So What IS Stress?

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stress-supportSo, what is stress? Well, the definition is that stress is your response to demands and challenges. This response may be physical or psychological and is nearly always a combination of both. The subtle but crucial thing here is that stress is something we experience due to our own response to things. Stress comes from within us. It is triggered and caused by external things but is created in ourselves. This happens when we do not feel that we can cope or manage a situation; we experience stress when things “get too much” for us. There are many things that cause stress (called “stressors”) but some of the worst include:

  • Loss – death of a loved one, divorce or separation, getting fired
  • Change – changing jobs, moving house, new baby, new marriage
  • Illness – personal or family
  • Money worry – indebtedness and other financial concerns
  • Conflict – family, social, workplace

You can see that not all of these are “negative” things as such, but the changes involved do create stress for us even so. The other important thing is to understand that stress results when your coping capacity is exceeded – some people have more and others less, coping capacity.

The secret to handling stress lies in building coping capacity (because avoiding stressors is hard or even impossible).

About the Author:

Colin was a medical practitioner (GP) from 1988 to 2000. Since then he has worked in the wellness field, designing, developing and delivering various products and services. Out of clinical practice for many years now he no longer practices medicine formally but retains a keen interest in helping people become more-well versions of themselves. He acts as a wellness coach and not as a medical practitioner today. Colin's approach and philosophy is based on empowerment: the notion that people only need a little help to make choices they usually already want to anyway - it's about respect and support rather than instruction or correction. Colin lives at the Vaal Dam with his wife Cathy. He spends time walking mountains, cycling, motorbike riding, kayaking, sailing and always looking for better & better balance.

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