What is stress?

I often get asked "What is stress", "What causes stress?", and my favorite, "What's the definition of stress? ". That last one is usually asked by someone who likes to figure things out. If they can just get a solid scientific definition of stress, they'll be able to figure it out. Whenever I get asked these questions about "what is stress?, I usually don't answer them. Instead I ask a question of my own. One which I've found very reliable in helping someone determine if they are stressed or not.

When was the last time you had real fun?

Laughter1

Think about your answer to that question for yourself.

If your memory of fun is recent the chances are you are not highly stressed.

Responses I get vary. Some people immediately smile and begin to tell me about some exciting adventure or some hilarious recent episode in their life and while speaking do not appear at all under stress.

Others have to think about it for a while before remembering an event.

If it takes a while to remember the last fun you had, chances are you may be experiencing mild symptoms of stress.

A few look blank and can't remember any recent fun. And a few others glare at me and demand, "Can you define for me what you mean by fun?" And they tend to look like they are under stress when asking.

Fun is not exactly the same as bliss but it's in the same family. And bliss can't happen with stress present. If you are stressed out, bliss will be hard to come by, and often fun will be scarce as well. So if your answer to that question didn't immediately make you smile as you recalled a recent fun memory, you might want to ask this question. "What's in the way of me having more fun in my life?"

Why do we use fun to define stress or to answer the question "what is stress?" or help us understand the cause of stress?

Often stress and lack of fun come from the same source. We are not managing our lives but instead are being swept down the stream of life by a tide of circumstance. That can be stressful and can lead to more stress over time. If this applies to you and you are aware of it, you are way ahead of the game. Many people are not.

If you are aware and you want to change it, and want to learn a stress management process that will help you do so, you can.

Many people will tend to blame someone or something as being the the issue responsible for both their lack of fun and the cause of their stress. It might be a spouse that causes stress, a stressful job, kids, time, economic stress, or just life in general. If your answer included any of these you need to ask this one. "What do I need to do to create fun in my life and why am I letting my excuse stop me?"

If you are aware and you want to change it, you can!

What Causes Stress - read more

Research on Biggest Causes of Stress

How To Deal With Stress

10 Ways to Reduce Stress

Physical Effects of Stress

Symptoms of Stress

Tips For Reducing Stress

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