A Unique Way to Understand Stress

Alvin H. Danenberg, DDS     April 25, 2016   [printfriendly]

Stress = Glass of WaterStress!

It is one of those things that everybody talks about reducing, but few people are able to get a handle on it.

Stress reduction is one of my Four Pillars of Health:

  1. Animal-based diet
  2. Stress reduction
  3. Efficient exercise
  4. Restorative sleep

Sometimes for some people, it is the most important Pillar to get under control.

There are various ways to understand and deal with stress, but I have a metaphor that tells it as it really is. It’s a great story. I saw it on the Internet and in various publications. I was impressed. It’s so insightful. I’m going to summarize it for you.

Read it; share it; but certainly walk the talk. You will probably need to revisit it from time to time. It is so powerful:

A psychologist was teaching a course in Stress Management to a group of people assembled in a lecture hall. She took a moment from her talk and paused. She then picked up a glass of water and extended her arm straight out with the glass of water in her hand. Next, she proceeded to ask an unusual question, “How heavy do you think this glass of water is?”

Her students called out various obvious answers that ranged from 8oz. to 20oz.

The astute psychologist smiled with her arm still outstretched and replied:

The actual weight isn’t the concern. What really matters is how long I hold the glass out like this.

If a minute went by, it would not be an issue.

If I continued to extend my arm for an hour, my arm would ache.

If I could hold out my arm for a day, my arm would get numb and feel paralyzed.

As time passed, the weight of the glass wouldn’t change. It still would weigh what it originally weighed. But, the longer I held it with my arm extended, the greater stress and strain it would put on my arm.

She then put the glass down and related the stress in her arm to psychological stress.

The stresses and worries in life are like that glass of water I held in my hand with my arm extended.

If you thought about life’s stresses for a while, nothing would happen.

If you thought about them for a longer time, they would begin to bother you.

Yet, if you thought about them for the entire day and beyond, they would paralyze you and prevent you from functioning normally.

Think about this metaphor. Put the glass down!!


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