Stress has various meanings. Some are personal, some material. The personal involves a feeling of emotional or physical tension. Material stress refers to external or internal forces on an object. We all feel the personal kind at times—even normal times—but these are not normal times. Stress is overwhelming us now. Pandemic stress. Racial stress. Economic stress. Healthcare stress. Education stress. Upcoming election stress.
Back in 2008, following the collapse of the US economy we were introduced to a new application of the material kind of stress. Combined with test it morphed from noun to compound verb, and rather than denoting a condition of personal health or material pressure it became checklist of steps used by regulators to measure the stability of banks. The Federal Reserve, US Treasurer, regulators, bankers, and Congress needed a new vocabulary to cope with the financial devastation and prevent a repeat of the crisis. “Stress test” became the nomenclature used to measure the safety of our banking institutions. In July of 2010 Congress enacted the bipartisan Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act to prevent a reoccurrence.