What is Stress?


I had to snap this picture I saw today at Sunset Grill and thought I would share it… I went to breakfast after having 7 vials of blood withdrawn for that health cancer study early morning.    This sign made me laugh!  If you followed the instructions on the sign you would be sure to get a headache and possibly forget you had stress…

Not sure why there is so much stress in the world.  I guess it depends on how we define stress.    For example I shouldn’t have been stressed when I decided to buy my son a much needed bedroom set.   He is a teenager and was using a “kiddie” furniture set which basically fit 1 sweater per drawer.  Okay, I am exaggerating a bit but seriously each drawer would only hold a couple of his shirts..   So I bought a beautiful solid wood set back in June and I was told it would be 6-7 weeks before it would be delivered.

I was anxious the day it was delivered, worried, it wouldn’t be perfect.   My psychic abilities must of been tingling because sure enough the headboard had a small knick out of it.   Nothing too serious but more importantly I noticed the drawers on the dresser would not close properly almost giving the appearance that it was warped.  So begins the stress or frustration.   I contacted the place where I bought it and it’s weeks before they come and try to repair it on the spot.  That didn’t work.   Now they are finally coming tomorrow to send it back to the manufacturer.  I must wait a few more weeks.  This set was made and stained to my specs so I guess they have to see if they can fix it before they would attempt to make another one.   I swear it was the delivery people that screwed it all up because they set the heavy solid dresser on it’s side which I think shifted the drawers.  I am not sure this is stress but it is most certainly frustration.  It demands my time and attention and follow up.  I hate wasting energy on things that shouldn’t be this difficult.   My negative Nettie always come in to play because nothing ever goes smoothly.

My solution is to lower my expectations…it seems to work somewhat.    Plus I should have mentioned that I had also ordered some end tables and a picture for my living room around the same time in June.  They were to be delivered in approximately 4 weeks..  Well wouldn’t you know, they were on back order til August.   Funny how they didn’t know this when they promised them in 4 weeks?!  I was fairly patient when I heard August, but when I followed up last week, I am told it won’t be til September.  Apparently as a consolation I am suppose to be able to get the picture next week. I will believe it when I see it.   They know I am not impressed…

Frustration and disappointment can certainly trigger and cause stress, especially if it’s constant.    I decided to look up the definition of stress on the internet and share it below.

Stress: A state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances.
Synonyms include “strain, pressure (nervous), tension, worry, anxiety, trouble, difficulty
Stress is basically a feeling that people have when they are overloaded and struggling to cope with demands.  These demands can be related to just about anything like finances, work, relationships, and other situations.   It is anything that poses a real or perceived challenge or threat to a person’s well-being.  

Stress can be a motivator and essential to survival. The “fight-or-flight” mechanism helps us to figure out when and how to respond to danger.   The problem is if this is triggered too easily or if there are too many demands or stressors at one time, it could affect a person’s mental and physical health and become harmful. 


Are you stressed?   I am finding that I always felt I could handle stress or more likely I was just oblivious to it.  I just saw a problem, ranted about it, handled it and carried on.   I was use to handling multiple demands.  I was managing, sometimes well and sometimes not so well…cursing helps!    Since being diagnosed with cancer, I just don’t want nor feel I can handle more than one or two stressful situations.  I am not sure if it’s the medication and/or the hormonal changes or just not wanting to feel overwhelmed.   I feel I just get too agitated or upset.  I am really looking forward to the “mindfulness stress based reduction” course that starts sometime in September.

It’s no wonder we are stressed because I reviewed some of the stress triggers listed on the internet.   I started to do a mental checklist of stress triggers in our lives…..  You may want to take a moment to assess the stress in your life.

  • job issues or retirement  –CHECK-yup been thinking about retirement
  • lack of time or money  —-CHECK-yup been thinking about my diminished income and time I have to do the things I want to do in life
  • bereavement——————-CHECK-yup everyone seems to be dying or getting ill around me
  • family problems————–CHECK-yup who doesn’t have this
  • illness—————————–CHECK-yup cancer and worry about others in the family
  • moving home——————NOPE -Ok, phew, no stress here because I am not moving!
  • relationships, marriage, and divorce-CHECK-ok I am not getting a divorce although I have thought about it for 28 years but seriously relationships can be constant work so it adds some stress

Different situations can trigger stress for different people.

  • abortion or miscarriage—NOPE-Thank Goodness
  • driving in heavy traffic or fear of an accident–CHECK-My 17 year old recently got his G2 License so everytime he asks to drive my car, my heart rate goes up and I say a “Hail Mary” and pray he doesn’t get into any accidents
  • fear of crime or problems with neighbors-NOPE
  • pregnancy and becoming a parent-NOPE
  • excessive noise, overcrowding, and pollution-CHECK-I hate huge crowds and  general disorganization
  • uncertainty or waiting for an important outcome-CHECK-constantly thinking about what’s next and/or the results of my next mammogram

Anyway, we all have stress and we just have to figure out how to manage it so it doesn’t become chronic.  I am really looking forward to that course and hope it will enlighten me but again I am keeping my expectations low.   I am sure they will say watch your diet, limit caffeine, exercise, yoga, meditation/breathing/relaxation, prioritizing, support groups/talking to friends or family are some of the ways to manage stress.

It isn’t simple to manage stress and what works for one person may not work for another.   I am guessing they will say to avoid or limit alcohol and drugs.    That said, sometimes a GIN and Tonic is just what the doctor ordered! Better yet a lorazepam!

Hopefully you are managing your stress well and I hope to share what I learn with you.



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  • Scotch and water helps as well as Gin. Thanks for the note on stress. Keep up the writing it will help with stress. Stay Crazy. Kiss Kiss

  • I feel like rewiring your brain could also helo. If you constantly think you’re stressed your mind will believe you’re stressed and you’ll be stressed. but you can trick your brain, and reduce the stress.

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