What is it?

Most people don't understand stress. The medical profession has a hard time describing it.

The website dedicated to stress, has a hard time wrapping a label around it. The following extract is taken directly from their website:

Stress is difficult for scientists to define because it is a subjective sensation associated with varied symptoms that differ for each of us. In addition, stress is not always a synonym for distress. Situations like a steep roller coaster ride that cause fear and anxiety for some can prove highly pleasurable for others. Winning a race or election may be more stressful than losing but this is good stress. 

Increased stress increases productivity – up to a point, after which things rapidly deteriorate, and that level also differs for each of us. It’s much like the stress or tension on a violin string. Not enough produces a dull raspy sound and too much an irritating screech or snaps the string – but just the correct degree of stress creates a beautiful tone. 

Similarly, we all have to find the right amount of stress that permits us to make pleasant music in our daily lives. You can learn how to utilize and transform stress so that it will make you more productive and less self-destructive. 

-Paul J. Rosch, M.D., F.A.C.P.
President, The American Institute of Stress Clinical Professor of Medicine and Psychiatry, New York Medical College Honorary Vice-President, International Stress Management Association

I've encountered stress a few times in life. At first I didn't know what it was. Just something happening to me. Later I began to understand, and with that insight, I was fooled no more. Suddenly I understood stress, what it was, how it affected me, and my reactions to it.

I read an article on Lifehacker about stress. The post was entitled:

I cant believe the crap they are offering as a reason for bad moods. It seems we have a cup full of willpower, once that's used up, your outta luck. Watch out, cos he's gonna blow!!! Only problem? They don't back it up with any science, though they do make reference to a number of studies.

A second article on Lifehacker, again on stress, entitled:

Here's another resource on stress:

And one on Cortisol which is associated with stress:

So here we have many varied views on stress, its causes, its effects and its cures. Yet few can say with any certainty what stress is.

How come?

I know what stress is. I know how to describe it. Worse, I know how to cure it. WTF?

How can that be? And I'm not even a doctor.