Stress, in the literal definition, means a pressure, tension or strain placed on an object. Bending metal, pulling chain or rope, puts physical stress on the material. Under excessive stress, these materials will break.
Humans are the same, but our pressure, tension and strain are not usually physical. They can be – under situations of extreme exercise or threat of physical harm, but otherwise most of human stress in North America is psychological. These pressures and strains are our daily obligations and expectations that we face in personal, professional and family interactions.