In the modern world growing up, getting an education, finding a job, wooing a mate, raising a family, creating some equity, dealing with mortality, is very stressful.
Can't believe it was a lot less stressful before there was running water, inside plumbing, and electric lights. It may have been peaceful to commute by buggy on a perfect day, if getting there comfortably and quickly wasn't an issue, and the wind was behind the horse.
Sometime during the past twenty years stress recognition and management became an industry. Gurus in medicine, mental health, physical fitness, education, and business began to attribute all of the world's ills, save nuclear war, to the existence of stress.
Authoritative tomes have been published establishing a direct link between stress and sexual dysfunction, lower back pain, stomach trouble, headache, shortness of breath, heart disease, hypertension, obesity, anorexia, marital
discord, career collapse, sleep disorder, substance abuse, juvenile delinquency and hives.
There is no denying that the pressures associated with losing a job, getting a speeding ticket, ED, can put anyone in a foul mood - but to bundle up and label all of life's problems in a single package, to explain away everything from road rage to rape, doesn't fly.
Gluttony creates more fat people than all the stress related eating disorders or deficient metabolic rates combined. People love to overeat, overdrink and underexercise. For many the result is a massive gut. The lavish buffet lunch and dinner appeal to our desire for multiple appetizers, entrees, and desserts. It has nothing to do with the demons which may have plagued us that day in the office, behind the wheel or in bed.
Much in life is addictive - alcohol, nicotine, sugar, speed, and sex. While moderation ought to govern our behavior in most things it is very hard to be
moderate when you are having lots of fun.
The consequences of excess - lack of sleep - lost jobs - broken marriages - auto accidents - are more conveniently blamed on stress than on our normal human foibles and lack of restraint.
Excessive stress clearly helps promote erratic behavior in the best-balanced personalities and much worse consequences among those who are already running a quart low.
When I was a kid if you got drunk and set fire to the principal's car (a purely fictitious example) you were expelled and led off to jail, not provided a court appointed stress counselor.
Being able to perform brilliantly under great pressure is what separates Michael and Tiger from the pack. I doubt that either would ever attempt to alibi poor performance to an opponent, wife or paramour on the basis of stress.
There doesn't appear to be any way to avoid stress and compete successfully. As I think about it, the best way to deal with a stress filled day is a few stiff drinks, a Big-Mac, double order of fries, a couple of cigars and an energetic romp.
If the existence of stress gives us an excuse from time to time, to let it all hang out, it may after all be therapeutic - not the cause of bad things, but a catalyst for good.