Mental Mechanics: Don’t Stress Over Stress
Stress is a term we all know well.
It is also a term that has been twisted, tortured and bent to take on many forms over the years.
Originally coming from centuries of use in the world of Physics. It was used to explain elasticity, or the property of a material to resume its original shape and size after being influenced by an external force.
Dr. Hans Selye used the term to fill a void in the literature to describe the pathologic changes that occurred in laboratory animals that were exposed to acute stimuli. He later demonstrated that persistent “stress” could cause long-term disease development. His work drew significant attention and “stress” became a buzzword in multiple fields. The problem was that the usage all but ignored his original definition and intent.
Because most individuals were using the term to describe disagreeable threats, Dr. Selye introduced a new term, “stressor,” to differentiate between stimulus and response.
Over the years we have continued to be socialized in understanding stress as being negative. Other terms have emerged to describe good (eustress) vs bad (distress) types of stress.
If you look at Selye’s original definition, it simply states that it is response of the body to any demand placed upon it. He did not classify it as good or bad, in fact he labeled it as “non-specific.”
Instead of fearing stress, or beating the term up, try embracing it as a normalized and consistent response to life demands.
Plan for it, learn to manage it effectively, and create awareness around YOUR personal responses to stimuli. If you need help with the process, seek it from a trusted source.
Take the lessons that come with these events and allow yourself to develop and grow.
Once we embrace it, it can no longer hurt us. Stress is like an old friend, one that we bump into often in our daily adventures. It is not good. It is not bad. It simply is.
Change your relationship with stress and all areas of your life will change with it.