Over the next several weeks we will discuss the impacts of stress on health, wellness, and recovery. Stress plays a major role in the causation and progression of many people’s ailments and it can be a significant obstacle to cure.


What is stress?

When most people think of stress they think of being “stressed out”. While this is a sign of stress it is not the true definition of stress. Stress can be defined as anything that challenges the body. Stress is anything that makes the body respond in order to stay in homeostatic balance. Stress can be emotional, physical, biochemical, or energetic. The following paragraphs are intended to broaden the definition of stress to help identify if stress is an obstacle to cure for you.


“Good” Stress

There are many stressors that challenge the body in a positive way. Exercise puts a physical stress on the body, breaks down muscle fibers, and stimulates the muscles to become stronger. Exams challenge the mental body and stimulate us to acquire more knowledge and become wiser. Even stressors that seem at first glance to be bad can make us stronger. When we lose something important to us like a business deal or a job it can trigger us to dig deeper, learn more about ourselves, and eventually move forward to a better future.

“Good stress” is anything that challenges the body and leads to growth, positive change, and improvement.


“Bad” Stress

Given the definition of “good stress” would “bad stress” not be the opposite? Would it be anything that challenges the body and leads to negative consequences? Actually, this is not a good definition. The reason for this is that perception makes the difference between “good” and “bad” stress.


The way you interpret the stressor makes all the difference in the world. If you see it as a challenge to overcome and grow from it will be a positive stressor. If you see it as something that defeats you it will be viewed as a “bad stress” and have negative consequences physically and emotionally.

Your perception makes the difference between a stressor being “good” or “bad”.


Workload, Rest, and Recovery

Too much work and not enough rest or recovery can be a major stressor. I see so many people in my practice who love what they do but they work too much and don’t get enough time for themselves to recover. The old saying, “too much of a good thing isn’t a good thing” applies to this type of stress. Workaholics have a tendency to take on too much and neglect their healing. The most important thing to do if you work too much and neglect your recovery time is to change your lifestyle.


Being Present

At the heart of everything we perceive to be emotionally stressful is one fundamental concept. “I am not happy with where I presently am and I would like to be somewhere else”. This can be a physical feeling like when you are waiting in line in the grocery store, stuck in traffic, or late for an appointment. It can be an emotional feeling like when you are having an argument with someone. It can be a timeline problem like when you feel your career should be progressing faster, when you are looking for a partner, or when you are looking at your retirement savings plan.

At the heart of everything that stresses you emotionally is the fact that you are not happy with where you currently are.

This is the fundamental sign of not being present. To be present means to be living in the essence of the each moment. It means that you are focused on the here and now not the past or future. Many stressors are things that don’t exist, have never existed, and may never exist. While there is a time to plan for the future most of your time should be spent in the present moment.

“Nothing ever happened in the past. Everything that happened occurred in the present moment at a previous time”.


In next week’s column we will investigate the impact of stress on the nervous system and on the way our DNA is selected.

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About the Author

Dr. Brent Barlow is a Naturopathic Physician practicing at The Kelowna Wellness Clinic in downtown Kelowna. Dr. Barlow has been in practice in Kelowna since graduating from the Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine in Vancouver in 2009.

Naturopathic Doctors are trained as primary care physicians, and primarily use natural medicine to treat disease and promote wellness. Dr. Barlow believes strongly in identifying and treating the causes of disease rather than focusing on the treatment of symptoms.

Naturopathic medicine utilizes diet therapy, botanical medicine, nutritional supplementation, acupuncture, spinal manipulation and other physical medicine treatments to treat the causes of disease. Dr. Barlow also trained in the specialized treatments of prolotherapy, neural therapy, intravenous nutrient infusions, and chelation therapy.

Dr. Barlow is in general practice and welcomes all individuals and families. As a naturopathic physician he is trained to treat all health conditions in the manner that best suits the goals of each individual patient. He also has special interests in natural treatments for pain management and digestive health.

To learn more about Dr. Barlow's treatments or to schedule a consultation, visit his website at www.drbrentbarlownd.com or call 250-448-5610.

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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