Stress – Good or Bad?


Stress, is it good or bad? These days, we hear about all of the stress in the world, and about how people are falling apart because of it. But are these stressful things actually causing problems, or is it something else?

Stress is actually neither good nor bad. Our perception of stress is what causes problems. Think about times in your life when you have challenges that seem overwhelming. When you are successful at meeting these challenges, you probably feel exhilarated. When unsuccessful, chances are you feel upset, and your body responds negatively. However, whether you are successful or unsuccessful at negotiating the challenges in your life, you can choose how you will react. In this way, you can avoid a whole cascade of negative physiological changes.

If you approach the challenges in your life as if you are playing a game, you will experience less stress. Even if you are unsuccessful at overcoming your challenges, you can feel good about being in the game. Your body will experience feeling good and feeling awful in completely different ways. So, as far as your health is concerned, keeping the perspective that it’s like a game, in which sometimes you win and sometimes you lose, can be helpful.

An analogy to help deal with stress is to imagine being in a sailboat with only the wind to power you. The wind can be compared to stress. Not having any stress, or any challenges to overcome, is like being in a sailboat without having any wind. When you have wind (stress), you can go places. The more challenges you have, the better you get at navigating. Stress pushes you forward to be more than you were before. However, if you let stress get the best of you, your boat can blow over and you will find yourself floundering at the mercy of the sea. When you become overwhelmed by stress, there are physical repercussions.

The negative changes to the body from stress are so pronounced that a medical researcher by the name of Hans Selye, wrote three volumes of books on the subject in which he described in detail the effects of stress on a human body. Here are the basics. Your body has special organs to handle stress called the adrenal glands. Under normal circumstances, they produce approximately 30 different hormones for your body, including a portion of your Testosterone, Estrogen, and Progesterone. When under stress, the production of these hormones shuts down. Stress-handling hormones, referred to as your “fight and flight hormones,” are produced instead. These hormones include adrenalin, cortisol, and ACTH (adrenocorticotrophic hormone}”.

When under stress in this “fight or flight” mode, your immune system, your digestion and your cellular repair also shut down. All extra non-essential energy is routed to handle the impending problem, or whatever is causing the stress. We are designed to do this three times a day and still be very healthy. Unfortunately, we live in a world where perceived threats occur closer to thirty times a day. The result is that our bodies are constantly in the “fight or flight” mode. Normal operating systems are shut down much of the time, interfering with our ability to digest food and get the nutrition we need to stay in good shape. Repairs take longer as the systems are not always working to repair the body. The immune system is open to infection as it is not in full function when “facing the tiger”. Tigers attack faster than microbes, but microbes (germs) are still a problem when our body is not in its normal mode of operation.

Now that you understand stress a little better, what can you do about it? Here are some suggestions: 1st – Try changing your perception of stress. Approach challenges in your life as you would a good game. Don’t view stress as a personal attack. Remember that there will always be good stress and bad stress, and it’s your perception of it that makes all the difference. 2nd – Sleep is very important. Get the hours you need. The time between 7and 9 AM is especially restoring. Going to bed by 10:30 PM is also advised. 3rd – Keep your diet good and clean, eating organic foods whenever possible and include extra nutrition specific for rebuilding the organs most affected by stress (your Adrenal Glands, your Thymus, your Parotid Gland, your Spleen, your Pancreas and your Large Intestines). 4th – Plan to exercise every day. Exercise is very helpful in reducing stress and its negative effects. 5th – Plan to stay active. When you sit and think, you have a tendency to get into negative thought patterns. So, do something, get involved in an activity, as it will be a positive influence on your whole world. 6th- Laugh. Find what it takes to give you a good wholesome laugh. Do you remember hearing about Norman Cousins when diagnosed with a serious disease? Without a good prognosis through medical science, he started watching funny movies of all kinds that gave him deep and regular laughter. He credited recovery from his illness to a self-prescribed prescription for laughter and proper nutrition, and succeeded at what had been considered impossible.

In addition to these suggestions, remember to never give up.

Learn ways to handle your stress. Choose to be happy and healthy, and know that there are people to help. As a Certified Wellness Doctor, I offer my services to you. You are invited to spend up to 30 minutes consulting with me, and my staff, free of charge, to ask any questions about stress, nutrition, and ways to improve your health and the health of your adrenal glands. Give us a call at 734-425-8220.

Dr. William H. Karl, D.C.

Dr. Karl is a Brimhall Certified Wellness Doctor with over 28 years of experience, an extensive knowledge of the human body, and a keen interest in applying new and advanced techniques – all of which enable him to provide the finest care possible for each and every one of his patients! Read other articles; learn about techniques used in his office, and sign up for a free monthly newsletter. Visit , , call (734) 425-8220. You may also e-mail Dr. Karl at


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here