Definition of Stress

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According to The American Heritage® Stedman’s Medical Dictionary, the definition of stress is:

"a physical or psychological stimulus that can produce mental or physiological reactions that may lead to illness."

According to the Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, stress is defined as:

"a physical, chemical or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension and may be a factor is disease causation."

Defining Specific Types of Stress

There are different types of stress:

  • Eustress. This is good stress that occurs for a very short period of time before an important event. It often results in increased creativity, strength, concentration, enthusiasm and overall mental and physical performance.
  • Distress. This is the opposite of eustress, and it’s bad stress. Distress can be related to constant changes in your routine, whether small or big. Acute distress can be over quickly but chronic distress can last weeks to years.
  • Hyperstress. This type of stress affects those who are overworked.
  • Hypostress. Hypostress is the opposite of hyperstress and it affects those who aren’t challenged enough or bored with their work.
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). As the name indicates, this type of stress follows a trauma of some sort. Several military personnel experience post-traumatic stress disorder when they return from war-torn zones. The events that they witnessed or took part in affected them (understandably so…), causing PTSD.

Definition of Stress: Is All Stress Bad?

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Stress affects us all in different ways, and a person’s reactions will also be affected by the pre-existing level of stress and other significant events in the person’s life. Based on the definition of stress listed above, here are the three major ways in which people react to stress:

  • It enhances physical and mental capability (good stress, eustress or adaptative stress).
  • It creates or enhances a state of depression (bad stress or distress).
  • It creates a feeling of anxiety in the person (bad stress or distress).

How Do You Define Depression?

According to the Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, the definition of depression is:

"a psychoneurotic or psychotic disorder marked especially by sadness, inactivity, difficulty in thinking and concentration, a significant increase or decrease in appetite and time spent sleeping, feelings of dejection and hopelessness, and sometimes suicidal tendencies."

What Is Anxiety?

According to the Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, the definition of anxiety is:

"an abnormal and overwhelming sense of apprehension and fear oten marked by physiological signs (as sweating, tension, and increased pulse), but doubt concerning the reality and nature of the threat and by self-doubt about one's capacity to cope with it."

Other Resources to Help You Deal with Stress

Now that you know a little more about the definition of stress, depression and anxiety, and can differentiate between them, it’s time to reduce the impact stress has on your life.

You’ll find various articles related to stress in the footer of this website. I’m sure you’ll find several relaxation tips and techniques that will fit your lifestyle and that will enable you to lower your stress levels.