Stress affects us all the time – in public transport on the way to work, in the office, and in the family. It can both stimulate our strength and help us achieve our goals at a critical moment, and gradually poison our lives, leading to burnout and decline. Let’s find out if stress is always a bad thing, what it’s like as a biological mechanism, what kinds it’s divided into and what ways to overcome stress are presented by modern science.
What Is Stress
Emotional stress is our body’s natural response to dangerous or upsetting situations. At moments of stress, the production of adrenaline, a hormone that prepares our body and mind for action in extreme conditions, increases. It helps mobilize the mind and body and is itself essential to the survival of the human species. Within normal limits, stress allows you to perform at your best at important moments, to focus your attention, to be creative and decisive. But there is a certain limit after which stress becomes harmful. This occurs when the stressor continues to act on the nervous system long enough, but does not receive the necessary discharge. Such factors can be:
Overstrain at work.
Life in a big city, noise and constant motion.
Lack of a calm atmosphere in the family.
Dramatic events in a person’s life.
Lack of certain substances in the body.
Any other factors, the set of which is individual for each person.
The natural stability of the nervous system, life experience, and even losing at the the news idea determine the difference in the comfort zone: what for one is the strongest stress, for another may be part of the daily routine.
Types of Stress and Its Stages
You may be surprised, but stress is a reaction not only to negative events but also to the most joyful and happy ones. Depending on the cause that caused the stress reaction, there is a distinction:
- Positive stress. It simulates the activity of the nervous system, causes positive emotions, and helps us enjoy life.
- Negative stress. Such a stressful state sucks our strength, fatigues us, disrupts the immune system and can lead to a number of diseases.
Depending on the nature of those factors that caused the stressful state, there are:
- Physiological. It’s a reaction to external stimuli: honking cars, keys falling out of hands, etc.
- Emotional. It arises as a reaction to internal factors and is often associated with the expectation of certain events, both positive and negative.
Stress can also be short-term or chronic. The latter has particularly devastating effects on the nervous system. Stress stages include three consecutive stages: the anxiety stage, the adaptation stage and the exhaustion stage. With continuous exposure to stressors, they replace each other quite quickly, leading to a rapid collapse of strength, the emergence of serious mental and somatic consequences.
Symptoms of Stress
How do you know if you are under stress? There are several basic signs:
- Anxiety, fidgeting.
- Problems with sleep.
- Impaired attention and cognitive abilities.
- Eating disorders.
- Other manifestations that may be individual to each person.
To keep the level of stress under control and not allow it to significantly affect the quality of life, doctors recommend the following measures:
- Proper nutrition, normalization of the sleep regime.
- Regular moderate physical activity.
- Availability of hobbies not related to work.
- Exclusion of a toxic environment, unpleasant communication.
- Giving up bad habits.
- Regular walks in the fresh air.
- Other measures that can be selected individually depending on the personal characteristics of the person.
Stress can be determined by specialists. It can be identified by talking to the patient, finding out the stressors and his lifestyle.
Stress in itself, if it isn’t the result of a past trauma, isn’t a disease, so it doesn’t require treatment as such. But the way our bodies react to stress, if it’s prolonged, can have serious negative health consequences. These include the development of emotional burnout, depression, hypertension, peptic ulcers, not to mention increased anxiety, sleep problems, and other psychological problems. Stress in such a case is a provoking factor for the development of diseases.
If a person is diagnosed with chronic stress, the doctor may suggest the following measures:
- Taking medication.
- Work with a psychotherapist.
- Training in psychological self-help.