As I researched the definition of stress, I got overwhelmed by all the technical terms and definitions of stress that are out there. I was getting “stressed out” looking up a definition for the word stress. The word stress has many meanings; putting pressure on something, bodily or physical tension, a constraining force or influence, force exerted on something and much more. When I think of stress what comes to mind are:
- Financial pressures
- Feeling like I don’t have enough time in the day
- Upset and anger
- No margin for error
What is Stress
The definition of stress is different to different people. Stress has not always been a bad thing. If you were being chased by a bear or tiger, yes your body will be in a state of stress but this stress is important because it will keep you alive. Many people call this “fight of flight response” which is your body’s primitive, automatic response as it prepares to flee from harm or danger. Mild stress can be positive because it can keep a person on their toes to be more alert in a potentially dangerous places. But mild and acute stress experienced day after day over time begin to build up stress hormones in your body.
Signs and Symptoms of Stress
In today’s society many of us are walking around with low levels of stress, from just our day to day busy lifestyles. There is more that needs to be managed in modern day society. We now have more bigger houses to maintain, that require more furniture and fixtures. Almost all families now have have multiple motor vehicles they are maintaining such as 2 cars, a boat, a motorcycle etc. All this “stuff” can be contributing to a persons stress levels.
The average American sees three thousand ads a day, which breaks down to about 200 every waking hour, more than 3 every waking minute, this is an overwhelming amount of knowledge to sift through. Today we have more technology and information that we need manage in our lives. If information and technology is not managed it can quickly overwhelm us and contribute to overall stress.
Cause of Stress
There are many things that can contribute to stress in our lives, below are some common causes of stress.
- Death: of spouse, friend or family
- Health: injury, illness, pregnancy
- Crime: sexual abuse, mugging, burglary, pick-pocketed
- Self-abuse: drug abuse, alcoholism, self-harm
- Family change: separation, divorce, new baby, marriage
- Argument or conflicts: with spouse, family, friends, co-workers, boss
- Physical changes: lack of sleep, new work hours, new job, moving
- Money: lack of it, owing it, investing it
The American Psychological Association in September 2007 conducted a study on stress in America and found that 79 percent of Americans agreed that success is a fact of life and one-third of people in the U.S. regularly report experiencing extremes levels of stress and nearly half of Americans believe that stress has increased over the past five years. To read more on stress stats click here.