We are modern humans but ill equipped to handle modern day problems

handle-modern-day-problems

On the one hand, the world is witnessing multiple revolutions, be it be technological, cultural or scientific. But I
believe, it’s the technological revolution that is having a maximum impact on our life. The way we live, think,
work, communicate and interact all are getting transformed. The world is becoming a better place to live in
many aspects. We are become healthier, wealthier, more educated, living longer and more comfortably.
However, on the other hand, our mind has not evolved to adapt itself to the modern age. We are facing many
mental and psychological challenges. Today the widespread mental stress, psychological distress, loneliness,
boredom, mental illness like depression and anxiety all effect our lives in a huge way. As a result, there is
noticeable increase in mental suffering, aggression, anger and unhappiness amongst masses. The basic
reason behind these mental challenges is that human mind is not equipped to handle modern day problems.
All around us are the signs of a society under stress. Mental stress is fast becoming endemic in the modern
world. Many of life’s situations may trigger a stress response in the body, problems such as unfriendly to
hostile working conditions, overload of work, financial difficulties and relationship problems within one’s family
or with a boss or colleagues. The majority of us do suffer from mental stress; however, its severity varies from
individual to individual.
Stress causes a wide range of physical changes in the body. It generally increases heart rate and may
accelerate or depress breathing. Stress itself is not an illness, but if left unchecked, it can contribute to major
health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. Chronic stress not only
weakens the immune system but also increases the risk of developing depression and anxiety. Under stressful
conditions, the mind also becomes agitated and thoughts may become obsessive triggering a cascade of
hormones, including stress hormone — i.e., cortisol. It’s secreted by the adrenal gland situated above the
kidneys. Increased levels of cortisol in the blood contribute to serious health problems, such as heart disease,
high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and other illnesses, as well as mental disorders like depression and
anxiety.
Despite our best efforts, we can’t avoid troubling situations in life. What happens in our external world is not in
our control. The real problem however begins later when we get bogged down by negative thoughts. One of
the biggest challenges we face in our life is to control those thoughts. Unless we know how to manage our
negative thoughts, it could well turn out to catastrophic from health point of view.
Mental illnesses like depression, anxiety, or attention deficit disorder invariably start with our inability to
manage toxic and distressing thoughts. Nearly 15% people in India suffer from different kinds of mental
disorders. Many of them don’t seek professional help, because they are ignorant of the fact that they need
medical help/therapy for their illness. Depression, one of the most prominent mental problem prevalent
worldwide pushes lakhs of sufferers to end their lives. We all are potentially vulnerable to experience
adversities that can lead to emotional and psychological turmoil in our life.
As we have seen our mind is highly fragile, sensitive and vulnerable to troubling times. It becomes a real
challenge to manage our thoughts. Let’s examine how our mind acts the way it does. We humans are one of
the first to have evolved across the African savannah around 2.5 million years ago. Life at that time was very
short and fragile. Living conditions were extremely dangerous for those primitive humans. They were called
hunter-gatherers because they hunted wild animals and gathered wild plants. They lived in small, nomadic
bands of a few dozen individuals who scrounged for whatever food they could find. There was scarcity of food,
clothing, and shelter.
They were constantly under threat from predators, harsh weather conditions, and impending natural disasters.
They therefore relied heavily on their instincts, which helped them survive extremely adverse conditions. In
this way, our ancestors spent well over 99% of our species’ evolutionary history living as hunter-gatherers.
Our ancestors, were not only fearful all the time but also were to be aggressive. They were fearful because of
their hostile environment. They were to be aggressive due to limited resources available for their survival.

Violent conflicts among themselves led to aggression. It is therefore believed that because of their extremely
vulnerable existence, fear and aggression got imbedded in their collective psyche – and ours.
The ubiquitous kind of fear that hunter-gatherers experienced is completely unknown in our contemporary
world. But since fear is so deeply embedded in our psyche, our behaviour and actions are often triggered by
imaginary fear, working behind the conscious mind. Modern humans may suffer from anxiety, a negative
emotional state triggered by the presence of threat that may be real or imaginary. For example, many students
who take exams suffer from anxiety because of an anticipated threat of failure. Likewise, many people suffer
from social anxiety because of an underlying fear of being socially awkward or ‘weak’, and consequently,
disliked. Although not in a social setting, a young executive who has to make her maiden presentation in front
of other executives may also suffer from social anxiety manifesting as extreme self-consciousness.
Though our living conditions have been changed completely but our brain has been not been adapted to new
emerging environment. Every real and imaginary threat is perceived as if we are hunter gatherers. We are
fearful because it’s deeply embedded in our unconscious mind. But why our mind still works like that of hunter
gatherer. The reason is that human evolution has always been an extremely slow process. Modernity – just a
blip on the evolutionary timeline — has not given our brains a long enough time to adapt to our modern lifestyle.
Even relatively simple changes in the human body can take tens of thousands of years. Our minds, therefore,
have not sufficiently evolved to solve the problems that are typical of our modern times. Though our brain is
much more efficient than the best supercomputer ever made, they’re ill-suited for handling the mental stress,
anxiety, loneliness, and depression. Indeed, though the world has progressed tremendously due to scientific
and technological revolutions but our minds have not been proportionately evolved. Some very rightly say that
we are Stone Age thinkers living in modern times. However, there is good news as well. We are fully capable
of making our mind fit and healthy so that these modern age challenges can be managed and handled
efficiently.

We are modern humans but ill equipped to handle modern day problems

On the one hand, the world is witnessing multiple revolutions in various areas, out of which technological
revolution is having a maximum impact on our life. The way we live, think, work, communicate and interact are
getting transformed. The world is becoming a better place to live in many respects. We are become healthier,
wealthier, more educated, living longer and more comfortably. However, on the other hand, our mind has not
evolved to adapt itself to the modern age. We are facing many mental and psychological challenges. There is
widespread mental stress, psychological distress, loneliness, boredom, mental illness like depression and
anxiety. As a result, there is noticeable increase in mental suffering, aggression, anger and unhappiness
among masses. The basic reason behind these mental challenges is that human mind is not equipped to
handle modern day problems.
All around us are the signs of a society under stress. Mental stress is fast becoming endemic in the modern
world. Many of life’s situations may trigger a stress response in the body, problems such as unfriendly to
hostile working conditions, overload of work, financial difficulties and relationship problems within one’s family
or with a boss or colleagues. The majority of us do suffer from mental stress; however, its severity varies from
individual to individual.
Stress causes a wide range of physical changes in the body. It generally increases heart rate and may
accelerate or depress breathing. Stress itself is not an illness, but if left unchecked, it can contribute to major
health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. Chronic stress not only
weakens the immune system but also increases the risk of developing depression and anxiety. Under stressful
conditions, the mind also becomes agitated and thoughts may become obsessive triggering a cascade of

hormones, including stress hormone — i.e., cortisol. It’s secreted by the adrenal gland situated above the
kidneys. Increased levels of cortisol in the blood contribute to serious health problems, such as heart disease,
high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and other illnesses, as well as mental disorders like depression and
anxiety.
Despite doing our best, we can’t avoid troubling situations in life. What happens in our external world is not in
our control. The real problem however begins later when we get distressed with negative thoughts. One of the
biggest challenges we face in our life is to control those thoughts. When we experience continuous
bombardment of negative thoughts, unless we know how to manage them, they can potentially lead to mental
health problems.
Mental illnesses like depression, anxiety, or attention deficit disorder invariably start with our inability to
manage toxic and distressing thoughts. Nearly 15% people in India suffer from different kinds of mental
disorders. Many of them don’t seek professional help, because they are ignorant of the fact that they need
medical help/therapy for their illness. Depression, one of the most prominent mental problem prevalent
worldwide pushes lakhs of sufferers to end their lives. We all are potentially vulnerable to experience
adversities that can lead to emotional and psychological turmoil in our life.
As we have seen our mind is highly fragile, sensitive and vulnerable to troubling times. It becomes a real
challenge to manage our thoughts. Let’s examine how our mind acts the way it does. We humans very likely
first evolved across the African savannah around 2.5 million years ago. Life at that time was very short and
fragile. Living conditions were extremely dangerous for those primitive humans. They were called hunter-
gatherers because they hunted wild animals and gathered wild plants. They lived in small, nomadic bands of a
few dozen individuals who scrounged for whatever food they could find. There was scarcity of food, clothing,
and shelter.
They were constantly under threat from predators, harsh weather conditions, and impending natural disasters.
They therefore relied heavily on their instincts, which helped them survive extremely adverse conditions. In
this way, our ancestors spent well over 99% of our species’ evolutionary history living as hunter-gatherers.
Our ancestors, were not only fearful all the time but also were to be aggressive. They were fearful because of
their hostile environment. They were to be aggressive due to limited resources available for their survival.
Violent conflicts among themselves led to aggression. It is therefore believed that because of their extremely
vulnerable existence, fear and aggression got imbedded in their collective psyche – and ours.
The ubiquitous kind of fear that hunter-gatherers experienced is completely unknown in our contemporary
world. But since fear is so deeply embedded in our psyche, our behaviour and actions are often triggered by
imaginary fear, working behind the conscious mind. Modern humans may suffer from anxiety, a negative
emotional state triggered by the presence of threat that may be real or imaginary. For example, many students
who take exams suffer from anxiety because of an anticipated threat of failure. Likewise, many people suffer
from social anxiety because of an underlying fear of being socially awkward or ‘weak’, and consequently,
disliked. Although not in a social setting, a young executive who has to make her maiden presentation before
other executives may also suffer from social anxiety manifesting as extreme self-consciousness.
Though our living conditions have been changed completely but our brain has been not been adapted to new
emerging environment. Every real and imaginary threat is perceived as if we are hunter gatherers. We are
fearful because it’s deeply embedded in our unconscious mind. But why our mind still works like that of hunter
gatherer. The reason is that human evolution has always been an extremely slow process. Modernity – just a
blip on the evolutionary timeline — has not given our brains a long enough time to adapt to our modern lifestyle.
Even relatively simple changes in the human body can take tens of thousands of years. Our minds, therefore,
have not sufficiently evolved to solve the problems that are typical of our modern times. Though our brains are
far “brainier” and more efficient than the best supercomputer ever made, they’re ill-suited for handling the
mental stress, anxiety, loneliness, and depression of modern times. Indeed, though the world has progressed
tremendously due to scientific and technological revolutions but our minds have not been proportionately

evolved. Some very rightly say that we are Stone Age thinkers living in modern times. However, there is good
news as well. We are fully capable of making our mind fit and healthy so that these modern age challenges
can be managed and handled efficiently.

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