The Puzzle of Internal and External Stress

In 1936 the pioneering Hungarian endocrinologist Dr Hans Selye started to share with the world community his findings of experimental work he was doing on what he called,stress. He went onto explain that stress was … “the non-specific response of the body to any demand for change.” When he spoke about stress at conferences around the world, certain languages did not have a word for stress at the time and had to create a new word for this concept.

“Stress, like Einstein’s theory of relativity, is a scientific concept which has suffered from the mixed blessing of being too well known and too little understood” (Selye,1980)

Stress is a word derived from the Latin word ‘stringere’, meaning to draw tight.

This Weeks Video…

Effects of Stress – Nervous System – Dr Judy Hinwood

The 24/7 life style so many people around the world now live under, is different from the life style that was the norm when our physiology was developed to handle it. In other words, our outer world is beating our inner world in the adaptation process and we are now in trouble.

Our adrenal glands, are almond size and shaped and sit on the top of our kidneys. They were made to secrete adrenaline to make you run faster or become more alert temporarily to handle a crisis. With work-life balance getting out of control now for many people, and the 24/7 marriage that has taken for so many with their mobile phones, we are running on adrenaline due to the constant barrage to our senses.

Another of our major fright/fight/flight hormones, cortisol, is also over secreted now by so many individuals. The negative outcome of this excess secretion is excess weight, the constant destruction of neuronal connections in the brain and brain shrinkage.

In other words, many clients we work with individually and in seminars and workshops are running in crisis mode from the moment they wake up to the time we go to sleep. With mobile phones being constant bedside companions for so many, they continue the barrage into their sleep. So, what does this mean?

For those individuals who have allowed this shift in their life style, they are burning themselves out from the inside. The adrenal glands protect us not just from the external environment but also from our internal one. The adrenals also secrete hormones to prevent our immune system from attacking ourselves.

Our society has seen a rise in autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. This in conjunction with elevated blood pressure, pulse and heart rate appear to be a common thread in most of what is killing people in our modern world.

The problem in society now is the constant barrage of stress that is becoming overwhelming for so many. The key point is that stress is bio-accumulative. Depending on your current levels of both internal and external stress, you may become stronger or you may breakdown or become ill.

Dr Eugene Charles of New York’s Applied Kinesiology Centre says… “Health is what you do FOR your body, minus what you do TO your body.”

The Stress Management Institute® conducts training for those individuals who wish to become a qualified Stress Management Practitioner or Stress Management Facilitator and embark on either a full time or part time exciting career caring for and supporting people who are struggling to cope with stress. If you are looking for a career change, or you wish to add a Stress Management and Emotional Resilience specialty to your current career, please call +61 1 300 663 979 or email

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One Response to The Puzzle of Internal and External Stress

  • Michael Jensen says:

    Thanks John this is a great piece on the work of Hans Seyle. I will pass it onto friends and colleagues…..

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