In physics stress is defined as the force per unit area within a material that arises from externally applied forces, uneven heating, or permanent deformation, and that permits an accurate description and prediction of elastic, plastic, and fluid behavior. Stress is a force in our lives. Often it is a stronger perceived force that the actual event causing the stress.
Webster’s dictionary offers many different definitions of stress: one of these definitions relates to constraining force or influence. This is closer to the stress we experience. Stress is often constraining, and in some cases paralyzing, to our wellbeing. Sometimes we don’t recognize that we are experiencing stress and find ourselves wondering why we can’t find our keys or why we just can’t shake this headache.
Psychology defines stress as the process by which we perceive and respond to certain events, called stressors, that we appraise as threatening or challenging our resources. With this definition we can see how events in our lives become stressors. More importantly, this definition shows us that stress is very subjective, meaning that we decide what is stressful and what is not.
Stress affects our life in numerous ways. We need stress to motivate us, keep our minds sharp, and push us in new directions. We are designed to handle stress, not to let stress handle us. Healthful stress is called eustress, a term coined by endocrinologist Hans Selye. The difference between the words eustress and stress is in how we handle stressors. If we see a stressor as a challenge and push through it, learning and growing from the experience, we have experienced eustress. If we see a stressor as threatening our resources, and crumble or become prey to a myriad of potential negative consequences, we have experienced distress.
Education is the most powerful tool to living a stress free life!
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This blog was started as a fun way to get information out about various topics in the wide world of stress management. If you have any suggestions for posts, please feel free to comment below or send an e-mail. Sit back relax and enjoy.