Civilization disease stress: Everything is a burden

Stress during Christmas already was a topoc – today, causes, effects and types of stress are to be considered in general.

The Austrian-Canadian scientist Hans Syles is regarded as a pioneer of stress research and is still today one of the most cited people on the subject of stress. In 1939 he published his first work, followed by a further 39 books and more than 1700 works on stress and the general adaptation syndrome (reaction of the body to long stress periods).

„I gifted a new word to all languages – stress.”
Hans Selye (1907 – 1982)

Stress is not only negative but rather it helped our ancestors survive, Hans Selye coined the terms eustress for positive and distress for negative stress. Today you know that there is only one kind of stress, whether this is perceived as good or bad depends on different factors. The length, the intensity and, above all, the situation of the stress are important. If a person is of the opinion that she can not cope with a task, she has a negative feeling. One – admittedly not for all persons – positive stress situation is a breed with a ride with the roller coaster. In general, it can be said that stress is a reaction to something menacing and always accompanied by a physical reaction.

Causes, amplifiers and dampers of stress

Stress can have different reasons, the following causes or stressors exist:

  • Life events: Separation, death of a loved one, job loss, victim of a crime, marriage, birth of a child, etc.
  • Daily hassles: Minor inconveniences and annoyances in everyday life can also result in a considerable strain on body and mind
  • Private problems: Here, above all, financial problems, disputes with family and friends are meant
  • Work problems: Unregulated working hours, bullying, performance pressure, over- or under-demand
  • Failure and existential fears
  • Environmental influences: For example, exposure to noise and light
  • Physical problems: Chronic, serious illness or overweight

Stress, however, is not only passive and depends on the factors mentioned, but also we as people actively influence it. Stress research attaches great importance to the interaction of requirements and available resources. Simply put: Each person brings different resources with him and evaluates requirements – also the stress situation – differently. If a situation is positively evaluated, this is accompanied by positive feelings (we remember the roller coaster ride). If, however, a situation is judged to be too challenging, too lossy, etc., the occurrence of negative feelings will inevitably occur. When evaluating stress, however, there are also intensifying and damping factors. These processes run unconsciously, since a conscious process is too time-intensive. For our ancestors, this could decide about life or death, struggle or flight.

Stress is subjective

Stress is – as already mentioned – different for everyone. Stress resistance is among other things also due to genetic reasons and develops already in the early childhood. However, stress is not helpless, even the subconscious processes in the assessment of stress situations can be influenced, for example, by relaxation exercises. Time management, conscious “being offline” and also the early detection of stressful situations can lead to more well-being. Social skills and good health can also be protected against stress.