Roger Harty: Stress – A Simple Explanation

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rsz_roger_hartyIN a previous article (here) I gave the best definition of stress from a working point of view that I have ever come across.

It is as follows. If you ask the question ‘what is stress?’ the answer is ‘stress is being here and trying to be there’.

Now let’s see this working in practice. To this end I tell the following true story. My mother owned a small grocery store (there were no supermarkets back then) covering the period of the 60s and 70s. That was the environment in which I grew up.

We had a meat counter in the shop and customers would regularly arrive in looking for bacon (Rashers!) or ham. To this end we has two electric meat slicers, the reason being that the bacon might often have bone hidden within it so that there was a particular meat slicer that was solely for the purpose of cutting bacon. The other one was specifically for slicing ham which was often sliced quite thinly.

If, per chance, you cut the bacon on the ham slicer there was ‘mile murder’ (a lot of trouble) as the bone would damage the blade of the slicer which in turn could affect the quality of cut ham. You would hear about it for weeks on end.

What was going on here was an example of stress. You were asking the blade of the ham slicer to do what it was not designed to do (i.e. cut through bone). If the blade could talk it would be saying “please don’t do this to me, for if you do I’m going to be damaged” and if you proceed “I’m here” (i.e. being damaged) but I wish I was “there” (i.e. not being mistreated).

So this is a clear example of stress if you go by the definition I wrote about above. It is now quite obvious that prolonged stress will definitely and unquestionably result in damage (distress).

We can also apply this to our bodies when we treat it with disrespect and treat it in a manner for which it was not designed.

This stress (maltreatment) occurs when we do things that we shouldn’t do, for example, eating a poor quality diet, have excessive negative thoughts (worry !) or when we don’t do things we should do – e.g. exercise, have adequate sleep or drink enough fresh clean water.

If you take any of the above examples and don’t apply them in the appropriate manner to your body then you are putting stress on your body whether you like it or not.

Take for instance ‘water’. They say that our bodies consist of 80% water and that we should drink at least 3 litres of fresh water per day in order to replenish the body. If we don’t then we are stressing our bodies thus resulting symptoms such as sluggishness, tiredness and headaches.

If our bodies could talk they would be saying “I’m here” (dehydrated) and I want to be “there” (hydrated).

Clearly this is a form of stress and thus if carried on for a prolonged period will result in damage (disease) to our bodies. One need only look at what happens to a plant when it doesn’t get adequate water.

‘You would not put bad petrol into your car so why would you put poor quality nutrients into your body’.

Side note: The word disease can be broken into two Dis–Ease i.e. stress and that up to 90% of illnesses are directly related to stress of one form or another.

• Next week I am going to write about ‘We can always learn’

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