Primitive man lived an uninhibited life. There was no guilt, embarrassment, shame, obligation or religious conditioning. Like an animal without any inhibition, he was free to shout and express aggression, anguish, elation and his ecstasy. Also depending upon size and capability of his enemy he chose to run (flight) or fight. As he evolved he started using plants and animal skin to cover his nakedness and started living in groups. All this brought inhibition, competition and leadership issues. Over period of time social systems evolved and many things became socially unacceptable and this gave birth to anxieties.

Despite all evolution the basic instinct of flight or fight remained. Whenever there is threat perception it triggers the body’s stress response system releasing stress hormones like adrenaline. This brings physiological changes like faster heartbeat and rise in blood pressure, also muscles tighten, the breath quickens and senses become sharper the response time quickens. All this happens to help prepare us to fight danger at hand or flee to safety. When the threat recedes the parasympathetic nervous system elicits relaxation response and we enter a state where we lose will to fight, our knees buckle down and we sit or lie down.

In addition to flight and fight mechanism we also developed tolerance and learned to suppress our emotions, hide fears and shame for better social acceptance. This suppression of emotions causes increased anxiety, apprehension and fear of unknown and there is built up pressure inside. People when are unable to find a way to manage this pressure this results in increased anxiety. Over a period of time this takes toll on the hormone releasing endocrine glands: the hypothalamus, the pituitary and the adrenal gland. After a while, this has an effect on the body that contributes to the health problems as these glands (called HPA axis) also regulate many body processes, including digestion, the immune system, mood and emotions and sexuality etc.

With the present day lifestyle and the environment presenting more and more challenges the body and conscious and subconscious mind are in constant state of stress due to perceived or tangible threat to ego, social standing, possessions and relationships etc. Some stress (eustress) is good for growth but if we are unable to manage this stress then it turns to distress. If situation is not managed for long time it results in exhaustion of immune system causing different psychosomatic ailments.