Endocrinologist Hans Selye discovered similar patterns in both the human and animal reaction to stress. He found that there were three distinct stages of response. Ideally, after the stress has been dealt with there would be time to recover, relax and repair any physical, or mental damage. Unfortunately, evolution did not equip us with a mechanism that could cope with the constant pressures of life; we seem unable to switch off and relax, with dire and pathological consequences.
Stage 1: Alarm Reaction (AR)
- The alarm is triggered by danger, like a lion
- Mobilising defences (fight or flight) and immobilising defences (freeze or hide) are triggered
- Depending on the situation, appropriate defences are selected and we are primed for action
- This is a very primitive response to danger triggered deep within the brain, controlled unconsciously
- Physically, the body increases blood pressure; blood glucose and oxygenation in preparation
- Ideally the action taken is sufficient and the predator or threat leaves or is overcome
Stage 2: Stage of Resistance (SR)
- If the stressor does not go away (or you are still in a poor quality relationship/job) the resistance increases
- Your body needs extra energy to maintain the high alert
- The hyper-alert stage prevents quality sleep and lethargy is common place
- Hormones and energy reserves are used up while the immune system suffers, dis-ease takes hold
- Changes in metabolism and appetite drive weight-gain or weight-loss
- Adrenal glands specifically ‘burn out’ due to overproduction of cortisol
Stage 3: Stage of Exhaustion (SE)
- After months or even years of stress the body begins to collapse
- Unable to maintain the high-alert stage, tissues and energy are depleted
- Immune system is suppressed and the heart suffers from continued elevated blood pressure
- Mental exhaustion is combined with physical exhaustion, increasing risk of all diseases
Stress is called the silent killer as it gradually builds up over time. Evolutionary stress was a critical response to make us take action and provide enough energy to run away from a lion or other predator. Unfortunately most of our modern stressors are not so easy to run away from.
Jobs which are unfulfilling, lives which feel out of control and even more difficult to manage are the unconscious stressors lurking on our Screen, signalling stress all day long. iSwipe was developed to remove these sources of stress and allow the body to ‘stand-down’ from the emergency.