Stress Defined

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 10,952
    Nutrition Expert Elizabeth Blumberg defines stress.

    Elizabeth Blumberg: Hi, I am Elizabeth Blumberg and we are talking about the connection between nutrition and stress. Let's take a look at the history of stress. The word of stress comes from a 14th century Middle English word that's called destresse, which actually means to draw tight. By the early 1920s, this word was being used in psychological circles to basically refer to mental strain that patients were undergoing.

    By 1936, an endocrinologist in Canada by the name of Hans Selye began to get a little curious about stress and actually wondered if our stress was in fact bad. So Doctor Selye began a very in depth exploration study of stress. Initially, he came up with a very specific definition of stress. It's quite technical but it goes as follows; "Stress is defined as the consequences of the failure of a human or animal body to respond appropriately to emotional or physical threats whether actual or imagined.

    " Now it's kind of a mouthful.

    Interestingly, there is a word that's used in this definition that I think is very important to point out, and that's the word failure because in fact the stress response is a very uniquely orchestrated, very sophisticated process that takes place and an effort for our bodies to actually help heal themselves. Now Doctor Selye decided that with this information, he wanted to take a closer look.

    Again, he didn't actually feel that stress was bad. Initially, he came up with the first form of stress which most of us are familiar with. This is called distress, which is a negative form of stress. Typically, it results from some kind of a physical or emotional trauma and leaves a very unpleasant state of being. Now he came also in contact with another form of stress that he decided to call eustress, and this is actually a good form of stress.

    What he found is that the forms of good stress, such as the thrills in life, a celebration or wedding, a happy event, actually have a positive and beneficial effect on our body immunologically, psychologically, as well as biochemically. And furthermore, he has actually found that individuals who are exposed to this form of good stress have a better ability at coping in today's society.

    Now that you have a better understanding of the history of stress, next, we are going to take a more scientific look at your stress-coping glands called your adrenals.