The Stress of Life

The Stress of Life

The Stress of Life is a classic book on stress, first published in 1956 by Hans Selye, the pioneer of medicine who formulated the theoretical concept of stress and the General Adaptation Syndrome. I read a revised edition published in 1976 a while ago, and I took some notes that I wanted to share with the readers of my blog.

The genetic evolution through endless centuries from the simplest forms of life to complex human beings was the greatest adaptive adventure on earth.

Stress is essentially reflected by the rate of all the wear and tear caused by life.

It is not to see something first, but to establish solid connections between the previously known and the hitherto unknown that constitutes the essence of scientific discovery.

… what matters is not so much what happens to us, but the way we take it.

Even debate inspired by jealousy can stimulate research; but it is less efficient and certainly less pleasant than cooperation.

Great progress can be made only by ideas which are very different from those generally accepted at the time.

Very few fundamentally new ideas manage to bypass the heresy stage.

Stress is usually the outcome of a struggle for the self-preservation (the homeostasis) of parts within a whole.

… the better we know what makes us tick, the more likely we will be to make a success of life.

… it is especially true that, in our life events, the stressor effects depends not so much upon what we do or what happens to us but on the way we take it.

… most of our tensions and frustrations stem from compulsive needs to act the role of someone we are not.

… few things earn you more goodwill and love than the gift of always being yourself. Unaffected simplicity is one of the most likeable traits.

It is well-established that the mere fact of knowing what hurts you has an inherent curative value.

Life, the biologic chain that holds our parts together, is only as strong as its weakest vital link. When this breaks – no matter which vital link it be – our parts can no longer be held together as a single living being.

Comfort and security make it easier for us to enjoy the great things in life, but they are not, in themselves, great and enjoyable aims.

Hence, very few people in the usual walks of life retain the ability really to enjoy themselves: that wonderful gift which they all possessed as children. But it hurts to be conscious of this defect, so adults dope themselves with more work (or other things) to divert attention from their loss.

Certainly, greatness, as the ultimate of achievement, is one of the leading motivators of human endeavor; like its prerequisite, excellence, it is an aim in itself.

Too many people suffer all their lives because they are too conservative to risk a radical change and break with traditions.

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