This book does not just discuss stress and its impact on the human body. Here is the author’s definition:” This book was written to emphasize the following paradox: stress protects under acute conditions, but when activated chronically it can cause damage and accelerate disease. In our more jaded moments we view being stressed out as the normal, even inevitable, consequence of life in a fast-paced world. But although stress in the sense of challenging events is inevitable to some degree, being stressed out is not. It is not inevitable or normal for the very system designed to protect us to become a threat in itself.”
The basis of the discussion contains two crucial notions:
- Homeostasis is often described as an organism’s need to maintain a steady internal state.
- Allostasis is produced by a swift and intricately organized system of communication. It links the brain, which perceives a novel or threatening situation; the endocrine system (chiefly the adrenal glands), which is primarily responsible for mobilizing the rest of the body); and the immune system for internal defense. Allostasis is often thought of as the fight-or-flight response because, taken to the extreme, it prepares for just those two eventualities. The main idea is to get maximum energy to those parts of the body that need it the most.
The author points out that stress is a very beneficial adaptive process when it is brief and used to support the “flight or fight” process, but when it is long-lasting and cannot be resolved quickly, it produces a strong negative effect on the human body. The author calls it the “Allostatic Load” and describes its workings and impact in detail.
MY TAKE ON IT:
I think it is a valuable review of stress-related processes in the human body and that everybody who cares about the good functioning of their body could use the provided information to ensure such good functioning.