Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Our Unstressed Ancestors

Recently I read one of those ubiquitous articles about how to deal with stress. Along the way the author made this statement: "Unlike our ancestors, we live with constant stress. Instead of occasional, acute demands followed by rest, we’re constantly over-worked, under-nourished, exposed to environmental toxins, worrying about others — with no let-up."

I'd guess most people read this sort of thing like I always have before, identifying with the common stressors and nodding my head. Yup. Our modern day lives are so much more stressful than those of our ancestors...

Oh, really? Is that why we are living longer than at any time except the days of Moses, Abraham and Noah?

Stress our ancestors didn't have? Are we talking those cavemen, hunter gatherer types the evolutionists always reference? For the sake of argument, let's say we are. They lived in the wild. They had to worry about injury, about animals eating them or their children at any moment, about finding enough food and water. Storms, floods, snakes, predators, no doctors. Heat, cold, disease with no vaccinations and no antibiotics. They worked constantly just to eat, and keep themselves clothed and sheltered. Former childhood ailments like whooping cough are nearly extinct in our day, yet killed many in years past. Death in childbirth was at 30% for the mothers back in the 1700s, let alone in the caveman days. And even in the 1700s, children often didn't live past three.

And this was less stressful than our lives... how?

Frankly I think we have it pretty easy. Most modern day stress is really the result of a way of thinking, not a saber-tooth tiger who just started feeding on our village....


(Hmmm. Was that a rant? Maybe not a full-fledged rant. Maybe only a mini-rant. But still, I think it might have been.)