The chapter begins by asking a very simple question: what is stress? Researchers have approached this question in three different directions. The first approach treats stressors as stimuli and seeks to identify different stressful events, some examples given were job loss and combat experience. The second approach treats stress as a transaction between people in their environments. This approach is concerned with how individuals respond to similar problems very differently. The third approach is that of researchers that study stress as a response; these researchers expose test subjects to stressful stimuli in laboratories and measure the reaction.
The second section of the chapter deals with how to cope with stress. This section implies that social support is very important when dealing with stress, along with maintaining various types of control in your life. Another important factor in coping with stress is flexibility; a study cited that followed new college students in 2001 showed that people able to express or repress their emotions on demand were less stressed than those that could not.
The third, and final section of the chapter deals with the health consequences of stress. This section discusses unhealthy ways of managing stress and urges the readers to stop using them. The unhealthy behaviors it lists are smoking, excessive drinking, and excessive eating. Through eliminating these practices the book suggests that individuals will live a longer, stress-reduced life.