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Is Stress Really Harmful?

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 0 3

stressed
For a very long time we have heard various experts and sources say that the main cause of illness today is stress[1]. A variety of conditions and negative effects, from hypothyroidism, headaches, hair loss, acne, high blood pressure to fibromyalgia, cystic fibrosis, migraines, heartburn, insomnia, angina, and countless other symptoms and ailments have all been linked to stress[2].

It seems as though the overwhelming evidence would have it that stress causes everything. However, is stress really as harmful as it has been made out to look? Can the vast majority of our diseases really be linked to stress, or have we just been conditioned to think that way? Is it possible that experts have been pulling a veil over our eyes, or they've just been misinformed?

Consider the following.

You Can't Completely Eliminate Stress

Life coach Devlyn Steele astutely points out that stress is unavoidable. The very idea that you can live stress-free is a little ridiculous when you really think about it. The very act of trying to get rid of all of your stress could cause more stress[3].

Steele suggests that the world is a stressful place by nature. Just as soon as you get out of the shower, you have to run off to work. Then once you are at work, you have deadlines to meet and tasks to complete. When you're finally finished at work, you have to deal with rush hour traffic on the way home. And that's a typical day in the life of most office workers.

Moreover, if you're excited about something, despite the fact that it feels like a positive emotion, it is a form of stress. If you're caught off guard or surprised by an occurrence then that also results in stress. Fear is a form of stress. The idea that stress can be purged from your life is a sham.

The "Facts" Keep Changing

stress
Is it particularly hard to believe that mainstream news sources lie to you? The truth of the matter is that most journalists are only looking for good stories, and they readily admit to this fact. When you hear about an "overnight" music sensation, for example, realize that it's far more likely that it's been at least 10 years in the making.

What would news sources have to gain from lying to us? Our readership, of course. Reality isn't always as interesting as an exaggerated reality. Rarely if ever are tabloids based in objective truth. From that standpoint, it is definitely plausible that stress isn't as harmful as we've been trained to think (it just keeps getting repeated over and over).

There was a time when margarine was good for you, remember that? Craziness. Oh, but wait. We used to think smoking was good for you too. Ever hear a story about some guy who smoked heavily throughout his life and lived to be 90 anyway? How about this one; Thomas Edison was not the inventor of the light bulb (he just improved on it). He was good at taking other people's ideas and making them better; kind of like Gates or Jobs or Aerosmith.

You know, we really shouldn't be surprised by these kinds of things. The "facts" keep changing. Facts are not facts at all.  Everything is cancer producing but everything is simultaneously a cancer cure. It's a whole lot of nonsense. What you believe, whether negative or positive, has a way of playing out in the filed of life.

Why Stress Is Actually Good For You

Stress may actually help you to perform better[4]. When under pressure, people do amazing things. They rescue people from fires, solve difficult math problems, and pull off seemingly impossible human feats. When you recognize the source of stress, you can act on it instead of waiting for it to grow out of control.

As was mentioned earlier, positive stress is the type of stress you feel when you're excited; when you're on a first date, riding a roller coaster, performing in front of an audience, etc. It doesn't change the fact that it's a form of stress, but it helps us feel alive.

Is there negative stress? Yes, it can't be denied. Negative stress could have undesirable effects on your body and your health. However, the rumors that stress is the root of all disease and that it should be avoided at all costs may have been exaggerated a little.

What matters is the eight inches between your ears; your brain. How do you handle the situations that arise in life? What is your response to stress? Do you think it's going to harm you, or do you believe it won't have any lasting effect?

Remember; we've been taught to believe that stress is bad. It's really what you do with it that matters.

Comments

Nov 6, 2013 3:30am
brendamariefl
Stress is linked to high blood pressure. So, yes, in fact it can cause health problems.
Nov 6, 2013 3:30am
brendamariefl
Stress is linked to high blood pressure. So, yes, in fact it can cause health problems.
Nov 6, 2013 7:54am
arcticsunburn
Thanks for your comment. That's not really the point of this article. At the beginning I established that stress is linked to practically every illness under the sun. As it has been so deeply ingrained in our culture, we're prone to thinking that way.
Nov 6, 2013 7:55am
arcticsunburn
This comment has been deleted.
Nov 6, 2013 7:55am
arcticsunburn
This comment has been deleted.
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Bibliography

  1. Louisa Peacock "Stress overtakes cancer as main cause of sickness absence." Telegraph. 5/10/201. 1/11/2013 <Web >
  2. "Stress Related Diseases & Conditions." MedicineNet. 1/11/2013 <Web >
  3. Devlyn Steele "Stress isn't a bad thing." Tools To Life. 1/11/2013 <Web >
  4. Elizabeth Scott, M.S. "What Kind Of Stress Is Good For You." About.com. 30/10/2012. 1/11/2013 <Web >

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