Thursday, September 23, 2010

Is Stress a Choice?

Interesting question popped up in a conversation last night and wondered what you folks thought about it.

Is stress a choice? Do you choose to be stressed out by something or is it something that is not a matter of one's own control? We can practice stress reduction techniques, but do they alleviate the stress or just distract you from it? We tell people who are stressed about something we don't find stressful to relax, and we use the imperative form commanding them as if they could simply throw a switch and not be stressed by that particular stressor. But can you? If you use meditation, primal scream, or whatever other tool, are you masking the stress or actually eliminating it? Is that question even meaningful, that is, is stress nothing but the feeling of being stressed and therefore losing the feeling is equivalent to losing the stress? Or is choosing not to deal with something that would still cause the stress if faced head on? In Through the Looking Glass, the White Queen claims to believe six impossible things before breakfast. This is nonsense because we cannot just choose our beliefs. Is stress the same way?