THE MORNING SHOW
Mary Wingo, Ph.D.
The Impact of the Human Stress Response
Mary Wingo was born in the United States where she earned a Ph.D. in human stress research from The University of North Texas. In 2014, She emigrated to Ecuador, a tiny country in South America. Living in a new and very different society opened her eyes to the unsustainable social, economic, and political costs preventable stress causes in the modern world. Dr. Wingo’s aim is to clearly explain to the public the biological mechanisms behind the stress response, as well as its staggering costs to society.
Her specialty is physiology, and specifically, the human physiological stress response. One thing that seems to escape many analysts and political leaders is the staggering costs of stress in modern society within the psychological, social, political, and economic sectors. In her analysis, preventable human stress leads to (many, many) millions of unnecessary deaths every year.
-Stress response is a cascade of mechanisms that operate in concert together. The purpose is to allow us to adapt – a set of adaptive mechanisms. Stress is the rate of adjustment we undergo in order to adapt to our environments. It’s not all personal response – the environment can influence demands such that we can’t meet them. E.g. environmental stress of Fukishima.
-The US is not progressive anymore – our culture has changed. Failing health care system.
-5 Causes of Stress:
1) Being overscheduled, overmultitasked, and overbusy stresses our frontal lobes. Stressful days send self-control out the window. Emotional regulation needs to be taken care of and not overtaxed. Stress that causes failure of the frontal lobe to regulate is the cause of mental illness.
2) Living in an unequal society – the poor don’t have adequate healthcare, good housing, or good jobs. When we adapt to stress, our tissues do a phase shift and become more malleable to fit the environment. When you’re at the bottom, you’re always having to adjust. Cells are more plastic and become vulnerable to disease. Fat cats have minions to take care their stress.
3) Loss of social capital – our engagement with each other. Social capital is a non-robust, fragile form of commerce. Relationships, doing favors, is the original human economy. We’ve replaced social capital with financial capital. More vulnerable when there’s no herd to protect you.
4) Derangement and loss of human biome. These critters have evolved to take over a large part of our physiological function and cellular and human signaling. We go into a stress response trying to make up for lost function.
5)) Chemical stress, GMO and processed food. We haven’t evolved enzymes to break down these compounds. Stress response from trying to adapt.
-Risk assessment – make a list of all stressors and then eliminate them. There is a limit in adaptability.
-Differences in lifestyle in South America vs. US, especially in the use of indigenous medicine.
-Dr. Hans Selye looked at effects of various diseases on people and saw the same muscle wasting. It all culminates in the same stress response, whatever the cause. Same mechanisms.
-Effect of medications on frontal lobe function leaves people handicapped. Protect your frontal lobe like it’s your child.
-Henry David Thoreau simplified his life, found he had less stress. Saw his compatriots working themselves to death. Keeping your living system as simple as possible will directly affect your cortisol levels.
-When under stress, fluids rearrange in our tissues, changes our morphology, and we lose function. Messes up our fluid dynamics, our body state becomes hard and stagnated. Causes inflammation and leads to an exhaustion state.
mary wingo phd and stress and our response and reactions, september 22, 2016