Accounting for the Full Cost of Stress
Grappling with stress doesn’t always come free. It can take resources to seek professional help or even to make time to exercise at your gym. We may tell ourselves that it’s not in our budget right now to deal with something that virtually everyone now accepts as a given in modern society. People often ask me, “Is stress really that big of a deal? It’s not going to kill me.”
First of all – they’re wrong on that. And second of all, stress carries hidden costs that we rarely recognize in the moment. There are serious and quite costly long-term effects of continuously high levels of stress hormones and chemicals. Your body can essentially move into a state of malfunction with a quite significant cost to consider – a cost that can be measured in painful physical and emotional symptoms: racing hearts, back pain, anxiety, sleeplessness, and more are some of the costs of this condition.
The full spectrum of these costs require that we think about treating stress in a different way – one that adopts a more holistic perspective that looks at the entire person and the unanticipated costs to come. Many suffering from stress experience their doctor or another medical professional prescribing them a solution for one particular problem – say, a lack of sleep – but don’t examine their stress from a systems perspective. The treatment needed for unmanaged stress is very different from simply issuing a sleeping pill.
By treating the body as a whole, we can better identify the full range of specific symptoms – rather than merely applying a band-aid to the problem. By adopting a comprehensive approach, we can better address the full costs of chronic stress.