An increasing problem in today's world is environmental stress. This is a type of stress caused by increasing pollution in air we breathe, the water we drink, and even in the sounds we hear. Though environmental stress seems to be simply a physical problem, it can actually alter the ways that our minds work. However, too much environmental stress can also cause physical problems that will ruin our health and lower life expectancy.
One of the most common, and most noticeable, types of environmental stress is air pollution. As factories churn out smoke and carcinogens, we are forced to breathe air that is filled with poisons. Whether we notice them or not, we cannot avoid them. Our lungs are constantly subjected to small particles that stick in the lung tissue and gasses that can find their way into our bloodstream. Obviously, this is not a good situation, because we cannot exactly afford to stop breathing.
As well, we are subjected to a whole variety of chemicals when we drink water. With all the chemicals that are used in farming, or sprayed on our lawns, or poured into our water supplies, the water we drink is filled with all sorts of poisons that are doing our bodies no good. Once again, we cannot afford to stop drinking water, but we do need to be aware that the water we are drinking contains a lot of things that we would not want in our bodies.
However, there is not much we can do to avoid this situation. Obviously, filtered water is superior to simple tap water, but even water filters cannot remove everything from our water. In fact, we do not want filters to remove all of the substances, as water contains many electrolytes that are essential to ensuring the proper functioning of our bodies. Even bottled water is not safe, as the water has to come from somewhere and that somewhere is usually either a stream or from the ground. Unfortunately, streams are filled with particulate matter and chemicals can soak into the ground. However, some water is simply taken from municipal water supplies and those are not safe either. Thus, this is a problem that needs to be faced in day-to-day life.
Unfortunately, these poisons do not only put stresses on our bodies, they put stresses on our minds as well. These physical forms of environmental stress put poisons into our brains as well, and can cause them to functions less effectively. Just as alcohol or drugs can affect the ways that our minds work, these subtle poisons are also seeping into our brains and causing mental changes. In fact, receiving too many of these poisons can slow down mental processes without our noticing the change. It will simply happen so slowly that we cannot notice the difference.
In addition, one of the most common causes of environmental stress is noise pollution. Anybody who lives in a large city is bombarded with a deluge of noise that can damage the ears, numb the senses, and cause a boatload of stress for our minds. With cars, busses, trains, factories, and people all screaming to be heard above the din filling the streets of the modern city. These pressures on our brains and our eardrums are enough to shut the mind down and send it into a cocoon of insensibility.
As well, simply being in a public place can cause us to have to deal with noise pollution. This is, of course, caused by the infamous "cell yell". Anywhere we go in public, we must deal with people yelling into their mobile phones. This is not only annoying, but it is a form of environmental pollution. Listening to someone yell at a phone causes our minds stress and, through that, causes our bodies stress. They are annoying, and annoyance is a form of stress. Thus, we find ourselves stressed by something that is simply a fact of modern life.
Environmental stress occurs to us every day and we should be aware that it is happening. Obviously, we cannot be aware of it all the time because to do so would probably cause us more stress just by simple worry. However, it is a fact of life while living in the modern world and we should have the presence of mind to know that environmental stress takes a toll on a body… and a mind.
By Trevor Dumbleton
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