A quick google search will reveal that there are over 650,000,000 occurrences of the word stress online. It's a topic that has been highly debated and constantly researched in both the medical and non-medical worlds. Everyone seems to have it from time to time (some people live with it around the clock). Heart attacks and other diseases have been linked to it --which is why we do everything we can to escape the evil clutches of a stress filled life.
I have never been more stressed in my life than I am right now.
The other day at the gym our coach was instructing us on the proper technique for doing a strict pull-up. We all watched as his body moved effortlessly from full arm extension to chin over the bar and then back down again. (When it was our turn to try, the scene was not as pretty.) With certain momentum-based movements I'm able to rattle off more than a few pull-ups, but when I have to rely solely on upper body strength I can maybe get three or four.
I asked my coach how I could get better at pull-ups. He instructed me to start the pull-up at the top with my chin already over the bar, and then slowly allow my body to lower down into full arm extension. By doing so, he said, I was providing stress or tension to certain areas of my upper body which would result in future muscle growth.
The simple notion of allowing stress-over-time to produce growth has been an instrumental metaphor for me.
Not that I'm looking for ways to provide it, but what if I didn't try to completely eradicate stress from my life all the time? What if the naturally occurring stress of this life could be harnessed and refocused into making me a stronger person?
Corralling stress is not the answer for everything, but it does make a challenging life more doable.