Definition of Stress

The first definition of stress given in the very large, but old dictionary I have had since 1967 is:

  • "importance or significance given to a matter, ie, to lay stress on the classics." It isn't until 6th entry under stress that this dictionary gives the description of "emotional or intellectual strain or tension!"
  • Wow! Does that say something to us about life in the 60s compared to now?

    The google dictionary defines it this way:

  • "If you feel under stress, you feel worried because of difficulties in your life."
  • Another definition from the National Library of Medicine is:

  • "Tension, jitters, apprehension. Stress can come from any situation that makes you feel frustrated, angry, or anxious. What is stressful to one person is not necessarily stressful to another."
  • A good definition of stress is:

  • "How the body responds emotionally, physically, and behaviorally to a stressor (the cause of stress)".

definition of stress is like a frayed rope

There is no way we can avoid stress. It is a common part of life, and can actually be helpful at times! Really. Having stress can motivate us:

  • to move faster
  • to do better
  • to finish what we start
  • to meet deadlines
  • to be more productive
  • to win a game
We might even call that good stress, actually it is called eustress.

Too much stress, on the other hand can be damaging. If we are unable to avoid the effects of stress it can set us up for:

  • a decline in health
  • a lowered immune system
  • physical disease
  • ulcers
  • digestive problems
  • phychological illnesses
  • depression
  • heart disease
  • and even mental illness

Another thing stress can do is cause us to be involved in unhealthy behavior such as:

  • alchohol or drug abuse
  • overeating
  • or undereating


Physically, one of the first things that takes place when we feel stress is the release of hormones associated with the "fight or flight" response. This results in short-term resistance as a coping mechanism, exhaustion or even irritability. Even ones ability to concentrate may be impaired.

Such hormones as adrenalin and cortisol are released into the blood stream. These cause an increase of blood sugar and oxygen levels among other things. There is also an increase of blood flow produced which can result in an increased alertness and awareness of everything around you even though confusion may exist.

Because increased blood flow is sent to the the brain and muscles, other systems of the body such as the immune system, the digestive tract, and body repair processes are suppressed or slowed down.

Immediate symptoms stress can include:

  • accelerated heart rate
  • muscle tension
  • a dry mouth
  • increased perspiration
  • hair standing up
  • headaches
  • dizziness
  • heartburn
  • fatigue
  • insomnia

So there we have a definition of stress. And what good does it do? A lot of good.

Understanding stress is a good thing. When we know what it is and how it works we can recognize when we have it and we can do something to resolve it before it gets out of control.

We can:

Learning to cope and/or adapt to stress can and will go a long way in keeping us physically and mentally strong.

a definition of stress uses a frayed rope analogy

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For More Related Ideas on
Stress:

Benefits of Laughter

Affects of Stress

Dealing With Stress

Natural Stress Relief

Motivational Thoughts

Funny Short Stories

21 Best Ways to Relax

How to Sleep Better

Massage Techniques - Shiatsu


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