What is stress
Lately the notion “stress” became very popular – not without reason the
past 20th century was called the century of stress. There is 21st century
now but stress, knowing no boundaries, with ease stepped into a new
millennium and goes on strengthening its positions.
Everyone experienced it, all say about it but very few ones asked a question,
what stress is?
Dictionaries and encyclopedias give the following answers to this question:
Stress - is a state of tension which a person feels as affected by
Stress – is a non-specific protective response of organism in answer to
unfavorable changes of environment.
Definitions given above are laconic and simple, but to understand what stress
is you shouldn’t look at dictionaries - to look around is enough. Stress –
is all that surrounds us. Stress is our life. In the world of Pepsi and
computers we can not live out of this state. It breaks in our life from the
very morning, together with the wake-up call, and then…Then all happens by
one and the same scenario – jamming (for automobilists), morning crowding in
transport ( for others), work, call to the boss, problems with children,
quarrels with relatives, “not that sort of” sex, bad sleep. “And such trash
happens every day”.
Is it possible to live without stress? The science affirms that no. Life hates
constancy and stability, and of course it is life –that is the main source
of stress. That is why only death totally saves a person from stress
The notion “stress” came into existence comparatively recently – in 1936 in an
easy state of mind of the scientist, Nobel laureate Hans Selye. Of course
stress existed before as well – but oxygen also was opened only in 17th
century, but still and all people breathed with something before it. Selye
took a technical term “stress” meaning “tension”, “strain”, “pressure” from
the science about resistance of materials and used it in relation to a
person. To be more exact, at first not to a person but to ordinary
laboratory rats which he made experiments with at that time.
When Selye prosected rats he found out pathologic changes in their internals.
When Selye opened cages rats often run away and then rushed around the whole
laboratory for a long time saving themselves from their torturer.
Considerable amount of time passed before he caught them and put them on
place. According to Selye, the process of escape and capture was the reason
of discovered pathologic changes.
Then Selye acted very badly with rats and the laboratory started to remind
inquisition torture chambers, though Selye himself called all this just a
“special creation of stress situations”. The fantasy of stress creator knew
no boundaries. Sometimes he suddenly supplied current to the cage and then
rats jumped into the air, sometimes he swathed them for them not to be able
to move, sometimes he made them to swim for a long time or exposed to loud
sounds. Then Selye, having shown mercy, started to warn rats about upcoming
supply of current with a call which, of course, lowered stress level because
most of the time rats could not fear electric shock.
After all this rats got under scalpel of researcher and they had the same
pathologic changes. This led Selye to the following conclusion: it has no
difference which influence rats were affected by – prosection had to show
one and the same pathology. Ulcer of stomach turned out to be dominant
character of stress.
Consequently, stress was determined as “non-specific reaction of organism to
In other words, Selye made a conclusion that the reason of pathologic changes
is not external influence itself (electric shock, swathe or noise) but the
reaction of rat’s organism to these influences.