A sustained tolerance to stressors seems ever-expandable, as novel fears are confronted, explored, and conquered, although various factors and phenotypes maintain a baseline discomfort in certain situations, and it seems that no amount of exposure therapy will completely habituate them. In these people, I suspect a maladaptive psychology creates branching dysfunction, where cumulative pathological perceptions about oneself and the world stack upon each other until the whole individual is chronically poisoned with ghastly thoughts and sensations. It’s rare that I’ve seen this turn around, as it is usually accompanied by an ego that distrusts the possibility of its whole foundation being wrong.
The tolerance to stressors exists only insofar as chronic exposure is maintained to them, and resilience will atrophy with extended breaks from these stressors in the same way that we lose muscle mass from extended periods of sedentary behavior. Although, we now know that building up muscle mass permanently accumulates muscle nuclei to “remember” your physical gains despite any atrophy, so future mass will build easier (Gunderson, 2016; Schwartz, 2019), and so the same is true psychologically. The neural adaptations and “callusing of the mind” that we develop through conquering fears and challenges soften when not flexed, but remain dormant with the capability for reactivation, as I see it: electrolubricated, the brain being an electrochemical organ.
Biochemical illness (e.g. heavy metal poisoning, hypothyroidism, gut dysbiosis, malnutrition) can cripple one’s ability to perform as one should, and intensify negative reactions to stimuli, making what are mild hurdles for healthy people into monumental, or impossible, chasm leaps. This presents an additional challenge due to the unfortunate and false Cartesian conception of psychology as separate from biology, and of the state of the mind as separate from the overall state of the organism. Long overdue integration is slowly taking form under concepts like biopsychiatry or “functional medicine”, but these still rely on a reductive and mechanistic understanding of the human organism. The foundation must be reassessed, since everything that follows from rickety groundwork will be forever teetering. I like to think it’s possible from a widespread understanding of cosmopsychism: that existence itself is conscious, and so nothing can be mechanically separated as dead and living, but that all is alive and all effects all; our living awareness emerges from the awareness of the universe (Nagasawa and Wager, 2016; Shani, 2015). To take this grand understanding of life inward and apply it locally, we would formulate a new holistic, vitalistic perception of the organism, to understand the complex interplay of systems within systems, and the webs of communication and metabolism that the health of the organism hinges on.
As we reach an understanding of life progressively more congruent with scientific reality, we’ll be able to teach people integrative introspection and conscious awareness that includes their entire body, not only in the context of sensory awareness but of intuitive knowing of how each bodily system is potentially contributing to their state at any moment. When we can detect our problems from the inside out, aided by the accurate knowledge of life’s shapes and processes, we’ll be free to solve them. This will be a spark that can lead us towards Heaven on earth.
Gundersen, Kristian. “Muscle Memory and a New Cellular Model for Muscle Atrophy and Hypertrophy.” The Journal of Experimental Biology, vol. 219, no. 2, 2016, pp. 235–242., doi:10.1242/jeb.124495.
Nagasawa, Yujin, and Khai Wager. “Panpsychism and Priority Cosmopsychism.” Panpsychism, 2016, pp. 113–129., doi:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199359943.003.0005.
Schwartz, Lawrence M. “Skeletal Muscles Do Not Undergo Apoptosis During Either Atrophy or Programmed Cell Death-Revisiting the Myonuclear Domain Hypothesis.” Frontiers in Physiology, vol. 9, 2019, doi:10.3389/fphys.2018.01887.
Shani, Itay. “Cosmopsychism: A Holistic Approach to the Metaphysics of Experience.” Philosophical Papers, vol. 44, no. 3, 2015, pp. 389–437., doi:10.1080/05568641.2015.1106709.