What is stress?

In early 70s, American sociologist Alvin Toffler had predicted that the rate of change in the world would accelerate to such a degree that a large number of people would experience shattering stress and disorientation. The effects of change will reach into every crevice of life, putting people more and more under pressure.

Why was all this predicted to happen??

With advancing times, human biological evolution (rate at which intelligence and physical capacity to work grow) will lag far behind developments in technology and lifestyle. This will result in a growing deficit between demands and resources and that in turn will give rise increasing physiological and psychological stresses.

Hence, Stress is “INABILITY TO COPE”

Any thing that can stress you is a ‘Stressor’!

Failure to adequately cope with stressor(s) is stress.
Stressors could be
– loud noise,

–         Debts (current financial melt down)

–         Constantly ringing telephones,

–         Broken relationships,

–         Unrealistic deadlines (TAT in corporate lingo)

–         Discouragement from boss/ peers

–         Fear / Anger (thee two are the two basic emotions that trigger stress; as has been explained elsewhere, Fear produces FLIGHT response and Anger produces FIGHT response) and

–         Scores of other things (to each his own)

Is it possible to avoid stress or stressors?

It is impossible to avoid stressors. The only totally stress-free state is DEATH!

But why should you think of avoiding it?? This shows that most people respond to the word stress, in a negative way. They see it as a destructive, weakening force.

Today (and in future), stress is virtually impossible to avoid. Those, who try to avoid stress, land up finding that avoidance strategies frequently generate more stress than reducing it.

What then??

Not all stress is negative.

EUSTRESS is positive stress. It results from exhilarating experiences. It is the type of stress likely to be experienced, when one receives an unexpected promotion or reward; It is the stress of winning and achieving.
DISTRESS on the other hand, is negative stress. It is the stress of losing, failing, overworking and not being able to cope.

Distress affects people in a negative, often harmful manner. We all experience distress from time to time.

The goal is to use stress as a positive, stimulating life-force by learning skills to confidently cope with the stressors of life.

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