Stress is considered the result of the interaction between the person and its environment.

It can be considered as a state of inadequacy, of divergence between how the person perceives the situation and how the person thinks about being able to face the situation (or not being able to). The person can then feel a sense of incapability and may think that she is losing control of the situation: this is the reaction of stress.

The reaction of stress goes back to our mechanism of survival, to the stone age when men had to hunt to procure themselves food. A classical example that is done during the training courses on stress management is the following: if you find yourself alone in front of a lion, what would you do? There are three possibilities: fight, flight or freeze. These reactions allow us to react rapidly in a situation of danger. And they are still applicable today.

Nevertheless, our brain, and our body as a consequence, can react in this way also to situations that don’t represent a threat, like for instance being stuck in traffic jams, family or work difficulties.

At a somatic level the reaction to stressful situations is translated in a series of hormonal and metabolic changes, like for example the acceleration of the cardiac pulsation, increase of the arterial pressure, excessive production of sweat.

At a psychological level, stress is translated as an accentuation of the state of vigilance and emotional state (tension, feeling of discomfort) that causes a state of nervousness or an inhibition of the psycho-engine.

If the reaction of stress is short, the person succeeds in adapting. If the reaction persists hours or even days,  it becomes intense or chronic, then you may have some health problems.

Recently, I watched a TED talk on how to make stress your friend. It is a very interesting and innovative approach, have a look at it and let me know what you think.