STRESS AND THE STRESS DEFINITION EXPERIMENT
STRESS AND THE STRESS DEFINITION EXPERIMENT YOU NEED TO TRY
In consulting with individuals and organizations to assist people them with the stress, stress management and stress relief solutions, one particular question is often asked of our expert team. How would you define stress?
ASKING YOU ABOUT A STRESS DEFINITION
Our response is always the same and we put the question back to those who ask it, including you. How would you define stress? But even more importantly, how would you define the stress that you are experiencing now?
BEYOND JUST DEFINING STRESS
So why not simply answer the question with a clear definition of stress? Well, it is never as simple as that and actually defining and categorizing the term stress can be a complex process.
NO TWO ANSWERS ARE THE SAME
For all the thousands of people we have worked with and asked the question of how would you define the stress that you are experiencing? No two answers are exactly the same. The answers are often similar but never exactly the same.
STRESS, STRAIN, WORRY, TENSION, ANXIETY AND MORE
Stress experiences and defining your own stress is a personal experience. People use all sorts of words to define their stressful experiences. Some of the most common are words like anxiety, burden, pressure, worry, hardship, adversity, trauma, hassle and more. But despite some commonality of terms, every person’s individual definition of stress is uniquely different.
TRY THE STRESS TERMS EXPERIMENT
Try this experiment for yourself. Follow the steps below and listen very carefully to what people say when defining stress.
STRESS DEFINITION STEP ONE
Firstly, choose six people and ask them to give you a general definition for the word ‘stress’. Write down what they say. You will find that each person may use similar language but each definition is slightly different.
STRESS DEFINITION STEP TWO
Secondly, ask each person to define what the word ‘stress’ means to them personally. The words and meanings will change even further as each person relates the word stress back to their own circumstances and life experiences. Write down what they say and you will notice that the definitions change again and the words become more emotional as they become more personal.
STRESS DEFINITION STEP THREE
Thirdly, ask each person to complete these two sentences. Stress makes me feel (fill in the blank). I feel stressed when (fill in the blank). You will start to hear more and more words that surround the term stress. Besides the words we spoke of previously, such as pressure, worry, anxiety, burden, tension, trauma, strain, hassle, etc. You’ll also hear other words like burnt out, overextended, traumatized, shocked and more.
WHAT TO REMEMBER ABOUT STRESS DEFINITIONS
Now you have a long list of words and multiple definitions of stress. And that is from just six people, not thousands. So what do you do with all these varying definitions of stress? Well here are two insights to keep in mind right now.
STRESS AND MULTIPLE DEFINITIONS
Understand that there is no ultimate definition of stress. There is no universal stress definition. There are multiple stress definitions. Even the experts into stress research and stress management cannot agree on one definition of stress as it relates to human functioning.
STRESS AND PAY ATTENTION TO THE FEELINGS
It is time to stop stressing about finding the ultimate definition for stress. Stop trying to classify and characterize the term stress into a single stress definition. To understand and help yourself and others, in the area of stress management and stress relief, focus elsewhere. Focus more on the feelings evoked by the words each person uses to describe their own stress.
For yourself, become aware of how your own body reacts and the words you use when you complete these two sentences below. These words and reactions are the ‘keys’ to your own personal definition of stress and also how you can begin to deal with and manage your stress:
- Stress makes me feel (fill in the blank)
- I feel stressed when (fill in the blank)
YOUR PERSONAL DEFINITION OF STRESS
Remember, the most relevant definition of stress is your own. It is always your own personal definition of stress that is more important than any other. So let’s ask you again. How would you define stress? And how would you define the stress that you are experiencing now?
FROM THE GLOBAL ORGANIZATION FOR STRESS
This stress related article and information is brought to you by the Association of the Global Organization for Stress. Sign up as a member today. Your free membership includes our complimentary ‘101 Ways to Less Stress’ Guide and regular strategies for dealing with stress.
Please Note: Stress can result in severe health related issues. This stress related information is provided as guidance only and should not be considered as a form of therapy or professional advice. If expert assistance is needed, then a suitably competent health professional should be consulted in relation to your stress.
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