The Emotional Guidance Scale
People can experience the same situation and yet each will react with their own set of unique symptoms. Furthermore, not everyone has the same stressors and some have a higher stress tolerance than others. This is why it’s so hard to get a consensus on a cohesive definition of stress that applies to everyone.
Most people think of stress as something that comes from outside of them, from their environment somehow. We say things like, “work is stressing me out”, “my kids are stressing me out”, or “my boss is stressing me out”, etc. We think that the other person or thing outside of us has to change for us not to get stressed. Is this true? In reality it is the opposite.
Richard Lazarus, a psychologist in the 1960’s, defined stress as: “a condition or feeling experienced when a person perceives that demands (of a particular situation) exceed the personal and social resources the individual is able to mobilize”. Therefore, stress occurs whenever we think we don’t have what it takes to meet the requirements or expectations of something that is being asked of us or we are asking of ourselves. So, we get “stressed out” when our insecurities or feelings of limitation make us think we can’t handle certain situations.