Figure 3-5.Stress response model.
Hans Selye was an endocrinologist who studied
stress and has been recognized as an expert in the
field of stress management.
In the next few
paragraphs we will cover Selyes definition of stress
and explain what it means to us.
Selyes Definition of Stress
Stress is the bodys nonspecific response to a
demand placed on it. The definition will have more
meaning after we break it down and look at each
Keep in mind that Selye was an endocrinologist.
As such, he studied the physical effects of hormones
within the body, so his definition is about the physical
aspects or the bodys response.
To understand a nonspecific response, it is useful
to think of specific responses for contrast. Specific
responses are logical reactions to something. You
shiver when you are cold. You perspire when you are
hot. Those are specific responses by the body to a
stimulus of some kind. An example of a nonspecific
response would be when you are lying in bed on the
verge of sleep and you hear a disconcerting sound in
the other room. Your heart beat quickens, your blood
pressure increases, your senses actually become more
acute. These are nonspecific responses. Your body
has activated the fight/flight mechanisms that are
meant to prepare you for a fight or remove you from
the situation. These mechanisms may or may not help
you in a stressful situation.
Selye divided demands into three categories:
Distressors - negative stressors
Eustressors - positive stressors
Neutrals - those stressors that by themselves
have neither a negative nor a positive effect
found that most stressors fall into the third
category. They have a neutral effect until, by our own
thinking, we change them into a negative distressor or
a positive eustressor. This explains why different
people may have profoundly different reactions to the
same basic source of stress. Lets take a look at the
act of personally developed contacting (PDCing).
This demand, by itself, is neutral. A recruiter who
thoroughly enjoys getting out and pressing palms and