We all know what stress is, we do get stressed at times and it does tell on us.
This article will unveil certain things you don’t know about stress.
What is stress?
Stress can be defined as any type of change that causes physical, emotional, or psychological strain resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances. It is your body’s response to anything that requires attention or action. It is a normal human reaction that happens to everyone. The human body is expected to experience stress and react to it. This could be positive, keeping us motivated, on alert, and ready to avoid any danger that might come your way. Stress can also be said to be a natural feeling of not being able to cope with specific demands and events. However, it can become a chronic condition if a person does not take steps to manage it.
These demands can come from work, relationships, financial pressures, and other situations, but anything that poses a real or perceived challenge or threat to a person’s well-being can cause stress.
Stress can be a motivator, and it can even be essential to survival. The body’s fight-or-flight mechanism tells a person when and how to respond to danger. However, when the body becomes triggered too easily, or there are too many stressors at one time, it can undermine a person’s mental and physical health and become harmful.
When you sense danger, the hypothalamus at the base of the brain reacts, it sends nerve and hormone signals to the adrenal glands, which release an abundance of hormones. These hormones prepare you to face danger and increase your chances of survival. These hormones are called “Stress hormones”. One of which is called adrenaline.
The main hormone is known as cortisol.
Cortisol is just like nature’s built-in alarm system. It works with a certain part of the brain to control your mood, fear, and motivation. The adrenal gland makes the cortisol.
Cortisol plays an important role in the body like:
- Raising the amount of glucose in your bloodstream
- Keeps inflammation down
- Alerting the immune system
- Affecting parts of the brain that controls fear, mood, and motivation
- Controls your sleep and wake cycle
This is an important process and it is needed for human survival. But if the level of cortisol in the body is high it will have a negative impact on your health. Like high blood pressure, lack of energy, etc.
For example, if you have a presentation the next day, a stress response might help your body stay awake longer than usual. It becomes a problem when you don’t relieve it or relax. At times the best way to manage it is by changing your situation or changing the way you respond to that situation.
You need to develop a clear understanding of how it affects your physical, mental, and emotional health.
Types of stress
What if I should tell you that not all stress you go through is actually harmful…
Here are the types;
- Episodic acute
It is a type we encounter often in our day-to-day life; it could be positive or negative. This short-term one happens to everyone. It is the reaction your body gives to a new and challenging situation. This type doesn’t do you harm. A severe acute type is such as when you are faced with a near-death situation that could lead to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
This occurs when you have a high level of stress for a long period. This long-term type can be detrimental to health. Chronic one could lead to anxiety, headaches, upset stomach, high blood pressure, weakened immune system, etc.
Episodic acute stress
This occurs when you have frequent episodes of acute stress, creating a life of ongoing distress. And this happens when you are often worried about things that might happen and feel anxious. This type can affect your physical and mental well-being.
It is a positive type that keeps you energized, it is fun and exciting. It is associated with surges of adrenaline when you are in a race competition or working to meet a deadline.
Causes of stress
- An unhappy marriage
- Being a victim of crime
- An abusive relationship
- Living in poverty or being homeless
- Working long hours etc.
There are different causes of stress as we are different humans.
There is no single treatment for stress. The treatment focuses on developing a stress-coping mechanism, changing the situation, relaxing, etc.
Make sure you take time to relax, have fun, eat a nutritious meal in order to relieve yourself of it.