Doctor O. is in the house.
Have you noticed that everyone is always stressed? We’re stressed about everything. We plan a party or a wedding, god help us, and we’re stressed. We have too much on our plate, and we’re stressed. We bite off more than we can chew, and we’re stressed. We don’t have enough time in a day, and we’re stressed. We mess up an assignment and we’re stressed. We are stressed, stressed, stressed. Me thinks we stress too much.
First of all, what’s with all the food references? Isn’t it interesting that STRESSED is DESSERTS spelled backwards? Maybe we could eliminate some of this stress if we ate less desserts. No, I don’t think that’s going to work. What I think is we need to stop blaming stress on everything.
“I’m so stressed.” What exactly does that mean?
Stress: “a: a physical, chemical, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension and may be a factor in disease causation
b : a state of bodily or mental tension resulting from factors that tend to alter an existent equilibrium .” (Dictionary.com Two of thirteen possible definitions.) That’s what I’m in search of, “an existent equilibrium.”
So here’s what I found out. Look for wrinkles. If the person is really wrinkled up they’re stressed. Or they’re old, and maybe suffered a lot of stress over their lives. Or maybe they’re just old. Whenever we feel anxious or overwhelmed, a conversation of sorts goes on between the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland. Pituitary, in turn, sends a message to the adrenal glands. All of this conversation goes on chemically of course.
The adrenal gland makes up some stuff called cortisol which is a major stress hormone and sends it off by way of the adrenal axis. Once that stuff is pumped through our bodies we react with inflammation in the organs. Chronic inflammation can cause diseases like diabetes, arthritis, asthma, high blood pressure and migraines. That’s another thing. Everybody seems to suffer from allergies these days. Is it “stress-related?” I wonder.
Back to the wrinkles. When collagen breaks down in the skin, which is, by the way, the largest organ of the body, it creates wrinkles. Since stress sends this cortisol throughout the organs of the body, it would logically figure that the largest organ in the body might be adversely affected. Acne, wrinkles and dryness of the skin can all be traced to stress, so they say.
I think we would have a lot less stress if we just stopped using the word to describe every negative feeling we have. Maybe get some of that stuff off our plates, and maybe stop biting off more than we can chew. Maybe eat less desserts.
Once I had a time management consultant spend a week with me at my job at Citicorp Credit Services. They forced him on me because no one else claimed to have time! I was a collection manager in the backend with 40 direct reports. We made collection calls on the six-month delinquent credit card accounts. After a week of sitting with me and analyzing my time management, he aptly decided that I had “too much on my plate” and that “he spends his whole day putting out fires.” We paid this guy money, something like $450 as a consultant, and this is what he comes up with? I could have come up with that for a lot less money. Fifty bucks maybe. Maybe they could have just asked me.
I’ve been through at least five time-management seminars or courses during my working career. None of them were worth it. The only thing I really learned is that you can’t make time, can’t save time, can’t earn time, can’t borrow time, and you can’t lend time. Time is a finite, measured thing. You only have so much of it. So why the hell stress about it?
“Give a man food, he can eat for a day. Give a man a job and he can only eat for 30 minutes on break.” Lev L. Spiro.