Dynamic Interactive AdaptabilityYour guide to promoting growth, resilience, and wellness in turbulent times

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Lack of stress is harmful to human systems

Another valuable insight gained from systems thinking is that the human is an active being that grows and thrives by solving problems (Lambert, 2008), not by avoiding them. Contemporary stress tactics tend to consider environmental factors as annoyances and threats that need fixing, reduced, or eliminated so that the human can achieve a stress-free state before the stressor causes the system irreparable damage.

The systems theory perspective exposes that efforts to reduce or eliminate stress are not only wrong; they may also be exacerbating the problem. Rather than seeing stress as a negative force, systems theory reinvigorates the ancient wisdom by seeing stress as a vital catalyst for growth and survival for individuals, organizations, and societies.

Systems theory recognizes that the lack of stress, a state of equilibrium, means death to a biological system. Excessive and prolonged stress can harm an organism; however, system tension is necessary for the system to grow and develop. Removing stress from a human system is “apt to produce insufferable anxiety, hallucinations, and other psychosis-like symptoms” in individuals and societies (Bertalanffy, 1972).

Fritjof Capra (1996) applied systems thinking to the earth system, saying that times of extreme stress on the environment serve as catalysts for the evolution of the planet and its interacting biological and physiological components. For example, a meteor may have wiped out the dinosaurs, but catalyzed an explosion of animal and plant species; creating an environment conducive to human existence.

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