The hassles, deadlines, frustrations, and demands of modern life have made stress so commonplace that it has become a way of life for many people. In small doses, stress can help people perform under pressure and motivate them to do their best. But it is not desirable to constantly be in an emergency mode as the mind and body would have to ultimately pay the price. Stress is a normal physical response to events that make us feel threatened or upset our balance in some way.
When a threat is perceived, our nervous system responds by releasing a flood of stress hormones, including adrenaline and Cortisol.
These hormones rouse the body for emergency action. As a result, our heart pounds faster, muscles tighten, blood pressure rises, breath quickens, and senses become sharper. These physical changes increase our strength and stamina, speed our reaction time, and enhance our focus, thus preparing us to either fight or flee from the danger at hand.
This reaction to a real or imagined danger is called the stress response. The stress response is the body's way of protecting us. When working properly, it helps us to stay focused, energetic, and alert.
In emergency situations, stress can save our life by giving us extra strength, or for example, spurring us to slam on the brakes to avoid an accident. The stress response also helps us rise to meet challenges. It keeps us on our toes during a presentation at work, sharpens our concentration when attempting the game-winning free throw, or drives us to study for an exam when we would rather be watching TV. But beyond a certain point, stress stops being helpful and starts causing major damage to our health, mood, productivity, relationships, and our quality of life.
It is important to understand that our body does not distinguish between physical and psychological threats. When we are stressed over a busy schedule, an argument with a friend, a traffic jam, or a mountain of bills, our body reacts just as strongly as if we were facing a life- or-death situation. If someone has a lot of responsibilities and worries, chances are that their emergency stress response may be 'on' most of the time.
The more our body's stress system is activated, the easier it is to trip and the harder it is to shut off. Leading a long-term stressful life can even rewire the brain, leaving us more vulnerable to anxiety and depression. Chronic stress disrupts nearly every system in our body. It can raise blood pressure, suppress the immune system, increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, contribute to infertility, and speed up the aging process.
Problems related to sleep and digestion, obesity, autoimmune diseases, and skin conditions such as eczema are some other health problems that or caused or exacerbated by stress.
The ability to withstand stress differs from person to person. While some people seem to thrive on the excitement and challenge of a high- stress lifestyle, others crumble at the slightest obstacle or frustration. The ability to tolerate stress depends on many factors, including the quality of a person's relationships, general outlook on life, emotional intelligence, and genetics.
The situations and pressures that cause stress are known as stressors. We usually think of stressors as being negative, such as an exhausting work schedule or a rocky relationship or death of someone close.
However, anything that puts high demands on us or forces us to adjust can be stressful. This includes positive events such as getting married, buying a house, going to college, or receiving a promotion. Also, to an extent, what causes stress depends on our perception of it. Something that is stressful to a person may be enjoyed by someone else.
For example, a person may get stressed while going to office due to his anxiety that traffic will make him late, while another may find the trip relaxing and enjoy listening to music while he drives. Stress can also be self-generated. I believe that this particular definition is the most common because it is how most people use the word stress. You can order a custom essay, term paper, research paper, thesis or dissertation on Stress at our professional custom essay writing service which provides students with custom papers written by highly qualified academic writers.
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