Hans SelyeHans Selye
Time 1950s
Title Dr. Hans Selye performs seminal stress research
Event In a landmark study published in 1950, Dr. Hans Selye, a neuroendocrinologist, argues that stress is a normal part of life. He believes that adapting to stress is a natural mechanism. He proposes that over time, harsh environments (including the stress of modern living) can cause increasing levels of stress adaptation, eventually resulting in physical exhaustion and even death.

The body and mind’s reaction to stress are specifically linked in Selye’s studies. (See "body.")

Selye describes what he calls “diseases of adaptation” or, more formally, “general adaptation syndrome,” theorizing that poor stress adaptation is the basis of most disease. More simply, stress (and the emotional/physical reaction to it) can make people sick. Selye also discovers that stress can be either positive or negative. He calls good stress (like getting a job promotion) eustress. He calls negative stress (like anxiety produced by an abusive working situation) distress.

Spirituality is not emphasized in Selye’s research.

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