This event took place on 14 March 2020 and was our first Gentle Thinker Insight talk, a new series of talks inviting people with curious minds and rigorous research to share with us a slice of their wisdom. If you would like to be our next Insight speaker, I’d love to hear from you! You can find me here: hello [at] gentlethinkers.org
“Stress”, or “the silent killer” as many medical scientists call it, is a common phenomenon that many, if not all of us, face almost on a daily basis. It has become somewhat of a catch-all for that feeling of overwhelm when life throws at us more mental, physical or emotional challenges than we feel ready for. Even though “stress” is not officially a medical condition at present, countries around the world spend billions of dollars to compensate for its damage. In Germany alone, the direct and indirect costs of workplace stress amounted to €29.2 billion annually1.
In the past few years, “stress” has also become a greater concern globally. According to the Global Organization for Stress: 80% of people feel a moderate to a high level of stress at work; stress is the number one health concern of high school students; 91% of Australians feel stressed about one or more important parts of their life; and about 450,000 workers in Britain believe their stress is making them ill.
These figures present us with more questions. Why is this happening? How is this affecting not only individuals, but entire countries and healthcare systems? However, before asking why, we will first, ask what stress actually is. How does it work in the body? And how does it turn from a normal survival mechanism to a monster that can eat us alive?
For this “stress-free” conversation, we are inviting Doaa Alsayed, a researcher, nutritionist and fellow Gentle Thinker, to share with us her insights into the anatomy of stress, how it works and how it affects our biology, brain health, emotions, and even inspires some interesting decision-making in our lives – from simple food choices (like emotional eating) to more consequential, perhaps even career limiting, moves. Then we’ll see how the science can help us to bio-hack this familiar yet sometimes poorly understood phenomenon.