Published on April 12, 2010
Photographer: G Monkie (CC)
Unexpectedly hearing a loud noise when the room is quiet, you might feel a sudden rush of energy. This is the most basic form of stimulation, left over from your primal survival mechanism. Your body assumes the loud noise is a threat and prepares you for action by engaging the adrenal glands to draw more energy.
In reaction to the first onset of stimulation — a form of stress — we gain energy. We become more alert, our strength can increase and we have the ability to process information more quickly and react faster. Summoning its hormonal resources to momentarily improve strength and reaction time, the body would have likely improved its odds of getting out of a prehistoric bind. Early man would certainly have benefited from greater strength and quicker reaction time if confronted by a predatory animal.
Of course, we aren’t confronted with those types of threats today. But we face a host of modern-day ones that evoke the same hormonal response. Stress of any kind — be it too much work, family-related concerns, poor diet, breathing impure air, constantly having to be “on”, and not enough down time — put strain on the adrenal glands.