manage our stress with all the pressure of society and utilize stress at the right time. What are your thought? How do you manage your stress in healthy coping ways?
It seems to me that the concept of stress as we look at it goes back to Hans Selye, in the 1920s. He called it the ‘Syndrome of Just Being Sick’. For him stress was the response of the body to a demand to adapt to a change.
What I tell my yoga students often is that stress is not their enemy, nor is relaxation their savior. They balance each other. Without demands we would not build muscles, or run races, or learn new math problems, or walk on the moon, or build a solar car. But if you can never return to baseline (homeostasis) you will burn up.
I think it is like going into a workshop to build a bookshelf. You pick up and use a hammer and make your shelf. But if when you are done you cannot put it down you will have a rather difficult time washing your dishes…. or your hair.
Most people who study the stress response would say that the issue is that the mind/body mechanism, as it relates to stress developed in an age when most things that took us out of our baseline required a physical response, and so our bodies are adapted for such a response. That is why exercise is so important…. it helps reset.
Seems to me I did a blog post on yoga and stress a while back if anyone is interested.