what is stress

Stress in HSPs may be different than for non-HSPs although everyone is negatively impacted by too much of it.

Believe it or not there is no widely accepted definition of stress because it is a subjective sensation and not easily defined by the scientific community.

It is, therefore, hard to quantify it since what is stressful for one person since it may not be the same for another.

Some dictionaries define stress as “physical, mental , or emotional strain or tension” or “a condition or feeling experienced when a person perceives that demands exceed the personal and social resources the individual is able to mobilize” according to the American Institute of Stress. When people say call something stressful they usually mean an unpleasant sensation, a cause for concern, an experience of not being able to meet a threat or challenge.

Sometimes people use the phrase “positive stress”, which is shorthand for a challenge that stretches us but one that we know we can meet. It is probably more useful to separate challenges and stressors in one’s mind since stress implies the idea of depleting resources whereas, challenge suggests a building up of resources.

Stressful Living From A Different Point of View

The American lifestyle is a stress-creating lifestyle. Americans work too many hours, often do not have enough sleep to sustain themselves, eat too much and often the wrong foods, spend too many hours on visual entertainment, and exercise little. It is very stressful lifestyle because there are so many stressors and causes of tension. Since most people are very busy, they often neglect their stressful feelings until the negative impact on body and mind becomes urgent. Frequently much damage to the body has been done before the crisis emerges.

A holistic perspective creates the opportunity to view stress from multiple, different perspectives, from the specific to the general.

There are three major reasons to consider a holistic perspective:

  1. Once the signs emerge and are apparent the damage to the body can be hard to reverse. Many chronic illnesses can be thought of as the consequence of a form of unaddressed stressful circumstance lived over a long period of time.
  2. When an individual has a complete picture of their stress reduction needs, that individual is more empowered and more likely to be effective in minimizing stressful situations. It is possible to identify the areas of live that are most problematic and as a result set priorities in tackling stress-creating issues.
  3. Lower stressful situations means lower medical needs and lower medical costs, which can only improve quality of life.

HSPs need to ask themselves the question: “What is stressful for me?”

With some insight it is possible to then think holistically about stress by taking a step back in order to move forward in a better, more effective way.