What is Stress?

With ACHS Marketing team members Andy Pierson and Gillian Turner

Watch the video recording of "What Is Stress?" with ACHS Marketing Team Members Andy Pierson and Gillian Turner

In 2020, More than 8 in 10 Americans (83%) say the future of our nation is a significant source of stress, according to the American Psychological Association’s most recent survey report.

What is Stress?

Wikipedia definition: An organism's response to a stressor such as an environmental condition.

Merriam-Webster definition: A physical, chemical, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension.

Urban Dictionary definition: An unpleasant by-product of life in modern society.

What are Stressors?

Some examples of stressors are:

  • Course work at school
  • Having a heavy workload
  • Moving
  • Unrealistic expectations
  • Traumatic events
  • Illness or injury
  • Loss of a job
  • Divorce or marital issues
  • Uncertainty
  • Financial obligations
  • Car issues

Yale School of Medicine says that not everyone experiences stress the same way. But most commonly, people described the effects of stress as feeling:

  • Overwhelmed
  • Fatigued
  • Nervous
  • Sad

Their studies have also shown that stress can cause changes in eating and sleeping habits, headaches, and weight gain. Over time, stress can even increase the risk of depression, anxiety, heart disease, and type-2 diabetes.

Stress Vs. Anxiety

There’s a fine line between stress and anxiety. Both are emotional responses, but stress is typically caused by an external trigger:

  • Short-term, such as a work deadline or a fight with a loved one
  • Long-term, such as poverty, discrimination and chronic illness Litatiorem atus blabore

Stress and anxiety are part of the same bodily reaction and have similar symptoms. That means it can be hard to tell them apart. Stress tends to be short term and in response to a recognized threat. Anxiety can linger and can sometimes seem as if nothing is triggering it.

Sometimes, the same techniques can help manage both mild stress and mild anxiety.

Social Media Benefits Diminish With User Time.

According to some research, the more time young people spend using social media, the more anxiety symptoms they report experiencing and the more likely they are to experience an anxiety disorder.

Social Media Benefits Diminish With User Time

A 2017 study reported that using social media for over two hours a day is associated with feelings of social isolation among individuals between ages 19 and 32.

  • Be aware of how much time you’re spending and when to cut back
  • Don’t be afraid to take a break if you feel overwhelmed
  • Stay informed but don’t obsessively check the news
  • Don’t use social media right before bed
  • Pay attention to how you feel and who you follow


Yoga Mindfulness and Meditation Time Management Aromatherapy Nutrition Time in Nature Journaling


Yoga not only benefits strength, flexibility, and posture, it can also promote calm. In addition, it's good for your heart! There are many free or paid yoga practices online that can easily fit into your schedule.

Read more on in "4 Ways To Practice Self Care" on the ACHS Holistic Health blog.

Mindfulness and Meditation

Neuroscientist Sara Lazar's studies showed that meditation shrinks the amygdala, the part of the brain that controls anxiety and fear. Less anxiety and fear translates to less stress.

A study done by research scientists at U.C. Davis showed that meditation can lower the amount of cortisol in the body, otherwise known as the stress hormone. 

Time Management

Time Management can help you reduce stress by being on top of things!

Set priorities Organize your day Delegate—learn to train and depend on others Tackle tough jobs first Minimize meeting times Avoid procrastination Do not be a perfectionist!

Read more about it here on the ACHS Holistic Health blog.


Research indicates that aromatherapy promotes a favorable stress response in the body. A 2011 study conducted in Taiwan on lementary school teachers, known to work under significant stress, and used an inhalation of bergamot Citrus aurantium var. bergamia essential oil.

The authors found that even a 10-minute-long weekly inhalation of aromatherapy resulted in a significant reduction of blood pressure and heart rate, and drove autonomic nervous activity toward a balanced state.


“I believe that I can best help alleviate stress and promote the health of our military members and their families by providing education about nutrition that supports them both emotionally and physically” -ACHS alumni Pam Chavez

ACHS Professor Abbey Skinner’s tips on how to shop like a holistic nutritionist: When grocery shopping, a holistic nutritionists focus is to purchase foods that are as close to nature as nature intended. Create a list beforehand. Look for these symbols and buzzwords found below in order to choose the food closest to nature as nature intended: Organic, non-GMO, Wild Caught, Grass Fed.

Spending Time In Nature

Spending time in nature can help reduce stress and anxiety.

Shinrin-Yoku, or ‘forest bathing’ is a therapy that was developed in Japan during the 1980s.

  • Leave distractions behind. You do not need your cell phone, camera or Fitbit.
  • Let go of “goals”.
  • Pause now and again to appreciate a leaf, a mushroom, or the sensation of your feet on the path.
  • Stop, sit & listen to the forest. What do you hear?
  • If you hike with others, agree to remain silent until your adventure is over.


Works best when done consistently Can relieve stress when the practice is focused on gratitude or emotional processing.

  • Daily Gratitude Journal
  • Write about your emotional responses to events
  • Bullet Journal/Personal Planning Journal

Education is Self Care

  • HED 303 and HED 503- Stress Management and Emotional Health Online
  • We also offer Aromatherapy, Herbalism, Nutrition, and more!
  • Call us at 800-487-8839 to get in touch with an admissions advisor today.


  • andypierson@achs.edu
  • gillianturner@achs.edu


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