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What is Stress?
Stress defies a single comprehensive definition. It is a universal syndrome comprised of various characteristics and symptoms affecting different human beings differently. Therefore stress has been defined variously by various professionals - psychologists, medics, management consultants and others. Whatever the definition, we all have experienced stress, and are possibly experiencing it at this moment. Each one of us therefore intuitively knows what stress is and can define it according to one’s own perspective.
The Positive Side of Stress
Strangely enough stress, though invariably associated with negative connotations, has its positive side also. Any creative process can be happily stressful. Participation in sports can be stressful for the competitors and theatrical performance can be stressful for the actors. It can be stressful for magicians enthralling the audiences with their tricks, creative designers and copy writers in advertisement campaigns, or clowns in the circus who send spectators in peals of laughter. The delivery of a baby may be a stressful yet a beautiful experience for a mother.
Stress - an Individual Response
While one activity may be a source of enjoyment for one individual,
the same activity becomes a cause of stress for another. The fear
of stepping upon the stage of a theatre, a sports arena or even delivering
a baby can force a person to spend sleepless nights.
The same situation becomes a painful obsession and acquires the characteristics of what is popularly known as stress. The fear of failure even in the so-called happy activities of sports and theatre may generate stress of detrimental nature. It therefore follows that the same project may not evoke the same response from all the persons engaged in it. Some people may take the project sportingly and creatively, while others feel stressed and worried. This therefore establishes that stress is only an individual response to a given situation. It is not generated by the situation itself. Everyone is different - some people plunge straightaway into the tempestuous and turbulent tides of a raging ocean, while others keep mulling anxiously whether or not to jump across a one foot wide drain near their house!