As you read this, your body is carrying out thousands of functions completely automatically, without you even thinking about them. Is it just luck then that some of our bodies are functioning to a better degree than others? Is it due to genetics? Is it the choices we have made and our actions up until this moment of time? Or is it a combination?
One important concept to consider when considering this further is whether we tend to look at disease, rather than health, as an entity. Do we gain or acquire a disease, or do we lose our health? Similar examples to consider before deciding on this are light and dark, and hot and cold.
- Is darkness an entity, or is darkness the absence of light?
- Is cold an entity or is cold the absence of heat?
- Is disease an entity or is disease simply the absence of health?
One thing is for certain, our body is constantly under stress. That can be physical (sitting at work all day, lack of physical movement or a sudden impact), chemical (the air we breathe, and the foods we eat) or emotional stress (family issues, overworking etc). This is just to list but a few, but it is inevitable that some form of stress affects you.
Contrary to popular belief, however, stress is not always a bad thing for the body. In fact, the right sort of stress is essential and of great benefit.
What is it that makes the stress beneficial or detrimental? This depends on if the stress falls inside or outside our body’s adaptable range, and that is different for everyone. If stress falls within out adaptable range, we call this eustress (from the Greek prefix eu – meaning good). But if stress falls outside of out adaptable range, we call this distress. Once the level of distress or demand on our body becomes too much, our body’s systems start to break down, we become more vulnerable to disease.
A simple analogy is to think of your health as a pan of water on the stove, and stress as water that is entering the pan. Eventually, if we add water to the pan at a faster rate than the water can evaporate, the pan starts to overflow. This overflow is the signs and symptoms that become apparent in your body – this is distress. If, in this example we add water at a rate that does not overflow, and the water evaporates at the same speed or quicker, this represents eustress. The evaporating water is your body’s innate healing capacity.
When thinking about this topic we have control of several factors, one being the amount of stress that we put on our body. Directly and indirectly related to that, is the size of our adaptive capacity.
The aim of this article is not to provide you with answers, but to ask questions for you to think about, so you can formulate your own answers.
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