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There is a concept in biology known as “hormesis“, which describes the process of an organism becoming stronger when exposed to low levels of stressors. An example of this process would be taking tiny amounts of cobra venom over a long period of time so as to develop an immunity against cobra bites.

An Army study (the link to which is now broken, unfortunately) found evidence that the physiological damage from sustained stress can be mitigated by hormetic intervention. Via reader Retrophoebia,

Prolonged stress cripples the hippocampus, which is full of cortisol receptors and therefore highly responsive to stress signals. It particularly degrades executive function, motor skills and declarative memory processes. The excess cortisol of sustained stress degrades hippocampal plasticity (capacity for continuous alteration of neural pathways) and hippocampal dendritic morphology (disconnects neural networks by decreasing the number of apical dendrite branch points).

Prolonged stress causes real, deleterious physical effects.

Men who received the SIT [stress innoculation training] appraised stimulants as less stressful, displayed higher coping competence and had a reduced cortisol response compared with the control group. These findings suggest that stress inoculation training will attenuate soldiers’ combat stress response.

Stress inoculation training = hormesis. The men who received the training became better at withstanding higher levels of sustained stress. The mild pain of lower stresses made them stronger against greater stresses.

Retrophoebia asks the relevant question,

Think that has any Game applications? I do.

Agreed. The first thought is that “game hormesis” is accomplished by the simple act of making approaches. The more women with whom you interact, the easier each future interaction will become, and the better you’ll be able to brush off any rejections. And this matters, because occasionally you’ll have an interaction that goes wrong, and you’ll want your biosystems to be resilient so you can handle the stressful situation competently. You want your hippocampus working for you, not against you.

It also follows from the study that your newbie approaches should be with girls who meet your minimal attractiveness standards, but who aren’t much hotter than that. The key to extracting hormetic benefits is to introduce the inoculating stress in tiny amounts. A hard 10 is not a tiny amount of stress for most men. However, an easy-on-the-eyes 6 is a low level stress.So there is wisdom in the pickup artist injunction to start with less physically intimidating girls and build your way up to hitting on hotter babes.

A final thought is that men who have been hormetically inured to sociosexual stressors are more attractive to women. Chicks dig a man who exhibits grace under pressure. It’s why chicks drop shit tests like Walter White drops potential informants. A woman won’t know if you have the requisite grace unless she applies some pressure to coax it out of you. If you can withstand her onslaught, (whether by way of her transfixing beauty or her staggering psy ops), and parry with the measured self-assurance of a man who’s been through plenty of tense courtship situations before, then her regard and her desire for you will increase.


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