What is stress?

What is stress?

Stress is usually a good thing, as it often leads to a boost in performance and well-being, which we can use to deal with the cause of our stress. But sometimes, persistent stress can become a negative influence, causing damage to your body and mind.

The first and most important point about stress is that it is a perfectly natural part of our lives.

The nature and experience of stress has changed over time due to the impact of technology and civilisation. Nowadays, a typical stressor is more likely to be the sight of a 25-page assignment, as opposed to seeing a lion in your front yard!

Dr Hans Selye is credited with introducing the concept of stress in a medical context. Whilst conducting lab experiments in the 1930’s he discovered that when you are exposed to a stressor, an automatic hormonal stress response is triggered. This stress response continues until the cause of the stress is resolved, or until your body’s stress response reserves becomes depleted.

The difference between the experience of positive stress and negative stress lies in the nature (real or imagined) of the stressor, the duration of the stressor, and your ability to cope with the stressor.


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