The first definition of stress given in the very large, but old dictionary I have had since 1967 is:
Wow! Does that say something to us about life in the 60s compared to now?
The google dictionary defines it this way:
Another definition from the National Library of Medicine is:
A good definition of stress is:
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:
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:
Another thing stress can do is cause us to be involved in unhealthy behavior such as:
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:
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.
Learning to cope and/or adapt to stress can and will go a long way in keeping us physically and mentally strong.
"The human race has one really effective weapon, and that is laughter". --Mark Twain
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