Wednesday, August 09, 2006

How does stress influence your health?

Barry Spencer wrote an interesting article The unbearable bunkness of stress.

Everybody says they have stress and everybody "knows" stress is bad for your health.

In the article it says:

Stress is a concept invented in the 1930s by Dr. Hans Selye. Dr. Selye died in 1983. Dr. Selye admitted that stress is an abstract concept, and he admitted that stress has never been adaquately defined. Dr. Selye's own definition of stress is the non-specific response of the body to any demand.

To most people, however, stress is not an abstract concept but is something you feel. The feeling that many people call stress boils down to anxiety and frustration. So the word stress refers to two different things: (1) an abstract concept ("The non-specific response of the body to any demand") and (2) anxiety and frustration.
The problem with the stress-theory is

First of all, it ignores everything we know about the causes of disease, such as dietary deficiencies, genetic abnormalities, and infectious agents. Second, it makes society — civilization itself — responsible for our personal ills, and it strongly implies that work — not anything in particular that happens at work but rather work in and of itself — causes disease. How then to explain illness in people who do not work? The stress of unemployment! Or maybe family stress: very unhealthy. No family? The stress of being alone! In short, according to the stress theory, stress is inescapable. We are all just laboratory rats trapped in the big electrified cage of life.
I have come to the conclusion that stress is an inescapable part of life.

But does that mean stress is bad for your health?

See who links to your web site.