When did feeling "stressed out" become cool?

This post is sponsored by Fusion® Health


Imagine a disease that caused headaches, difficulty breathing, stomach pain, high-blood pressure, jaw pain, nausea, depression, insomnia, weight-gain, fatigue and a rash.

If there was a disease that did all of these things, we would demand that it be wiped out.

We would donate money to stop it. There would be government grants, philanthropic bequests and oversized cheques.

Celebrities would speak out about it. We would wear tshirts and wristbands. There would be a public awareness campaign with bumper stickers and pens.

We’d prevent it, we’d treat it, we’d beat it. Right?

Actually, this disease does exist. We just don’t think that it’s important. There are no songs about it and no telethons. There are no heart-rending pictures of children and no big, sad animal eyes.

You see, stress is the disease that causes all of these symptoms. Stress: that oh-so-familiar feeling of being overwhelmed, tense and worried. Someone you know is dealing with it right now (one in four Australians are dealing with moderate to severe stress –read the facts here, and Lifeline has put it as high as 43% of people are suffering from ‘a lot’ or unhealthy levels of stress). It might be you. But it’s no big deal, right?

Wrong. Stress can affect every system in the body and it is hard to think of any disease or condition that isn’t made worse by it. Prolonged stress damages your brain and other internal organs and makes you more susceptible to disease. Stress can lay you out physically and mentally.

But we’re not trying to stamp it out. In fact, we seem to think it’s cool.

To be seen as someone who is “stressed out” in our culture is the mark of someone who is successful or a hard worker. Very busy, very important. If you’re not stressed, you’re not doing enough.

Unlike other diseases, we seem to like to talk about how stressed we are. We have stressful jobs, stressful lifestyles, stressful weeks. We even boast about it.

Stress feels revolting – the sleeplessness, the nausea, the headaches – but we tend not to do anything about it. We accept it as part of our work or our lives, even though a survey last year found that stress had a strong to very strong impact on the physical health of one in five Australians. Read it here.


Look at it this way: if you had a job that gave you the flu, you’d stop doing that job. If a workplace gave you an infection, you’d get out of there and go to see a doctor (and a lawyer). You wouldn’t boast about getting a rash (“You’ll never believe the week I had: I got these pustules on my neck. Boils are so crazy this time of year, am I right?”.) If you felt like you had a cold coming on, you’d act – get more sleep, eat better, take some vitamins.

But when we feel stress coming on, we don’t necessarily deal with it. We ignore it. And like any disease that we ignore and don’t treat, it can get worse and spread.

Of course, stress is infectious too. Stress in the workplace can spread to stress in your home and vice versa. Stressed parents can pass on the stress to their kids. A stressed boss can make life a nightmare for stressed staff.

Some stress is unavoidable – grief, losing a job, moving house – and we all know how horrible it can be. But if we can do something about preventing or treating our stress, we should.

So, next time you feel stress coming on, treat it like you would any other disease: get some rest, take care of yourself and, if you need to, get some help from a doctor.

Ancient wisdom, modern medicine.

Fusion® Health products integrate the recorded tradition of Chinese herbs with the science of Western herbal medicine in addressing specific health issues. In traditional Chinese medicine, working towards a state of balance is the fundamental basis of good health, enabling your body and mind to function at their best. Fusion® Heath products are manufactured in Australia.

Discover more about Fusion® Health here.

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Do you suffer from symptoms of stress and anxiety?  What do you do to help relieve the stress in your life?