Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.

~ Mark Twain ~

You Stress, I Stress. We All Stress With Distress!

January 30th, 2012 ~ Est. reading time: 1 min, 55 secs

Me feeling stressed? Are you kidding?

Give me one good reason why we should worry ourselves to jelly. Alright. Give me another then. Aha. Any more things to stress about? I see. Now I’m worried and feeling stressed too!

You’re right in thinking that there are a great many aspects of life to stress about. There are kids, couple hood, and calamities in your neighborhood and that’s just for starters. Stress is everywhere. So you better take a rest for a second and catch your breath.

Psychologists talk about stress a lot. It’s what they get paid to do. And yes, they stress too. Despite all the knowledge in the database about happy eustress (that’s the stress you feel when you’re pleasurably stressed), and old-fashioned distress, the latter is a hard one to handle, much less quit.

Originally the term stress was used to describe strain on things like steel and other material. But you can’t keep a good word down. Eventually stress jumped into psychological circles to take over from where strain left off (I guess strain couldn’t take it anymore and just snapped).

These days, stress is one of those catchall terms, meaning anything from anxiousness to emphasis. Don’t laugh, but I’m even feeling pressured talking about it.

Regardless of its origins and definitions we pretty much know how this stressing thing feels because it’s so common. Yet, if I asked, “Who wants to feel strained and under pressure?” the answer is surprising. Lots of us do! Otherwise, why would we get so fired up watching sport and playing it? Or taking up challenge that has our heart pounding, lungs bursting, and adrenalin spurting? Clearly, stress is okay, if it can come on our terms. Which could be as simple as getting the result we want.

Even the stress you feel at work is bearable, provided there’s enough payback. We will put up with an awful lot if it’s worth it. So we need to put stress in perspective. Not nice, pleasant, or even slightly like a picnic (unless, of course, you suffer from picnic stress); but sometimes chosen, and occasionally, necessary.

That gives a clue as to when you can expect stress will really bother you: when it’s unexpected and unnecessary. Like the time that guy barked at you at the carpark. Or when you got a surprise putdown from someone you never expected. At those times, your fight and flight hormones are powerful enough to blow your cool completely. Now that’s stress. When you feel yourself losing it, and the gauge is on red for meltdown, stress isn’t pretty.  But as my father used to say, “Stress? What stress? If you’re alive it’s okay. So worry about it when you’re dead.”




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