Good Stress Gone Bad … it is a bit like Darth Vader

When I grew up, Darth Vader was marauding the galaxy, just being 50 shades of evil. And that was great to know. Vader = bad. Luke = good.

But that simple little equation didn’t hold for long, because later we learned that dear old Darth was actually daddy Darth for little Luke and had a soft spot somewhere in the pit of his black mechanical heart.

Awww. He’s not all bad, he’s just misunderstood!

In today’s nutritional world the same thing happened. All cholesterol was all bad all the time. Cholesterol = bad. Simple. But now we learn, like daddy Darth, that there is good cholesterol and bad cholesterol, and 75% of your cholesterol is made by your own liver because it’s vital for your health to have it on board. You need that good cholesterol!

Awww. It’s not all bad, it was just misunderstood!

Let me stress that stress is the same way. When you hear people talk, they’ll speak about stress like it’s something they need to avoid. But your body is set up to respond to stress by making you focused, routing blood to your brain, to your muscles and lungs. Your physiology create the internal conditions that gives you an advantage during stress.

Awww … just misunderstood, again!

What turns stress from a good thing into a bad thing is the same thing that turns any food from good-for-you to bad-for-you. And that is volume. Too much water = hyponatremia, which is bad. Too much wine = bad; too much chocolate = bad; too much food = bad; and on and on. When stress goes from being a short term occurrence to a chronic burden, then your body’s long term exposure to stress hormones can create a raft of unhealthy effects downstream.

So, remember that short term stress is not bad at all, until it becomes chronic stress.