Understanding Stress


Kendra Leroux, Editor

Stress is a common thing everyone will experience throughout their lifetime. When people think about stress it is normally a bad thing, but Dr. Selye realized, “It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” One of the major issues when it comes to coping with stress is how it manifests differently in people. Stress is extremely normal, it can come from things like working on a school project or having relationship issues. Once people understand what the root problem of their stress is, and what stress actually is they can begin to manage it. 

The definition of stress according to MedlinePlus is, “a feeling of emotional or physical tension. It can come from any event or thought that makes you feel frustrated, angry, or nervous. Stress is your body’s reaction to a challenge or demand. In short bursts, stress can be positive, such as when it helps you avoid danger or meet a deadline.” More specifically, there are two types of stresses that majorly affect people daily. The first is acute stress, which is short-term and goes away quickly. You may feel this if you drop your phone, ski down a steep slope, or do something new and exciting. The next type of stress is chronic. This lasts for longer periods of time and may be experienced if schoolwork is becoming worrisome, or a person is being bullied. The issue with chronic stress is sometimes people aren’t aware it exists since it goes on for weeks and can become undetectable.

Lots of people associate stress as a negative issue, but not all stress is bad. In fact, the members of the Aurora Community Alliance say, “​​In a dangerous situation, stress signals the body to prepare to face a threat or flee to safety. In non-life-threatening situations, stress can motivate people, such as when they need to take a test or interview for a new job.” For students specifically, if stress is occurring during an academic period it could be helpful with increasing brain power. 

Knowing how stress happens, makes it easier to manage and to find healthy ways of dealing with it. There is no one size fits all approach to dealing with stress since not all ways work for everyone. There are many factors that determine how to deal with stress, including but not limited to gender and age. There are some signs to watch out for to see if you are stressed which could be forgetfulness, headaches, upset stomachs, lack of energy, etc. 

If you recognize these signs, the next thing to focus on is finding a healthy management process. The first major step to take is admitting there is an issue, once that happens you can continue through the process. Some common practices of stress management are eating healthy well-balanced meals, exercising on a regular basis, and talking to others. You can talk to a family member, therapist, friend, or basically anyone who is willing to listen. 

Next time you are feeling stressed, remember these techniques and try to implement them in your life. Remember to determine if the stress is good or bad, and to always be kind to yourself through the process. Take a breath when you feel its presence in your life.