What is stress?

We are all familiar with the word “stress”. Stress is when you are worried about getting laid off your job, or worried about having enough money to pay your bills, or worried about your mother when the doctor says she may need an operation. In fact, to most of us, stress is synonymous with worry. If it is something that makes you worry, then it is stress.

Your body, however, has a much broader definition of stress. TO YOUR BODY, STRESS IS SYNONYMOUS WITH CHANGE. Anything that causes a change in your life causes stress. It doesn’t matter if it is a “good” change or a “bad” change, they are both stress. When you find your dream apartment and get ready to move, that is stress. If you break your leg, that is stress. Good or bad, if it is a CHANGE in your life, it is stress as far as your body is concerned.

Even IMAGINED CHANGE is stress. (Imagining changes is what we call “worrying”.) If you fear that you will not have enough money to pay your rent, that is stress. If you worry that you may get fired, that is stress. If you think that you may receive a promotion at work, that is also stress (even though this would be a good change). Whether the event is good or bad, imagining changes in your life is stressful.

  • Anything that causes CHANGE IN YOUR DAILY ROUTINE is stressful.
  • Anything that causes CHANGE IN YOUR BODY HEALTH is stressful.
  • IMAGINED CHANGES are just as stressful as real changes.

Let’s look at several types of stress — ones that are so commonplace that you might not even realize that they are stressful…….

Emotional Stress

When arguments, disagreements, and conflicts cause CHANGES in your personal life — that is stress.


Catching a cold, breaking an arm, a skin infection, a sore back, are all CHANGES in your body condition.

 Pushing Your Body Too Hard

 A major source of stress is overdriving yourself. If you are working (or partying) 16 hours a day, you will have reduced your available time for rest. Sooner or later, the energy drain on your system will cause the body to fall behind in its repair work. There will not be enough time or energy for the body to fix broken cells, or replace used up brain neurotransmitters. CHANGES will occur in your body’s internal environment. You will “hit the wall, run out of gas”. If you continue, permanent damage may be done. The body’s fight to stay healthy in the face of the increased energy that your are expending is major stress.

Environmental Factors

Very hot or very cold climates can be stressful. Very high altitude may be a stress. Toxins or poisons are a stress. These factors threaten to cause CHANGES in your body’s internal environment.

 Allergic Stress

Allergic reactions are a part of your body’s natural defense mechanism. When confronted with a substance that your body considers toxic, your body will try to get rid of it, attack it, or somehow neutralize it. If it is something that lands in your nose, you might get a runny, sneezy nose. If it lands on your skin, you might get blistery skin. If you inhale it, you’ll get wheezy lungs. If you eat it, you may break out in itchy red hives all over your body. Allergy is a definite stress, requiring large changes in energy expenditure on the part of your body’s defense system to fight off what the body perceives as a dangerous attack by an outside toxin.