What is stress?

Stress is a part of our every day vocabulary. When we talk about stress, we talk about the causes of stress (or ‘stressors’), the consequences of stress in our minds or in our bodies, and the experiences we all have regarding stress.

But what is stress actually?

Stress is an interpretation of the environment.

There is no such thing as stress without us perceiving it. Stress is caused in the interplay between the individual and the environment (Lazarus & Folkman, 1984). It is the combination of factors in the environment that you interpret as stressful, and which then cause symptoms in your body. The severity and repercussions of these symptoms depend on what your coping mechanisms are.