The embodied theory of stress: A constructionist perspective on the experience of stress.

An emphasis on the physiological activity related to psychological stress is hardly novel. Considering stress from the perspective of embodiment, however, places that physiological activity in a new light. Research and theory from that perspective emphasizes the reciprocal nature between psychological and physiological processes. This article incorporates findings regarding peripheral, body-based embodiment with existing theories to introduce a more integrated understanding of the experience of psychological stress. A discussion of central embodiment and modality-based simulations leads to the conclusion that the psychological construction paradigm may be more applicable than are previous stimulus–organism–response approaches. The embodied theory of stress (ETS) reflects the constructionist paradigm. The theory hypothesizes that situations are categorized as stressful, and consciously labeled as such, based on the unconscious, automatic integration of data from the body, the external environment, and previous experience. The ETS also asserts that experiences categorized as stressful are accompanied by unique patterns of physiological activity. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)