What Is Stress?
Stress is a feeling of emotional or physical tension that results from your body’s reaction to a challenge, demand or pressure. As human beings, it happens to everyone, and people go through stress one way or the other. But the way individual reacts or cope with stress differs. The human body has been programmed to react to stress anytime it experience it. Anytime your body systems have a touch of new changes or challenges (stressors), your body produces physical and mental responses and that is called stress.
When stress comes, it helps your body to automatically adjust to new situations or challenges. Over activities, pursue of something, and the need to meet up with set goals in different areas of life events can cause stress. Most times, stress is often triggered we feel we have little control over a situation that we could have solved easily.
One important positive aspect of the short time stress is that it keeps us active, alert and helps our brain to think fast. But if the stress persists for a long time, it affects the mental functioning of the individual, thereby having a toll on the body.
Because of your upbringing and individual experiences of life, your stress reaction differs from person to person. Coping with stress generally depends on your genetics, early life events, personality and social and economic circumstances. Stress hormones which are been released by your body any time you have stress always trigger something like a fight or flight response and this activate your immune system.
Once the stressful event is over, your stress hormones will usually go back to normal and there won’t be any lasting effects. Do you know that too much stress or prolonged stress can leave us in a permanent state of fight or flight, thereby enabling us to be overwhelmed or unable to cope?
What happens to the body during stress?
Our body system is very complex and it reacts to changes that affect it. And stress is not an exemption. Occasional stress does not have much negative effect on the body apart from the period it lasts on you. But long-term stress will continue to activate the stress response hormone and the after-effects of these will result in the development of physical, emotional and behavioral symptoms.
Physical symptoms that accompany stress are:
- Development of aches and pains.
- Development of chest pain and the racing feeling of your heart.
- Development of exhaustion and couple with trouble sleeping.
- Development of dizziness, headache, fidgeting or shaking.
- Development of increased blood pressure.
- Development of jaw clenching or muscle tension.
- Development of stomach aches and digestive problems.
- Development of weak libido or lack of interest in sex.
- Development of weak immune system.
Emotional and mental symptoms of stress are:
- Feeling of anxiety or irritability.
- Feeling of depression.
- Feeling of panic attacks.
- Feeling of sadness.
After-effects of chronic stress including:
- The love of drinking too much or too often.
- The love of gambling.
- The love of overeating
- The love of smoking.
- The love of using drugs.
5 Things Many People Don’t Know About Stress
Here are five things many people don’t know about stress.
1. There is no antidote for Stress.
There is no bulletproof or antidote for stress and that is why everyone experiences stress from time to time. All the different types of stress carry physical and mental health risks. Stressors can be a short-term event, or a long time occurrence and some people can cope with stress and recover more quickly than others.
2. Stress is not all negative.
In times of emergency or a dangerous situation, stress activates the body to release a hormone that signals the body to prepare to face the threat or flee to safety. This reaction causes your pulse to increase, your breath will be faster and your muscles will be tense. It also causes your brain to use more oxygen and increase the blood flow to it, thereby increasing activity. This body defence mechanism in reaction to stress all functions primarily aimed at survival.
Stress can act as a motivating factor in cases where it is non-life-threatening such as when they need to take a test or interview for a new job.
3. Long-term stress causes health challenges.
The impact of long-term stress often leads to a condition whereby the body never receives a clear signal to return to normal functioning. Chronic stress can disorganize the functionality of the body system like the immune, digestive, cardiovascular, sleep, and reproductive systems. The effect of long-term stress on some people might be digestive problems, while others might be headaches, sleeplessness, sadness, anger, or irritability. And if not controls, it might over time develop into serious health issues like heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and other illnesses, including mental disorders such as depression or anxiety.
4. Stress can be managed
The truth is that stress can be managed if the right steps are taking and this will help you reduce the negative risk associated with it. If you want to cope with stress, follow these tips:
- Try to be observant and sensitive to your body reactions. With time you should be able to recognize the signs of your body’s response to stress. Do you have difficulty sleeping, increased consumption of alcohol and other substance use? Do you get angered easily? Are you always feeling depressed or having low energy anytime you’re stressed up. Once you know your immediate reactions when you’re stressed up, then you will improve on how to overcome and manage it.
- Don’t underestimate the power of a health professional. Early detection and management help both parties. Please be free with your consultant and try to avoid the mind that only you can solve your health challenges without the help of a professional. Effective advice and treatments from your health consultant can facilitate how you get rid of your stress which might affect either your work, relationship with people, not to talk of your health.
- Exercise your body. Exercise tones all parts of the body cells. And during exercise, hormones are released which maintains the body organs to function properly, and this includes the brain. When you exercise your body, it boosts your mood, improves blood circulation, and it activates good health generally. Even walking for 30 minutes a day can be very useful.
- Try and create a program for relaxation. All work and no play not only make you a dull person, but it can also affect your health. Create time out for relaxation and stick with it. Over-activity without relaxation apart from causing stress enables you to age easily. The cells of the body are over-worked without enough time for it to recover and be refreshed.
- Try and be organized: Any goals you set for yourself daily, weekly or monthly, should be on priorities. It is left for you to decide which one comes up on the priorities list. Try to say no to some task that comes in between you’re written down set goals. With this mindset, you can manage your time and you will not be stressed
- Avoid doing it all by yourself: Try to avoid the mindset that you can do it all alone. If even you can, it will take you more time and energy. Get connected and don’t forget the power of leveraging. What you don’t know is what others know, and what you can’t do is what others can do. So why stress yourself.
5. Seek the help of your health professional.
Either it is short-term or long-term stress; you’ll benefit more and you’ll spend less if you consult your health consultant in time. Your health consultant can even arrange a program for you if your stress challenges are continuous. It is good to ask yourself which one will benefit you more, is it to consult your doctor or result to using drugs or alcohol to combat stress? The answer depends on you.