Stress: a negative emotional state occurring in response to events that are perceived as taxing or exceeding a person’s resources or ability to cope. (Hockenbury, 477) 

A person’s response to “stressors.” Experienced when the perceived demands of a person’s environment are greater than than their perceived ability to cope. Stress has wide-ranging effects on the individual including subjective, "behavioral,"  "cognitive,"  "physiological," health, and organizational effects. (Cardwell, 243) By producing an overabundance of sympathetic action, stress throws “homeostasis” out of whack. Result can be chronic fatigue, “fibromyalgia”, back pain, exhaustion, burn-out, "insomnia," etc. In all these conditions, the "right frontal insula” lights up. Goal of any treatment should be to calm down the right frontal insula. (Blakeslee, 195) Stressed brains don’t learn the same way as non-stressed brains. Some types of stress are good for learning, but there is one particular type of stress that is not good for learning - “learned helplessness.” (MedinaBFP, 28)


Acculturative Stress: stress caused by the many changes and adaptations required when a person moves to a foreign culture. (Coon, 517)

Chronic Stress: the far end of the wide emotional range of the stress spectrum - what we know as being ‘stressed out.’ Stay there too long, and it becomes chronic stress. Translates emotional strain into physical strain. Can lead to full-blown mental disorders such as "anxiety" and "depression," as well as high "blood pressure,"  "heart" problems, and "cancer." (Ratey, 59) Untreated, long-term stress may lead to many types of mental and physical health problems. (NCIt)

General Adaptation Syndrome: progression of physical changes that occur when an organism is exposed to intense and prolonged stress. (Hockenbury, 484)

Cortisol: "steroid" "hormone" released from the “adrenal gland” during stress. Known to alter information transmission in a variety of "circuits" involved in “memory” and “emotional” processes. (LeDoux, 59) ‘Corticosteriods’ provide several benefits, helping protect the body against the harm caused by stressors. Reduces inflammation of body tissues and enhances muscle tone in the heart and blood vessels. If a stressor is prolonged, continued high levels of corticosteriods can weaken important body systems, lowering immunity and increasing susceptibility to physical symptoms and illness. (Hockenbury, 484) The facilitation of “GABA”  “inhibition” of “amygdala” cells by “serotonin” is modulated by cortisol. Cortisol is elevated in a variety of psychiatric disorders, and increases the intensity of the "fear" reaction. (LeDoux, 64) 

Fight or Flight Response: in emergencies that cause stress and require us to 'fight or take flight' the "sympathetic nervous system" is activated, causing blood pressure to rise and the heart to beat faster. (Chudler, 13) A rapidly occurring chain of internal physical reactions that prepare people either to fight or take flight from an immediate threat. With the perception of a threat, the “hypothalamus” and lower brain structures activate the “sympathetic nervous system.” It then stimulates the “adrenal medulla” to secrete “hormones” called “catecholamines.” Circulating through the blood, these trigger rapid and intense bodily  changes. (Hockenbury, 483)

Stress Contagion Effect: becoming upset about negative life events that happen to other people whom (an individual) cares about. (Hockenbury, 494)

Stress Reaction: the physical response to stress, consisting mainly of bodily changes related to ”autonomic nervous system” arousal. (Coon, 501) The response of the body to physical, mental, or emotional pressure. This may make a person feel frustrated, angry, or anxious, and may cause unhealthy chemical changes in the body. The biological response to noxious, demanding, or unpleasant stimuli or conditions. (NCIt)

Stressors: events or situations that are perceived as harmful, threatening, or challenging. (Hockenbury, 479) Characteristics of the "environment" (time stress, job stress, etc.) (Cardwell, 243) A specific condition or event in the environment that challenges or threatens a person. (Coon, 501) An agent, stimulus, activity, or event that causes stress on an organism, speeds up a reaction rate, or keeps a reaction rate the same. (NCIt)

Microstressor(s): any distressing, day-to-day annoyance. (Coon, 517) Everyday minor events that annoy and upset people. (Hockenbury, 479) Also referred to as ‘hassles.’