Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Stress and Spice

You might not recognize the name Hans Selye, or agree with him, but you can be sure that he has had an effect on your life. Selye said, “Stress is the spice of life”

A Hungarian scientist who lived and worked in Canada for the majority of his career, Selye is considered the father of the concept of biological stress. He created what is called the General Adaptation Syndrome.

In plain language GAS means that your body attempts to adapt to any stress it experiences. GAS is your body’s operating system that leads it to adapt to the variety of stressors that we experience every day. In physical activity, this is the reason you get stronger and, in some cases, your muscles get bigger, when you continue to lift more weight, run more miles, or increase the length of a workout.

The same thing happens emotionally. The philosopher Friedrich Neitzche pointedly said, “Whatever doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.”

While you may not agree with Hans Selye about stress being spice you have to admit that life would be pretty bland without changes. I’ll agree that it can get a little too spicy sometimes, but both Selye and Neitzche understood that, as humans, a little stress encourages…sometimes forces…us to grow.

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