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Word Count: 1,369
Roots of Forgiveness The fact that human beings have become and remain the dominant life forms on this planet rests not solely on the fact that we possess a larger more complex brain but on those higher cognitive functions which that brain provides One of the most distinguishing of these is forgiveness an act that is virtually non-existent among other animals The act of forgiveness can be explained using many psychological theories ranging from psychoevolutionary to cognitive to social-learning However before any explanation can be given it is necessary to describe those events prior to forgiveness If youre in the position to forgive or not forgive a person that person has undoubtedly caused you distress in some specific manner Distress is described as a negative response to stress while stress is regarded as a set of neurophysiological reactions that exist to serve an adaptive purpose The work of Hans Selye provided the base for many of todays theories regarding stress Selye described a three-stage General Adaptation Syndrome GAS to illustrate the bodys response to stressors In the initial stage of alarm the body recognizes the stressor and gathers resources to assist in a fight or flight situation In this stage the first neurophysiological reaction experienced is the Sympathetic Adrenal Response During this response the adrenal medulla secretes epinephrine also known as adrenaline increasing heart rate oxygen consumption and glycogen mobilization while the spleen secretes red blood cells further oxygenating the blood the thyroid secretes hormones to assist in metabolism Noticeable physiological responses also occur in this first stage to further prepare the body for flight or flight Platelets increase in the bloodstream to promote coagulation of blood should injury occur perspiration cools the body and the muscles tighten to protect vital organs and defend the body or flee the scene if necessary The second stage deals with resistance as the body prepares for possible long-term endurance of the affecting stressor During this stage the
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