The Value of Stress

Roy Masters from “How To Be At Peace With Your Problems”

Many people fear stress because of its harmful effects upon their health; because of this concept most of us are preoccupied with the equally unhealthy practice of keeping peace and finding security. 

Of course, there is nothing wrong with peace and security, provided that we do not depend upon these things for our moods and health. In other words, it is dangerous to build ivory towers for an escape from our failure to face immediate problems. 

Ivory tower escapes come in various forms, such as money, possessions, dope and drink; or perhaps in the rose-colored glasses viewpoint of life possessed by an easy-going guy (with ulcers), whom everyone admires! Admittedly, stress can be dangerous, but so can repose or escape from life. 

There is a very special, delicate principle that must be recognized and applied in order for us to convert the stress and the repose from their destructive roles into a joyous, constructive, healing balm. This principle will be discussed in the following paragraphs. 

Long, long ago, the ancient wizards knew something of the healing power of stress —often advising their victims to undertake daring missions, through which they found their health and happiness, (temporarily, at least.)

The effect of the adventure was often to sharpen the mind’s faculty and the body’s facility. The mysterious promise of cure lay at the other end of the adventure. 

Modern man is often exposed to tremendous amounts of unbearable stress of his own making, and insulated from the proper balance between repose and stress. An excellent example of the destructive power of repose may be pointed out in the following account.

The correct measure of stress is vital for our growth and life.

A lady took her over-plump, sickly, dry-nosed poodle to the vet for treatment. Three days later she returned, and there before her astonished eyes was a lively, wet-nosed, happy dog, that almost bowled her over in the exuberant expression of his doggy joy.

Eagerly the lady inquired what medicine the doctor had given “Pierre” that had accomplished the miraculous recovery.

The doctor smilingly replied: “I gave the dog no medicine at all.” Well, what did you do?” the woman asked. “Madam,” the vet bluntly replied, “the dog simply hasn’t been fed anything at all for the last three days!”

This woman had been loving the dog to death, severing it from its essential contact with needed stress and the vital element of chance. 

The correct measure of stress is vital for our growth and life. We must learn how to meet stress in progressively increasing amounts for true life and health. In small doses, the sun is valuable, but too much sun at one time could kill us.

In other words, too much stress of any kind on an unprepared body is deadly.

Therefore, we must learn to meet life, first in small doses; then one day we will be able to take all the larger doses that life can administer. We must be sure, however, that we do not bring upon ourselves— through our lack of understanding—the fatal dose of stress.