Stress is the "wear and tear" our bodies experience as we adjust to our continually changing surroundings. It has physical and emotional effects on us and can make good or bad feelings. As a good influence, stress can help motivate us to do something, or help us through the day. As a bad influence, it can result in feelings of distrust, rejection, anger, and depression (overall, make you feel really crappy), which in turn can lead to health problems such as headaches, upset stomachs, rashes, insomnia, ulcers, high blood pressure, heart disease, and strokes. With the death of a loved one, the birth of a child, a job promotion (or demotion), or a new relationship, we experience stress as we change our lives to cater to this. In so adjusting to different circumstances, stress will help or hurt us depending on how we react to it.
The circumstances that cause stress are called stressors. Stressors vary in harshness and duration. For example, the responsibility of caring for a sick parent may be an ongoing source of major stress, whereas getting stuck in a traffic jam may cause mild, short-term stress. Some events, such as the death of a loved one, are stressful for everyone. But in other situations, individuals may respond differently to the same event—what a stressor is for one person may not be stressor for another. For example, a student who is unprepared for a chemistry test and anticipates a bad grade may feel stress, on the other hand a classmate who studied may feel confident and anticipate a good grade. For an event or situation to be a stressor for a particular individual, the person must appraise the situation as threatening and lack the coping resources to deal with it effectively.
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