What is stress?
Stress is experienced when a body responds to any kind of excessive demand; stress can be caused by both good and bad experiences. When a body feels stressed by something around, it reacts by releasing chemicals into the blood, which gives the body more energy and strength. This can be a good thing, if the stress is caused by physical activity. Similarly it can be a bad thing when stress is in response to an emotional instance and there is no outlet for this extra energy and strength. In this blog we will be discussing about – the different causes of stress, how it affects you, the difference between ‘good’ or ‘positive’ stress and ‘bad’ or ‘negative’ stress, and some common facts about how stress affects people today.
Positive stress can inspire people to do their best and perform better than if they were under no pressure. Positive stress has the following characteristics:
- Motivates, focuses energy
- Positive stress is a coping ability
- Provides excitement
- Improves performance – both physical and psychological
Negative stress is the opposite of Positive stress. The characteristics are as follows:
- Negative stress causes anxiety
- Feels unpleasant
- Decreases endurance and/or performance
- May lead to both physical and psychological problems
What causes stress?
There’s no particular fixed cause for stress; the reasons can be personal, social or even work related for that matter. Depression, guilt, physique, relationship issues, death or major life instances, financial problems, traumatic events can be included as agents of stress.
Long term stress and its consequences
Long term stress takes its toll on the functioning and condition of both human body and mind. Please find below some of the consequences of long term stress.
- Depression, anxiety and personal disorders. Panic attacks are the most extreme reactions from stress.
- Hypertension, heart failure, heart attacks, cardiac arrhythmia, atherosclerosis are few cardiovascular diseases that can result from stress.
- Obesity, anorexia and bulimia are some of the psychological effects that take a toll on the physical condition of a body.
- Sexual dysfunction, low fertility is also a result of chronic stress.
- Acne, permanent hair loss, eczema, gastro-intestinal diseases, lung diseases which have a direct impact on the immune system may be a result of chronic stress.
Although stress cannot be controlled, it can be managed with the following techniques.
- Maintaining a positive attitude throughout is the most basic need to avoid/ deal with stress.
- Communication has to be done in a positive, thoughtful manner. Any kind of negative emotion can lead to excessive stress.
- Anger management is a key component to reduce/control stress
- Stressful situations are best when avoided; time management also helps you to complete your work on time and avoid stress.
- Involve yourself by participating in de-stressing activities like gardening, reading, etc.
- Self reflection for 15-20 minutes every day can help you to neglect negative thoughts from affecting your thinking.
- Yoga and meditation are also very useful to relax your muscles and avoid stress.