There’s a lot to stress about – your financial future, your job, maybe the welfare of your children or aging parents. Whatever it is you find yourself ruminating about it and you can feel your anxiety go up. You are trying to deal with it but nothing seems to work. The stress always seems to be there.
Life in a technological society such as ours can be stressful. We are constantly faced with demands that affect our psychological, physiological and social well being.
The term stress was first coined in the 1950’s by Dr. Hans Seyle based upon his studies of what happens to animals who are injured or placed under unusual or extreme conditions. According to Dr. Seyle there is a stimulus that causes stress or, to use his term, a stressor. A stressor can be external, such as financial difficulties, marital problems, a troublesome boss, or they can be internal, such as upsetting thoughts and feelings.
Dr. Seyle defined stress as a response to a stimulus, or as “the non-specific response of the organism to any pressure or demand.”
It is important to learn how to effectively cope with stress as, for example, it can affect us on a physiological level by compromising our immune system; on a psychological level by causing us to feel anxious and/or depressed and, on a social level, by causing us to act out, e.g. outbursts of anger or an developing an over reliance on alcohol or drugs.