Tuesday, May 3, 2016

What is Stress?

"Suffering becomes beautiful when anyone bears great calamities with cheerfulness, not through insensibility but through greatness of mind." - Aristotle
We've all said it at one point or another; "I'm stressed out!" But what is stress? We all feel and experience it. Some of us deal with it better than others. There are varying degrees, and it usually builds when not dealt with. Though, when we use this word, that one little word hardly describes how we are actually feeling. "I'm stressed," hardly explains the turmoil and struggle we are going through, or so we think. I feel this way about a lot of words; they just don't explain how I'm really feeling.

Or do they? The definition for stress packs quite a punch. Even though it feels severely inadequate, there is a lot more to these five letters than meets the eye. Stress refers to a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances. This definition definitely stresses the word stress, but I don't get quite the same satisfaction from using one word as I do from looking at this definition.  

When people ask what's wrong, I'll start by saying I'm sad or angry or stressed. We all do. Then I plunge into a long explanation of why I'm stressed, trying desperately to stress just how intricate and complex my stress is.


Strain means to force oneself to make a strenuous or unusually great effort, or to make severe or excessive demands, excessive meaning more than is necessary, normal or desirable. Now this sounds far more satisfying. "I have asked my mind and emotions to do more than is normal, or necessary, or even desirable." Now doesn't that sounds much more stressful than saying we are stressed?


Why does the word stress not stress how stressful stress really is?

(The word stress is beginning to not even look like a word.)

The truth is, as I saw when I broke down and explored the definition, it really does! We just don't know the true meaning! We have either lost or never really learned or remembered what the word stress actually means. We do this, all the time. I do this with all sorts of words. I'm never satisfied because I don't know or can't remember what a word actually means. Sure, I can tell you what a word means in my own words, but it's usually very far fetched from the intended, or true meaning.

We can't walk around saying, "I am in a state where my mind and emotions have done more than is normal, necessary and desirable." Stress is a powerful word, if we throw our own definitions out the window and re-learn the real definition. I don't have the answer, or at least not a perfect answer for how we get around this problem. My perfect answer if this was a perfect world would be that we all walk around with dictionaries and take vocabulary classes every day and society never stopped learning.

This is not a perfect world, as we all know. No matter how frustrating it is, it's physically and mentally impossible to know the actual definition of every word.

"Be the change that you wish to see in the world." - Gandhi

This is my mission; in life, in writing, in blogging. Explore definitions, learn something new every single day! Use words the way they were intended and understand what they were intended to communicate without directly expressing it. Language is a beauty, an art. Every word is intricate and complex, their definition even more so. There definition is meant to be unspoken and intended, not forgotten or overlooked.

As always, thank you for taking the time to read this blog posting. If you enjoyed it, share it with your friends, leave a comment below and tweet @TresaWriter. Share your thoughts. Happy reading and writing, friends!