One sentence from today's “New York Times Magazine” article Stress Test by Peggy Orenstein really stressed me out!
“A Danish study of 6,689 women, published in 2005, found that those who were highly stressed were 40% less likely than others to get breast cancer.”
The only thing surprising about this statistic is that bunk like this is believed. Unless these Danish guinea pigs were being monitored night and day, the sentence should read “those WHO REPORTED BEING highly stressed were 40% less likely than others to get breast cancer.” In other words, those “40% less likely to get breast cancer” were fully aware of their stress, and thus able to confront it and, one assumes, better deal with it than, say, those who reported low stress levels as a result of being in sickly denial. And just like some people have bodies that naturally burn off excess calories, some people have minds that easily burn off excess stress. It’s not the amount of stress but how the organism handles it, the crux of the issue, that Orenstein unhealthily overlooks.