What is Stress?

If you're a Baby Boomer, you've already got a pretty good experiential understanding of what is stress. But we'll take a good close look at it in this section.



How You React to Stress

Your body reacts to what is stress in a fight or flight way. This reaction stems from when we needed to protect ourselves in the wild. Back then, you either ran from danger or turned to fight it. Today, since you don't have to deal with wild animals and the challenges of outdoor living your body has the fight or flight reaction to everyday causes for your anxious feelings.

Whereas this reaction used to save human life against physical dangers, the body now perceives stress as a danger. Your body reacts by producing more adrenalin, noradrenalin, and cortisol. These can turn up your heart rate, make you more alert, make you sweat and sharpen muscle reactions. Some systems could slow down though during this time like your digestive system. All of these help protect you from what your body perceives as danger.

Your reactions could vary slightly depending on what is causing the stress, but the above are the main reactions. Often your thoughts can make the situation you are feeling anxiety over better or worse. It all depends on the way you look at it.



If you look at a situation as a threat then you might react in a way that will make it worse. You could even have a panic attack over it, which is a result of stress getting out of hand. Other times you can view your anxiety-filled situation as a challenge to be overcome. This is the more constructive way to deal with stress. Most anxiety can be overcome with the right solutions,but you may need to stop a moment and get your thoughts together.

If you have the right skills and resources to deal with your stressful situation, then your definition of stress is not the same as someone who does not have them. So if you are truly overwhelmed and do not know how to handle your stress look at your abilities. You may need to learn some new skill to help you cope better.



Everyone sees their situations differently therefore, there is no one method of dealing with stress. So the way you deal with a situation will drastically differ from how your neighbor handles it. There are many skills and resources to help with stress today though.

You may think that all stressful situations are negative ones. Not at all! Bringing a new baby home from the hospital and having to learn to be a parent for the first time is big time stress! Trying to housebreak that cute little puppy can be stressful. For these kinds stresses just have to learn to adjust to them for the stress to go away.



So whatever your stress is, whether negative or positive, I hope this definition of stress helps you to deal with it better. Now that you know what is stress you can also watch out for the warning signs. You can search out medical help as well as read these additional stress topics The Ol' Boomer has made available for you:

The signs and symptoms of stress

The causes of stress

Stress Management Techniques

Stress Reducers

Exercise and stress

Stress relief games

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Where to go now?

Return to Baby Boomers Health Issues

Return from What is Stress to Home

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