Stress is said to be the major cause of disease in our society, yet do you know what it is, or where the problem lies?

When asked to define stress, people are usually at a loss, or they mention tension, fatigue, pressure, noise, hectic city life, and so on. What is needed is a clear sense of where the problem lies, and effective ways of coping with whatever it is.

Hans Selye defined stress as the effect of change on the organism. He distinguished good and bad stress, namely eu-stress and dis-(s)tress. A new job, getting fired, a raise, loss of a loved one, winning the lottery, in Selye's terms, all these events cause stress, some good, some bad. Therefore should one spend a lifetime seeking one and avoiding the other? Not very practical.
We live surrounded by stress: it is just another name for the forces that keep us alive and moving. It is interesting to examine the technical definition of the term. To the engineer, such as myself, stress is simply a pressure acting upon an object to displace or deform it. The object resists with internal forces called tensions and thus maintains its integrity. Translate this to the human context and we have a much clearer picture: the cause, stress, the effect, tension. In these terms, change itself is a stress. Hunger, a good joke, a car honking, are all stresses. The tensions they cause in us put us into action, and we eat, laugh, jump out of the way, in other words, survive.
The problem then becomes manageable, it is how we respond: how we act, or don't act, that determines how well we survive, how we manage the stress.

Stress is part of life and as necessary to it as water is to a ship.
If you fall overboard, the problem is not the water, but whether or not you know how to swim!

Problems occur when we are no longer able to respond appropriately to a situation. We stop! The tension stays because it does not develop into effective action. This leads to the usual symptoms associated with stress: head aches, back aches, anxiety, depression, etc...
The Feldenkrais Method literally gets you moving. You develop the instinct to seek new responses in any situation.


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