When people are not content with their circumstances, they can adapt by either adjusting to or altering their living environment to make it more pleasant. However, this trait of flexibility meets daily challenges involving external forces, such as crime, war, natural catastrophes, or developments in technology, in addition to internal forces, such as seeking greater material goods. When these forces combine to threaten adaptability in humans, it is commonly known as stress (Veitch & Arkkelin, 1995). To deal with stress, one must first understand what it entails. By understanding the concept of stress as well as the physiology and psychology of it, one may identify atmospheric environmental stressors and strategize ways to manage said stressors.
Considering the effect of stress on human functioning may be an effective way to understand the relationship between behavior and environment; it can help one begin to identify the environmental qualities that interfere with human functioning (Evans & Cohen, 1987). Most researchers agree that the concept of stress is “a state that occurs when people are faced with demands from the environment that requires them to change in some way” (Vetch & Arkkelin, 1995, p. 118). However, it is unclear whether that demand is stress or if stress is a person’s response to the demand. Therefore, there are several theoretical perspectives regarding the concept of stress. Below are just two of the theoretical perspectives (Veitch & Arkkelin, 1995).
Some theorists believe in a response-based explanation. According to them, stress is a change in the amount or force of a particular human reaction such as blood pressure, heart rate, anxiety, or loss of control. By this definition, one may say that a person is experiencing stress when his or her heart rate begins to increase rapidly. The problem with this response-based approach is that an increasing heart rate as well as other immediate responses can also be a response to completely different stimuli than stress, such as when a person is simply exercising (Veitch & Arkkelin, 1995).
Other theorists emphasize the impact of environmental events on human functioning. These events can include major changes in an individual’s life or simply the noise level and air quality surrounding one at a particular moment; in other words, anything that may have an influence on one’s responses after either prolonged exposure or immediately. According to these theorists, an example of a stressful environment may be one with a very high noise level. However, this approach does not consider individual preference; some people can study while listening to music whereas others prefer to be in complete silence. It also does not consider the context of the environmental event; loud noise levels, such as music, can be enjoyable at a party, but stressful while trying to watch television (Veitch & Arkkelin, 1995).
Although the exact definition of stress has yet...