Stress is a feeling that’s created when we react to particular events. It’s the body’s way of rising to a challenge and preparing to meet a tough situation with focus, strength, stamina, and heightened alertness.
The events that provoke stress are called stressors, and they cover a whole range of situations – everything from outright physical danger to making a class presentation or taking a semester’s worth of your toughest subject.
Stress and the way we think
Particularly in normal working life, much of our stress is subtle and occurs without obvious threat to survival. Most comes from things like work overload, conflicting priorities, inconsistent values, over-challenging deadlines, conflict with co-workers, unpleasant environments and so on. Not only do these reduce our performance as we divert mental effort into handling them, they can also cause a great deal of unhappiness.
What is the effect of acute stress?
The best way to envision the effect of acute stress is to imagine oneself in a primitive situation, such as being chased by a bear.
The Brain’s Response to Acute Stress
In response to...