Remember the poster depicting a helpless kitten hanging on to a frayed rope by one claw? It was once a classic wall decoration in elementary school classrooms and its inspirational message said something like, “Hang in there.” Who hasn’t at one time or another felt like that kitten dangling in the air, questioning if she has the strength to hang on, fearing what might happen if she lets go and struggling to shimmy back up to safety. No wonder that kitten pulls at the heart strings. People relate to its stress.
The human condition requires undergoing stressful events. Stress is a natural, programmed physiological process. It’s like an internally regulated alarm system alerting a person to danger and providing the physical means to acknowledge and address a possible cause of harm. In simplest terms, according to Dr. Beth NeSmith, Ph.D., associate professor in the Georgia Health Sciences University Department of Physiological and Technological Nursing and an acute care nurse practitioner, it is the body’s arousal response to a perceived threat. “It’s concern over something that may or may not happen,” she explains. It strikes in situations in which a person doesn’t know what to expect next or how he will handle it.
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Beedie Savage – President of Quantum Units Education