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Health:辯證的看待壓力 誰說壓力就一定有害健康?

放大字體  縮小字體 發布日期:2009-07-30  瀏覽次數:945
核心提示:It can be, but it can be good for you, too-a fact scientists tend to ignore and regular folks don't appreciate. If you aren't already paralyzed with stress from reading the financial news, here's a sure way to achieve that grim state: read a medical

    It can be, but it can be good for you, too-a fact scientists tend to ignore and regular folks don't appreciate.

    If you aren't already paralyzed with stress from reading the financial news, here's a sure way to achieve that grim state: read a medical-journal article that examines what stress can do to your brain. Stress, you'll learn, is crippling your neurons so that, a few years or decades from now, Alzheimer's or Parkinson's disease will have an easy time destroying what's left. That's assuming you haven't already died by then of some other stress-related ailment such as heart disease. As we enter what is sure to be a long period of uncertainty-a gantlet of lost jobs, dwindling assets, home foreclosures and two continuing wars-the downside of stress is certainly worth exploring. But what about the upside? It's not something we hear much about.

    In the past several years, a lot of us have convinced ourselves that stress is unequivocally negative for everyone, all the time. We've blamed stress for a wide variety of problems, from slight memory lapses to full-on dementia-and that's just in the brain. We've even come up with a derisive nickname for people who voluntarily plunge into stressful situations: they're "adrenaline junkies."

    Sure, stress can be bad for you, especially if you react to it with anger or depression or by downing five glasses of Scotch. But what's often overlooked is a common-sense counterpoint: in some circumstances, it can be good for you, too. It's right there in basic-psychology textbooks. As Spencer Rathus puts it in "Psychology: Concepts and Connections," "some stress is healthy and necessary to keep us alert and occupied." Yet that's not the theme that's been coming out of science for the past few years. "The public has gotten such a uniform message that stress is always harmful," says Janet DiPietro, a developmental psychologist at Johns Hopkins University. "And that's too bad, because most people do their best under mild to moderate stress."

    The stress response-the body's hormonal reaction to danger, uncertainty or change-evolved to help us survive, and if we learn how to keep it from overrunning our lives, it still can. In the short term, it can energize us, "revving up our systems to handle what we have to handle," says Judith Orloff, a psychiatrist at UCLA. In the long term, stress can motivate us to do better at jobs we care about. A little of it can prepare us for a lot later on, making us more resilient. Even when it's extreme, stress may have some positive effects-which is why, in addition to posttraumatic stress disorder, some psychologists are starting to define a phenomenon called posttraumatic growth. "There's really a biochemical and scientific bias that stress is bad, but anecdotally and clinically, it's quite evident that it can work for some people," says Orloff. "We need a new wave of research with a more balanced approach to how stress can serve us." Otherwise, we're all going to spend far more time than we should stressing ourselves out about the fact that we're stressed out.

    When I started asking researchers about "good stress," many of them said it essentially didn't exist. "We never tell people stress is good for them," one said. Another allowed that it might be, but only in small ways, in the short term, in rats. What about people who thrive on stress, I asked-people who become policemen or ER docs or air-traffic controllers because they like seeking out chaos and putting things back in order? Aren't they using stress to their advantage? No, the researchers said, those people are unhealthy. "This business of people saying they 'thrive on stress'? It's nuts," Bruce Rabin, a distinguished psychoneuroimmunologist, pathologist and psychiatrist at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, told me. Some adults who seek out stress and believe they flourish under it may have been abused as children or permanently affected in the womb after exposure to high levels of adrenaline and cortisol, he said. Even if they weren't, he added, they're "trying to satisfy" some psychological need. Was he calling this a pathological state, I asked-saying that people who feel they perform best under pressure actually have a disease? He thought for a minute, and then: "You can absolutely say that. Yes, you can say that."

    如果你不想因為閱讀經濟新聞而崩潰,這有條路可以走:去讀一篇醫學期刊,看看對于你什么壓力更適合。你將明白,壓力這東西會使你的神經崩潰,并且使得阿爾茨海默病或者帕金森病更容易在幾年后侵蝕你。由此可以推測出,你不會死于其他那些很短時間致命的疾病。當我們確定進入不確定的長時期(一連串的失業、資產損失、家庭贖回和長達兩年的夫妻之戰)時,這個事情值得好好研究下。但是什么是往上走的?沒有人告訴我們。

    在過去的幾年里,我們中的大多數人相信我們自己,壓力總是不公平傾斜到每個人身上的。在很多問題上,無論是小的記憶丟失還是老年癡呆癥,我們都把黑鍋推給壓力來背--而這僅僅是在大腦中。我們甚至嘲笑那些人,他們自愿投身到緊張這樣一種狀態:他們稱為"腎上腺素迷們".

    當然,壓力對你來講不全是不好的,特別是如果你從生氣或失望或喝下5背蘇格蘭威士忌中反應過來。但是,一個普通的感覺點常常忽視:在某些情況中,壓力同樣對你來說也可能是好事。在基礎心理學課本中,這么說是正確的。就像Spencer Rathus說的那樣:"心理學:概念和連線","有些壓力是健康并且必須的,以此來使我們警惕和有足夠的注意力。"但是這個理論在過去的幾年中并沒有科學依據。"大眾總是收到統一的信息,壓力總是不好的。"Janet DiPietro說,他是Johns Hopkins 大學的發展心理學家,"而這非常不好,因為更多的大眾進他們全力去維持比較溫和的壓力。"

    壓力的反饋--身體荷爾蒙分泌會很危險、不定量或者改變--這些都會幫助我們存活下來,并且如果我們明白怎樣從我們的生活中遠離過度勞累,他仍然可以起作用。短期內,壓力可以使我們更有活力,"我們身體系統要來處理我們不得不處理的東西。"Judith Orloff說,他是加州大學洛杉磯分校的精神科醫生。長期內,壓力可以促使我們在工作上作的更好。一點點的壓力可以促使我們制造出來很多,是我們更富有彈性。既是當壓力到了極限,他也可能有默寫積極效果--這也是為什么,一些精神科醫生開始定義創傷后應激障礙為:創傷后成長。"真正的生物化學和科學偏見說壓力總是不好的,但是臨床上說,確實有證據說明壓力對某些人來說有意義。"Orloff說,"我們需要一個新的研究姿態來找出一個更好的辦法使壓力更好的服務于我們。"否則,我們會在讓我們自己跳出壓力這方面浪費很多時間,而事實是我們強調了。

    當我開始告訴研究者們"壓力的益處"時,他們中的大多數說這個基本上不存在。"我們從不告訴大眾壓力對他們有益。"其中一個說。另外一個允許它存在,但僅僅在某些小方面存在,在很短的時間里存在。那些飽受壓力摧殘的人怎么樣呢?我問--那些是警察、急診室文件管理者、空中協管員,因為他們看起來沉溺于混留言之中而使各類事物有序。他們不吧他們經歷過的壓力看做是一種優勢么?不,研究院回答,這類人心里不健康。"這類人說他們'沉溺于壓力'中?這是事實。"Bruce Rabin告訴我。他是Pittsburgh School of Medicine學校的病理神經學家、病理學家及精神病學家。他說,那些沉溺于壓力并且相信這樣的狀態會使他們成癮的成年人在長期受到高水平的腎上腺素和皮質醇影響下,像孩子一樣或者受到長期影響。甚至他們以前不這樣,他補充道,他們"試著去滿足"一些生理需求。他是否到達了一個病理狀態?我問道--傳說那些感覺到他們做的很好的是否有問題呢?他想了一下說:"你幾乎是在說:是的,你可以這么說。"

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關鍵詞: Health: 壓力 有害健康
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