The Truth that BBC1's 'Truth About Stress' Programme Missed

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I was delighted to see BBC1 tackling the global stress epidemic during its Truth About Stress programme that aired recently. Yet, despite 60 minutes of primetime TV spent on it, BBC missed one truth about stress that, once known, can help millions of us become free from the more harmful forms of chronic stress - for good. 

The programme started with the presenter Fiona Phillips listing all the things that stresses the average person out. And it was a very looooong list. They also followed a few 'average people' and observed that their physical stress levels went up and down depending on what happened during their 'average day'. The blame for their stress was put mainly on what happened during their day and among other things, recommendations to reduce stress included drinking more water, eating breakfast, doing some exercise and using mindfulness. All sounds good so far. Well done BBC!

However, there is one truth about stress that can be a genuine game changer - that unfortunately didn't receive any air time.

Those open to alternative approaches to improving health often conclude that stress is the cause of compromised health and that stress is caused by what happens in daily life. However, this is not necessarily the case. Although stress has been linked with inflammation, reduced immunity, cardiovascular disease, digestion disorders, and the speed, growth and spreading of certain cancers. Based upon the evidence, chronic stress is most definitely harmful to health. However, I don’t believe that stress is the ultimate cause of conditions, but rather another one of the many symptoms, brought on by a lesser-known cause.

Stress is not caused by stress. Stress is the consequence of something other than itself. This means stress is a symptom too, but of what? In my experience and observations, stress is determined by how in conflict we are with life. Remember, although it appears on the surface that you are stressed because of what’s happening, stress is not caused by circumstance, but by your relationship with what occurs. By calming your inner conflict with what's happening, we have a better relationship with life, and experience far less harmful forms of stress and a calm physical climate that promotes anti-ageing and optimum health.

In short, don't fall into the common belief that says you are stressed BECAUSE of what happens. The reality is you are stressed BECAUSE you are in conflict with what happens. By improving your relationship with life, it matters far less what happens and, in the spirit of the BBC, you can keep calm and carry on...


Sandy is a modern-day monk, creator of Calmology and multi-bestselling author. His books include Mind Calm, Body Calm and the new Calm Cure: The Unexpected Way to Improve Your Health, Your Life and Your World.

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