Believe it or not, a little stress can be a good thing. When stress helps you get projects finished, take note of important details, or even remember to do something that must be done, it’s beneficial. However, as most people know, too much stress can lead to anxiety, physical pain and even fatal disease.
One of the scientists who first studied stress was Hans Seyle – in fact he was the first to use the word stress, and he defined it as “the non-specific response of the body to any demand for change.” Seyle noted that laboratory animals reacted in the same way humans did to different types of unpleasant stimuli like bright lights, loud music, extreme temperature differences. After a while, the laboratory animals even began to develop conditions like heart disease and rheumatoid arthritis.
The reason that Seyle defined stress as the body’s “non-specific response” is that people react differently to stress. Some people may develop migraines while others get stomach ulcers. There were lots of problems with Seyle’s definition, though. For one thing, people did not associate it at all with “good stress” which can help us be more productive. Eventually, Seyle began calling that kind of stress “eustress,” and bad stress is naturally associated with the word “distress.”
Eventually, Seyle changed his definition of stress to “the rate of wear and tear on the body,” which could also be the definition of aging. Stress can, in fact, accelerate the aging process, but again, the definition was somewhat confusing. Stress is particularly difficult to define because our reactions to it are so individual and varied.
One thing is clear: too much stress is dangerous. From hair loss to reproductive disorders to skin problems, stress can cause problems with every part of the body, not to mention the range of emotional and mood disorders that are often associated with stress. The good news is that there are lots of ways to relieve stress, and it is entirely possible to learn to recognize your personal early symptoms of stress so that you can make changes.
Practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine are well versed in treating stress and have found great success through a variety of treatments and approaches. A consultation with Wayne is a great first step in deciding the best way for you to handle the stress that is affecting your life. Simply making the decision to do something is often a helpful way to begin relieving stress.