The MBD Podcast #007: Healthy and Pathological Stress

The MBD Podcast #007 can be listened to HERE on PODBEAN ;-)

By now, most people understand that Stress is an integral part of our modern daily life! In fact stress has been a part of human life since the beginning of time. It is an integral part of living, and being a part of the biological, physical world.

From the moment of conception, throughout all of our lifetime, we are experiencing a ‘push-pull’ and ‘expanding-opening’ process and a ‘contracting-closing’ process. This is the Yin-Yang, duality nature of life.

Everything is, in effect a duality. Everything we see and understand and experience in this lifetime is a version of / exists on the spectrum of duality.

These experiences are not separate, they are not complete opposites. But they are different perspectives on a continuum, which is actually a cycle of experience that moves seamlessly from one experience to another.

So a way of thinking about that is the way we experience a 24 hour period. We move through a whole daytime, and through that daytime we experience a morning, an afternoon and an evening.

Inside of that daytime we are able to comprehend and allow our mind to think of different periods of the day. To be able to place ourselves in a memory, or an aspect of our experience that reminds us of what it is to be awake in the morning, of what it is to experience an afternoon, and to experience an evening.

Everyday we awaken to re-experience this ‘truth’ of life, which is that we do not remain in any way ‘still’.

Experiencing Moments of Time

Time is the aspect that measures our individual units of experience. But in the same way that we blink between each moment of a scene before us - our blinking divides up moment os how we are seeing things, and yet that experience of looking and seeing the scene before us is a continual experience for us - even though in reality it is divided by many blinks per minute. We may be moving our head to survey different directions, we may be observing different perspective. But our experience of ourself as being in ‘time-space’ in our reality - is an experience of a continual singular flow of experience.

We don’t have to try to think about how we put those images between blinks together, we don’t need to think about how we have moved between different perspectives (unlike the editing of a real of film in an old cinema cutting room)!

Our experience of life is consistent, it flows from one moment to the other. Even though in reality, we can also look at that and see that it is made up of lots of individual units, which might be thought of as individual aspects or moments of the flow of experience.

Therefore when we move through this 24 hour period, we unconsciously move in this flow, which takes us through from each aspect of the day, into the next part.

This ‘flow’ of time is a truth for us - we don’t have to think of each moment of the day as being opposing, or opposite another part of the day.

If we are in flow - in the way that we think that our ancestors used to be - without artificial lighting or heating, when we had to move through the natural flow of the day, then we are in flow with nature.…

Our bodies have been built (or evolved) to be in this close ‘cycle’ with nature. With light and dark. With warmth and cold.

Therefore our experiences of life are affected by these external influences we move through on a daily cycle.

Stress as the ‘natural’ Impetus for Action

Stress has always been a part of the cycle of life!

Form the moment that we open our eyes - there is an aspect of stress which lies behind the ‘impetus’ for us to get up and move through our day.

The rise in cortisol and the adrenal hormones which flood the body with the hormonal signals which wake the body up in the morning - tell it to move, tell it to act!

This is part of the circadian rhythm. It is part of our natural human ‘connection’ to the dawn, which is heralded by the change in light, the change in ions in the air, these are all powerful and unseen signals that our bodies have been interpreting and understanding for many years.

And these signals, when we are connected into that innate flow and connection to our environment, these signals can begin these cascades of chemicals and will initiate the impetus - the signals ‘to move’, ‘to live’. To expand from a place of rest, introversion and stillness - and to wake and move out into the world and to experience that world by moving out - through exploration, through doing, through activity, through interactions with our families and our social life and in our work environment. Whatever it is that is motivating us to get up and get out and on with our day.

Stress as the ‘fight & flight’ Impetus for Action

We understand these hormones as “stress” hormones precisely because they do initiate action within the body. But of course, often in modern language when we talk about stress, the over-riding idea that is being focused on is a ‘negative’ stress. The approaching tiger scenario that initiates the “fight and flight” response that is part of this inbuilt survival mechanism. It is integral to keeping us alive. Going back to the cave scenario - and the connection with the circadian rhythm and the initiation of those impulses to get up and out and to initiate activity were important in terms of ‘safety’. To defend the family from animals or other tribes that might c