DEFINITION OF STRESS
What exactly is stress? We are all familiar with the expression “Stressed out”. It is an experience that can have a physical and a mental component. It is not a pleasant or comfortable experience. When we describe someone as looking stressed out we mean they are in distress. The most current definition states that it is the feeling or condition that occurs when we do not have sufficient resources to deal with the demands confronting us. Resources can include our own skills and abilities, outside help and support as well as appropriate tools and equipment and financial backing. Time can also be included as a resource. In fact when people talk about what is the biggest cause of stress in their lives, lack of time is frequently the main culprit. Each situation is unique and requires different combinations of resources. If we do not have sufficient resources then our stress level will rise. If our boss asks us to take on a project which we do not think we can handle this will probably make us feel stressed out. In this situation we may believe that we do not have the skills or the manpower to complete the job. Perhaps we feel crunched for time and that our boss does not appreciate the pressure he is putting us under. This can cause us to feel resentful and not want to cooperate with our boss. When we know how to handle a situation and have the resources to do so then we do not experience stress. Instead we might experience the exhilaration or excitement of knowing we can succeed even if the situation challenges us. Sometimes this is described as positive stress.