Monday, July 21, 2008

Stress-Is It Always A Bad Thing?

People talk about stress all the time, but it's hard to be sure what someone means by the word "stress". The dictionary offers several definitions, some of them quite neutral, such as "constraining force or influence", but the stress most people talk about is considered to be a negative factor.

Part of the problem is that we label it as negative, ("Nothing is good or bad, until thinking makes it so", I don't remember the source of that quote, but I believe it is often true.) Stress is sometimes a good thing, for example, muscles do not develop without being stressed, (as our astronauts have discovered, if you remove the stress of gravity, muscles become weaker, and even wither.)

Most of the time people talk about stress, they are thinking of psychological stress, rather than physical stress, but even in the psychological realm, stress is not necessarily bad. It can be a great motivator to change, or to accomplish a difficult task.

Stress becomes a problem when it is unremitting, and we have no way to diffuse it. (Although, this description is not necessarily accurate, it may appear that there is no way to diffuse the stress, but i think it is a matter of perception and personal choice. If you think your life is so much more stressful than I could imagine, and there is no way anyone could bear the stress you are presently, I suggest you read Victor Frankl's book about his concentration camp experience, Man's Search for Meaning. It will give you a new perspective.)

I don't usually get so philosophical here, this is after a blog about herbal remedies, but I wanted to offer a few thoughts about stress, as part of this series I am currently about sleeplessness, stress, anxiety and insomnia.

I will have some suggestions for herbal remedies in a few days, my next post will be some thoughts about anxiety.

The material presented in this blog is for informational use only and should in no way be used as a substitute for needed medical treatment. I am not a doctor, I do not diagnose or treat disease. If you need medical care, please consult the appropriate medical professional. And please discuss with your doctor if you are taking or planning to take any herbal preparations.

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