What Is Stress?

Can stress be defined? Is it uniform all through the human race, in all people, across geographical boundaries and time?

What Is Stress?

Stress is probably one of the terms that are bandied about the most in the 21st century but people know about it the least. Though almost everyone says that they are stressed out, they cannot actually define stress.

So, what’s the definition anyway?

The Cambridge Dictionary (International Edition) defines stress as great worry caused by a difficult situation or something which causes this condition. The Oxford Dictionary defines it as pressure or worry resulting from mental or physical distress, difficult circumstances, etc.

From these definitions, we can arrive at this – When there is some situation or circumstance in our lives that we find difficult to cope with, the resulting condition in our mind is known as stress.

When we are stressed, we find it very difficult to rationalize our circumstances. In most people, it has been observed that stress can totally exhaust their mental potential to think. Even if there is a way out of their predicament, because of the stress, they will fail to see it. This is what makes the stressful situation worse. The problem is that when you have stress playing in your mind, the one sure way to remove it is to eliminate the circumstance that has caused it. But in many people, when stress begins to play on their minds, they are quite unable to think and so they do not understand what they must do to eliminate the cause. This worsens their stress.

In the 21st century, we find that stress has become quite commonplace. The rising competition has given rise to workplace stress. Most people carry their work home and can never come out of it, even when they are home with their families. Everyone is in high tempers, even within families, which gives rise to domestic stress. In addition, increasing costs, rising pollution, ever-growing traffic, etc. all contribute to stress in their own way.

The problem is that we cannot see the solution to these situations because we are so deeply entrenched in trying to cope with the problem. This is a global situation today. Even the string-pullers of society in whom we have entrusted the power to remedy such situations are stressed out and even they cannot come up with viable answers.

Stress could very well place itself among the top 3 problems of the current century. If we do not take steps to eradicate it as soon as possible, it will consume us much before global warming and its correlation can.

The best thing is that though stress is a collective problem, we can work individually at eliminating it. Becoming stress-free is largely in our hands.

Images courtesy of:
Gerd Altmann , Silvia , Pixabay

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What Is Stress?

Part 1 of Coping With Stress Series
Pam Byc
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