Monday, September 19, 2005

The History of Stress

Everyone experiences stress at some point in their lives. Grandmothers, teenagers, small children, and even pets are diagnosed with anxiety problems everyday. Stress doesn't discriminate. The poorest person in your community can get just as stressed as the wealthiest.

Of course, therapy for stress can vary significantly. There are physical means such as chiropractic therapy. There are pharmaceutical means utilizing medicinal drugs. And, there are mental exercises such as psychology.

The funny thing is that no one knew that they were stressed until about 1956. The word "stress" was not put into our vocabulary until Hans Seyle defined it fifty years ago. What else happened in 1956? Four no-hitters were thrown in baseball, Russia began nuclear testing, a black man was admitted into The University of Alabama for the first time, and Elvis Presley made his first television performance. Each of these events sounds pretty stressful to me.

Fifty years later. Divorce rates are at an all-time high, suicides continue to surge, and life sucks for a whole bunch of people. Imagine our life without the word "stress"?

How different would it be? Losing the big game could be blamed on poor execution. Getting fired from your job could be blamed on ineptitude. Not succeeding could be blamed on your lackluster performance.

One thing's certain. Stress is in our head. We make it what it is.

Casey Stengal didn't know that he was supposed to be stressed when his Yankees played the Dodgers in Game 7 of the 1956 World Series. He just coached. And he won.

Visualize your life without stress. Think positive. Make the glass half-full.

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