A moderate amount of physical and psychological stress is good for most people, because it makes the heart beat faster and stronger, according to the chairman of the pshychology department of the University of Health Sciences at the Chicago Medical School, Dr. Vincent V. Glaviano.
The doctor was careful to say that this does not apply to people with diabetes and various metabolic disorders. But generally, he said, people could use some stress, in order to use up fats in the heart that could lead to heart attacks.
What he did not say was where a normal person can be expected to find stress nowadays. It's all very well to prescribe something, and to educate the public so that everybody wants to run out and get some, but it doesn't much help if the remedy is not readily available.
And in modern life, we have done away with the traditional causes of stress. Technology has removed all the inconviences that used to drive people crazy. The automobile provides trouble-free transportation, the telephone provides trouble-free communication, the high-rise provides trouble-free housing, and so on.
Formerly, one of the leading causes of stress, to say nothing of hearts-going-pitter-pitter-pat, which seems to be what the doctor had in mind, was what might generally be termed love. However, the sexual revolution did away with all the difficulties, and now that everybody is so free and open about sex, there are no more problems attached to it.
Other stresses in one's personal life have long since been done away with by the various psychological therapies now on the markets. Whether you need to get in touch with your feelings or your family, the cure is available at your nearest drug store - on the paperback shelf, of course.
Obviously, we need a cure of the no-stress problem.
But there is hope. Some work is being done in the field, and is being tested out on susceptible members of the society, none of whose permission for experimentation has been secured. They are being used to see if it is possible to wrok up stress about the lack of stress.
For instance, in the area of sex, people have been encouraged to worry about whether their pleasure is up to the national norm or, if they are ambitious, to the monitored recordholders. People who have children are urged to think about whether they are really glad they have children or wish to go in for retroactive birth control. Single people may either declare themselves happy and then make themselves unhappy by worrying about whether their attitude is selfish, or they may declare that they are sacrificing themselves because they believe in demography, and worry about enjoying their happiness in private.
If this keeps up, we may be able to achieve a cure for understress. And then we'll have nothing to worry about.