Evolution is an amazing state of human processes and progress. We have evolved into conscious "beings" that are aware of our inner selves, have a sense of right and wrong, have complex brain capabilities, language and communication skills.

Yes, despite all of our advancements stress is a by-product of our ancestors and our nervous system and stress response can be traced back to prehistoric cavemen.

Just imagine a cavemen sitting near a small fire in the comfort of his cave after a difficult day hunting. Suddenly, without any warning, in the shadows of his cave he spots a sabre-toothed tiger. His body reacts immediately to the stress of the situation, and has two options for survival to either stay and fight or run. Whatever he chooses will be fundamental to his survival. It is completely natural for his body to respond in that way otherwise he would not survive.

The automatic nervous system prepared the caveman for fight or flight and this impacts the body in various ways:

Digestion slows down and breathing increases. The heart beats faster to allow blood to be directed to muscles and the brain where they need it most as it is important to be alert and strong in the face of danger. Sometimes this may come across as a feeling of "butterflies" in the stomach, breathing becomes swallow and rapid and the heart starts to beat faster.

The caveman's whole existence was connected to many life threatening situations and in order to survive the fight or flight response was his life line. In that split second he had a choice of either staying and fighting or using the energy flowing in his body to flee. The stress response had a purpose.

So how does this impact us in our modern lifestyles and society?

We have the same automatic stress response as the caveman, but unlike the caveman most of us are seldom faced with life threatening situations.

When we have to deal with our stresses such as bosses, work load, money worries, running late, family issues, job security, exams etc our bodies unconsciously experiences these as threats and begins to prepare and brace ourselves against an attack.

This ultimately causes conflict as we try to contain the nervous reactions, stop or ignore the energy because we know consciously that the threat is not usually a life threatening situation. So the body responds even more strongly because it's trying to warn us but we are refusing to listen.

We know consciously that these are not life threatening situations however sometimes our bodies react on an unconscious level as if they were which is why we experience stress in our lives.

Next time you feel stressed acknowledged the feeling and response and gently say "I am okay despite what is happening around me". Perhaps you may notice the stress reducing or feeling calmer.

Author's Bio: 

Linda Connors at the Art of Living Therapy Centre is a Stress Management Hypnotherapist combing counselling, hypnosis, coaching, mindfulness and EFT.

Linda has six years experience a London Hypnotherapist and counsellor and is passionate about helping people to find and discover their own innate unique understanding and inner resources to understand and experience life on a new deeper level.

Appointments are available in Harley Street in London and Hampstead in North West London or via skype.