our heads. Unlike many people in Japan, most of us are not dealing with havingour houses destroyed by an earthquake and tsunami, being cold and hungry,dealing with health risks of radiation. But we are terrified that somethingunexpected
happen and we worry ourselves to death thinking about all the“what ifs.”Our bodies can’t distinguish between the stress response generated by araging lion or that of a road-raging motorist. It can’t even tell the differencebetween a possible physical threat and one that is triggered in our own minds.The neurotransmitters and hormones pour into our systems constantly. But wedon’t run. We don’t fight. We don’t do anything, but stew in our own juices.Here’s how Richard O’Connor, Ph.D., describes our situation in his book
Undoing Perpetual Stress: The Missing Connection Between Depression,Anxiety, and 21
We have to live with the fact that our nervous systems have not changedmuch for 160,000 years, since the first modern human appeared. We’re notwired for the kinds of stress we face today. There is an essential conflictbetween what our bodies and brains were naturally designed for and what lifemakes us put up with now:
The breakdown of the family and community.
The lack of meaningful work, of contact with nature, of natural sleep,physical intimacy, exercise.
The intrusion of ambiguous dangers like traffic jams, cell phones,mortgages, commercials, HMOs.