Check out this Ted Talk that claims that believing that stress is harmful is detrimental to your health.
If you believe this Ted Talk, stress is not bad unless you believe it is.
Then you don’t need to do anything to lower your stress level, do you?
The problem is that there are stress and stress. Picture stress as a rubber band that you can stretch. All rubber bands have a breaking point, so do our bodies.
Stress increases metabolic functions throughout the body in order to get the body ready for a fight of flight reaction.
The body is basically in emergency mode. It is not necessarily bad in itself. It is part of being alive. In addition not all stress is negative in our collective beliefs system: exercising stresses the body and everybody agrees about the positive impact of regular exercise.
The problem with saying that believing that stress is harmful makes you more prone to illnesses, is that it affects the way you can keep your stress under control. It is so easy today to let yourself be overwhelmed by the competing and conflicting demands of the world around us .
So has everyone been delusional claiming that stress management is an important factor for health?
It could be, but personally I don’t think so.
Stress does no harm whatsoever as long as it is not ongoing.
When a multitasking schedule is madness and adrenaline kicks in as a result we should do anything we can to keep stress under control. Why? Because adrenal glands can’ t work full speed 24/7 without damage.
We live in a time where technology brings to a day far more inputs than a single brain can process without generating stress. And it seems than more than 50% of these stimuli are out of our control. Of course we can turn our phone off, TV, computer off. Who does? NO ONE.
Either because we work with these devices or because we want to be available for our kids, or we want to make sure we don’t miss the next message from Grandma from the other side of the world,…or the state.
Coming back to the rubber band analogy, at one point the elasticity can’t cope and stretching further the rubber results in a break.
The bottom line is this:
I am the first person who thinks that beliefs have a huge impact on our lives, so feel free to work on your beliefs around stress. Stressing about stress defeats all stress control management’s purpose.
Changing the belief that stress is harmful does not give a free ticket to a madness schedule.
You can believe as much as you want that Standard American Diet is good for you. Sooner or later your body will remind you that it is not.
If changing your beliefs around stress helps you stop stressing over stress, then go for it.
The problem today is not so much whether we believe stress is harmful or not, it is more about managing a sustainable schedule and facing the disappointment we trigger in others by declining their invitation.