Stress and her sister Eustress

Do you suffer more chronic (long-term) stress than your parents?
How does modern stress affect your life?

Is Stress like the weather, all-talk, and no remedial action?

Chronic stress is not getting angry because of the bike in the driveway,
it includes insomnia because of anxieties over your career, money in general, and
specifically about higher oil and mortgage payments.

Let’s get scientific: research released 10.27.07 by the American Psychological
Association presents hard numbers we face a different and tougher set of chronic stress compared to even 5-years ago.


One in three American believe they are living with extreme stress, and it is
altering their quality of life, personal productivity and human relationships.
They are not mere blamers, but reacting to both their physical environment
and personal economic competition.

Did your mom work full-time? A generation ago only up to 32% did, today it is
up to 78% in our cities, and 55% overall. If you were a betting person, could you
predict the future direction?


Chronic stress, the kind that promotes depression, and feelings of helplessness and hopelessness, is also related to a decrease in the immune system. Only 28% of us
report we are handling daily stress extremely well.

Get this – three-quarters of us admit to physical and/or mental ongoing symptoms of daily occurring stress. The U.S. Department of Health indicates almost 25% of us
suffer serious mental anxiety. Sure, they still function but when these one-in-four go ballistic, they often injure or kill more than themselves.

Are we talking about the homeless and poorest of society?

Russ Newman, APA executive director, says at least half of society is stressed-out.
One-third is not functioning well at-work and at-home. Stress is the underlying cause of divorce, and up to 42% of physical attacks on their spouse and co-workers.


The EU in front of a word means good. Some symptoms of stress can have positive
results. Over 90% of folks in the creative arts seek out the passion they associated
with eustress. They believe it provides the magic in their mind producing original and unique paintings, music, and books.

Actors on Broadway and Hollywood search for their creative-spark (eustress) that makes their role come alive, convincing and memorable. Eustress is why we remember Marlon Brando and all the actors in the Rocky and Godfather series.

Eustress is feeling a flutter in your stomach, a racing heart and a sparkle in your
eye. It produces a quickening and excitement of knowledge you are accessing your best gifts and talents. The writer imagines his best plots, the dancer floats through space. You are in the zone (in the flow) and ready to create a peak-performance for both you and your audience.

Stress often produces headaches, fatigue, muscle tension and teeth grinding;
eustress produces a positive belief in yourself, and a burning to desire to do your best to show the world your gifts.

Managing Stress

Are you tired of hearing Americans are the most obese folks on the planet?

We eat excessively and down junk foods to overcome the feelings of stress.
Hard to imagine, but one-in-three of us lose our healthy appetite through stress.

How about alcohol, regular and funny cigarettes?
Stress lowers our dopamine (neurotransmitter) level and we run to artificial opioids
(narcotics) for a feeling of reward and pleasure.

Some us bury our stress in excess reading, video games, the Internet. The latest statistics indicate the average adult passively watches up to 4 hours of television
daily as a stress reducer. Thinking about a mystery plot inhibits personal stressful
thoughts and mental images.

Young people (54-72%) spend up to 4 hours listening to rocking music, plus another 2 hours computer messaging their friends. Many choose video game playing to avoid
personal relationships and making career decisions.


What does it take to find healthy alternatives to stress? Experts suggest jogging and
walking as an exercise, time spent communicating with family and friends, and finally, praying.

Powerful motivators to avoid stress include group riding of motorcycles, skating
(skateboarding) and creative hobbies including learning a new language or technical skills. Your alternative to stress requires personal research. Some folks
discover their talent for singing or comedy to overcome their symptoms of stress.


Texas A&M University researcher, David H. Rosen, finds humor raises our
level of hope. Sure, you know laughing is better than crying, but do you believe
humor can significantly change your mood, state of mind and behaviors?

Stress often leads to hopelessness and its sister, helplessness. Humor and laughter
can help reduce stressful symptoms, and avoid, if not cure bipolar disorder.

Lightheartedness is a serious medicine. It requires a daily regimen of about 15 minutes, for a minimum of 21 days. The results are subjective because they are
your feelings, but Dr. Rosen tested 200 folks ages 18-42. He reports 94% increased
their scores of hopefulness.

Laugh and the world laughs with you, cry and you invite disease and depression.

Another study at UCLA 10.26.07 revealed watching comedy shows helped kids
tolerate pain for longer periods. Prepping kids with humor before an injection
reduced reports of pain and anxieties by half. Tell me, when was the last time
you laughed out loud?


Churchill said, “Never negotiate with the monkey when the organ grinder is in the room” It sounds pithy and gnomic, but its meaning makes me dizzy.

Monkeys, specifically rhesus macaques, live a social life frighteningly like Homo sapiens. So says researcher Dario Maestripoeri at the University of Chicago, primate behavior professor.

Machiavellian intelligence is part of humans and macaques. Italian writer and advisor to Princes, he lived around the time of Chris Columbus.

Let me make it short and swift, Mach advised rulers to use nepotism (patronage),
to divide and conquer enemies, create scapegoats and initiate political maneuvering.

So what, who cares, in was in the 1400s?

Intense competition for power among countries (and monkeys), required Machiavellian solutions to social problems. Aha. According to Dr. Maestripoeri,
this led to evolutionary larger brains. It is our more active left hemisphere that
has produced our effective cognitive responses to human problems.
We suggest you triple your learning speed and double your long-term memory.
It will add up to 9 years to your longevity and protect against Alz. Ask us how.
Copyright 2007 H. Bernard Wechsler

Author's Bio: 

Author of Speed Reading For Professionals, published by Barron's;
original partner of Evelyn Wood, graduating 2 million, including
the White House staffs of four U.S. Presidents. Interviewed by
the Wall Street Journal and Fortune Magazine.