Merigian Studios


Mental Toughness

There seems to be much more pressure in our lives than is necessary. The effects of stress on the body are harsh and unmerciful. It appears that some young people are comfortable living in the hurricane; at the same time, they are fueling chaos and drama every chance they get.

One cannot avoid predatory stress. In the primal sense, predators are burglars, rapists, and those who force us to act against our will. Ten thousand years ago during the hunter-gatherer era of human existence, small bands of humans, eight to ten in number, roamed the countryside in search of food and shelter. They used primitive weapons for hunting and protection. Their biggest challenge was finding food and water. The second challenge was staying safe. The third challenge was recovering from infections. I am sure childbirth was difficult for females and risky.

When Homo Sapiens discovered the domestication of plants and animals, the entire course of humankind changed. Farming communities necessitated the invention of currency. The growth of communities required promulgation of societal rules from some authority, regardless of people’s choices: Might makes right. I suspect that smaller communities functioned tighter than larger ones. Rules morphed into laws; breaking the law necessitated punishment of some sort, in some cases, the severest punishment death.

Nature has a strong tendency to move toward chaos and away from order. I consider chaos to be behavior so unpredictable as to appear random, owing to high sensitivity to small changes in conditions. I have come to realize that chaos is a form of order identified by fractionated derivatives or fractals. The ripple effect from the proper stimulation can have immense consequences remote to the initial disturbance.

The patterns of health and human physiologic and cognitive function are fractal, not linear. We want everything to be linear and directly proportionate to degrees of change, but they are not and never will be. What about personal and professional relationships and emotion? Are they fractal? Linear?

The Gaia operates under iterations of the same source equations. Life unfolds and regresses similarly, regardless of the circumstances. How many times have we witnessed an action or a response to a conflict that was absolutely out of proportion to the situation? At my age, I have seen overreactions hundreds of times. Temper tantrums are frequent in toddlers who experience emotional flooding over some small conflict they are having with the environment. As children mature, most tend to find a way to control their emotions. Most mean greater than fifty percent. In today’s world, I watch disturbing behaviors every day, emotional tantrums for the smallest of conflicts. We, as a society, have lost our abilities to cope with change or proposed change, holding on to what once was and not looking forward to what it can be.

The preparation for our success in nature falls squarely on the teachings of boundaries by parents and mentors. In today's world, those who feel oppressed for some reason, also feel it is appropriate to oppress others, those who feel criticized believe that have the right to criticize openly and aggressively without consequence because they are sharing their feelings with whom they desire, typically the person who done them wrong.

In nature, quit is not an option; stop adapting to the environment and stop living. In business, managing people is much harder than maintaining one’s self. Behavioral patterns are predictable, but the “whys” behind the behavior most often remain unknown. When you think you have had it figured out; you realize you do not; usually, the challenge comes in the form of small or large catastrophe.

Change is always fractal; it has two distinct outcomes. It leads to growth or stagnation, advancement or regression, happiness or sadness, resourcefulness or desperation. Desperate times do not call for drastic measures. When the body changes from healthy to sick, over fifty percent or more of our cells are operating out of accord with health. The cells in our bodies have a great desire to survive. Therefore they will endure as long as they can under any circumstance. Unfortunately, they cannot maintain themselves in a waste-filled environment or under extreme hormone imbalance as a result of chronic, unrelenting episodic stress.

People have different tolerances to stress. The US armed forces have devised ways to discern who can take extreme stress over prolonged periods and who cannot. Special forces require men and woman to perform under severe conditions, sometimes with the hope of survival being nill. They fight to the end. Combat officer’s training is not for the faint of heart. Most military trainers desire recruits who are mentally strong over physically strong any day. Strength can be enhanced; mental toughness cannot.

There are hundreds of ways to evaluate a person’s intellect, creativity, communication style, love language, personality profile, and sense of community. One of the last frontiers in healthcare and one that could be considered the most important going forward is researching mental toughness and resilience under stress. Healing itself is stressful, during a time when an illness creates unremitting stress. Mental toughness, the ability to see through the emotional clouds of pain, suffering, loss, and mortality, cannot be measured nor ignored by a healthcare provider. Healing is change just like illness is change. Not everyone possesses the strength to change nor the overall will to survive. Some people surrender to and identify with their disease and become it; living to be the illness instead of healing to tell the story. It takes mental toughness to heal. Everyone is aware of an addict overcoming their addiction and reciting their story as well as created a drug abuse rehabilitation program. Unfortunately, one size doesn’t fit all. Mental toughness cannot be acquired; it is an innate quality that manifests itself during the dark side of the soul. It finds a way to express itself when “Thou has forsaken me.”

Take a moment to reflect on those people who have miraculously beaten cancer or heart disease. Perhaps an angel of mercy was sent by God to heal them, or maybe they possessed the mental toughness to overcome the illness in every cell of their body.

We will probably never know.


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