Dynamic Interactive AdaptabilityYour guide to promoting growth, resilience, and wellness in turbulent times

The short history of stress research has failed to produce a standard definition of stress, let alone provide conclusive findings of the impact of stress (Cooper & Dewe, 2004; Jex, 2002). However, lack of definition and findings has not stopped a seemingly obsessive lamenting among governments, NGO’s, media pundits, management gurus, special interest groups, and the general population about stress being the killer disease of modern times (Manzies, 2005; Oz, 2009). Almost unnoticed in declarations about stress being the killer disease of the century are the following essential points.

  1. Stress and the concepts underlying stress are nothing new.
  2. Stress means different things to different people and in different contexts.
  3. Stress can be a functional force that is vital for survival, growth, and evolution of humans and human systems.
  4. The programs promoted by the stress industry may exacerbate stress-related illness, encourage dependency on dysfunctional coping strategies, and drain the pocketbook.

Putting aside contemporary dogma that says stress is a global killer disease (Manzies, 2005; Oz, 2009) we can find research and practices that provide a framework for leveraging stress as a functional force in life. For example, cognitive-transactional theories demonstrate how stress is an adaptive response that is mediated by individual characteristics and psychological processes (Schwarzer & Taubert, 2002; Beehr & Newman, 1978; Lazarus, 1991; Hamel & Välikangas, 2003). Also, the systems framework shows that stress is more than a basic survival mechanism--it is also a vital catalyst for development, growth, and wellness (Bertalanffy, 1972; Capra, 1996; Gleick, 2008).

Building on this and other research into functional stress management and resiliency research, this site does the following:

  • Reviews the history and research that underlies the contemporary understanding of stress to determine if stress can serve a functional purpose for human and social systems.
  • Identifies functional coping strategies that foster growth, adaptability, and wellness in turbulent environments.
  • Offers a dynamic interactive adaptability model of stress that integrates observations and findings from philosophical, stimulus-response, cognitive-transactional, and systems perspectives to provide an analytical framework for understanding the impact of environment, events, and culture on human development and wellness.


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