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One Person's Junk is Another Man's Treasure: A Definition of Stress

Definition of Stress: Stress is an internalized reaction to an external event.

The trick to creating a definition of stress is to understand that when an event is internalized, reactions become extremely varied from person-to-person.

Stress responses depend on a person's unique physiological make-up, and this is where it can get a little complicated.

Although we all have the same physical bodily components, the hardwiring is extremely different from person-to-person, depending on our mental perceptions, which in turn depend on things like:

  • Our belief systems
  • Our past and current life experiences
  • Environmental factors and conditions
  • Issues of self-worth, self-esteem and self-love

Due to the vastly different physiology of every human on the planet, we discover the stress paradox and the truth behind the concept that one person's junk, may be another man's treasure.

What may be stressful for one person, may have little effect, or conversely, be pleasurable to someone else. Hiking a mountain and over-looking the glorious and breath taking view at the summit may elicit joy, excitement and thrill for some, but for others with a fear of heights would be completely paralyzing.

The key then is to systematically identify what constitutes your particular pile of junk, and what makes up the crown jewels in your unique treasure chest. As a health coach, I have the opportunity to walk you through this process in depth.

(Photo compliments of flickr.com)


How then can we create a Definition of Stress when it looks and feels different to everyone?

We cannot.

It is for this reason that the American Institute of Stress states that there is no definition of stress that everyone agrees on. Likewise, it is also a challenge to measure stress if there is no agreement on its definition.

In general, I like to speak about stress in three general categories:

  • Physical Stress: posture, sporting injuries, tight muscles, joint misalignments, etc

  • Chemical Stress: hormonal imbalances, unhealthy food choices, dehydration, environmental pollution, etc

  • Emotional Stress: fears, anxieties, relationship issues, etc.

For simplicity, I will present to you my own Definition of Stress:

It is based on the following mathematical equations:

Health = Positive Life Stressors are greater than Negative Life Stressors

Dis-ease = Negative Life Stressors are greater than Positive Life Stressors

Let me clarify a little further, as this is important to understand. Life is made up of stressors, but contrary to popular belief, stress is not always negative. Positive stress, like the birth of a baby, or changing careers, or digesting our food are wonderful events that enable us to evolve and grow.

Although stress relief is all about controlling our negative stress, it is in the same token transforming our negative life stressors into positive ones. It is in this way that we learn to live our dreams in health, wellness, peace and happiness.

Yours In Wellness,

Dr. Lisa

To understand more about the Definition of Stress, please continue learning and applying your knowledge through the following pages:

Hans Selye: Meet the 'father' of stress and the history of this modern day epidemic.

Fight or Flight Response: Understand your body's reaction to stress and adrenaline's creation of your racing heart and sweaty palms.

HPA Axis: Getting more technical, we understand the interaction of the hypothalamus and pituitary glands of the brain to the adrenal glands that sit just above the kidneys.

Causes of Stress: Exploring the depth of where our stresses come from.

Effects of Stress: Stress effects can be subtle, understand how to identify the effects before they snowball into disease states.

Stress Symptoms: Learn to listen to your body's warning signals.

Stress Related Illness: Up to 80% of modern day disease can be attributed to stress, the ramifications are huge.

Mental Perception: Understand how your brain is wired to trigger different emotional responses.

Biggest Causes of Stress: Check out what make's the top of the list.

Stress Quiz: Quantify your stress using this simple measure.

Return to Doctor Recommended Stress Relief Home Page

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