People basically use the term “stress” whenever they feel pressured about something or if the situation is too much to handle. This is not an exception to you as well. I bet that you feel “stress” everyday. It may be stress from your own home, your work or your environment in general. Stress is anything that creates a threat or a challenge to your well-being.
Some of the stresses in life are good because these get you going. Everyone says that good stresses add spice and excitement to your life. However, there are stresses that are bad as well. Any type of stress becomes bad for you when it damages your physical, mental, and social health.
Many people, including you (I guess), have a bit of confusion between a “stressor” and stress. You see, stress, as what most textbooks and online articles defined, is a “feeling” you acquire when these two factors are present – anxiety and tension. On the other hand, a “stressor” acts as a stimulus or an agent, which causes stress. Stressors includes but not limited to, noises, first encounters, repulsive individuals or a speeding vehicle. Therefore, stressor is anything you react to in your environment.
As what was stated above, stress is an outcome of two factors, which are the following:
- It is usually caused by events that are threatening to your social, mental, and physical welfare.
- Tension, on the other hand, is your body’s innate response to anxiety. It is a fraction of a primal survival impulse where physical changes prepare you for a particular response called “fight or flight.”
Fight or Flight Response
Your way of responding or reacting to a challenging life event is also a form of stress. A component of your reaction to an event is physiological and affects you physically. In any case, you encounter a challenge; your body stimulates resources that will protect you. You either fight or flight. For example, you are at the fourth floor of a building and an earthquake begins, your body will then release some components to give you an extra strength to run faster in order to live.
This type of response is your sympathetic nervous system responding to a taxing incident. Your body produces certain chemicals such as adrenaline, cortisol, and noradrenaline. These trigger sweating, alertness, increase in heart rate, and heightened muscles awareness – such factors help you to protect yourself from a dangerous incident.
When fight or flight response is turned on, your supplementary functions of your body, such as immune and digestive systems decelerate. Therefore, all your body’s resources are mainly concentrated on blood circulation, muscle use, alertness, and rapid breathing.
Now that you have a clearer understanding of stress and the two contributing factors of it, you have to be aware of the several effects of stress in your life. Even if your body is designed to react and experience stress, when stress becomes harmful, it will deteriorate your entire body and can cause serious medical problems. Stress that persists without any type of relief could lead to a certain state called “distress.” It is defined as a negative type of stress response. It could pave the way to physiological symptoms such as upset stomach, chest pains, headaches, high blood pressure, and sleep problems.
Bad or unrelieved stress could also lead you to abuse illegal narcotics, alcohol, or tobacco. Sure, some people might find these unhealthy reliefs relaxing but it is only shortly. In the long-term, these will just cause more problems, to the extent of suffering mental or psychological issues.
Below are additional effects (but not limited to) that are divided into three categories:
Physiological or Physical Effects
- Decrease in your energy level
- Upset stomach includes nausea, diarrhea, and constipation
- Increase in heart rate, frequent heart palpitations
- Frequent infections or colds
- Pains, tensions, and aches in muscles
- Loss of sexual drive or urges
- Excessive perspiration, cold feet and/or hands
- Gritted jaw or grinding of the teeth
- Mouth dryness, to the extent of having difficulty in swallowing
- Frequent shaking of your hands, nervousness
- Ringing sound in your ears
- Problems with women’s menstruation
- Premature ejaculation and impotence in men
- Irregular heart rhythms or Cardiovascualr problems
- Skin diseases such as eczema, acne, and psoriasis or hair loss
- Gastrointestinal diseases such as irritable colon, GERD, ulcer, and gastritis
Emotional or Behavioral Effects
- Eating problems such as binge eating disorder, anorexia nervosa, and bulimia nervosa
- Forgetfulness, continuous worrying, inability/lack of focus or disorganization
- Poor or low judgment
- You become a pessimistic individual or most of the times you only see the negative side of all things
- Racing thoughts, aggressive behavior or excessive suspiciousness
- Making up excuses and it becomes a habit
- Communication problems or frequent tardiness
- Frequent mood swings
- Hostility, anger, irritability, and hostility
- Isolation and withdrawal of oneself in the society
- Being impulsive that is normally expressed in gambling, buying, and sexual activities
- Low level of self-esteem or self-worth
- The feeling of being overwhelmed
- Feeling of nervousness that is normally expressed in pacing, nail-biting, excessive tapping of your feet, and fidgeting
Mental or Psychological Effects
- Bipolar Disorder or also called as Manic Depression. It is usually involves energy level, dramatic mood shifts, and changes of the mania level
- Suicidal attempts or thoughts
- Memory problems such as short-term memory loss, amnesia, and memory lapses
- Development of unreasonable or absurd fears or phobia
- Obsessive-compulsive Disorder
- Multiple Personality Disorder
- It is a psychological disorder that creates excessive complaints and fears of diseases in your body
- Comprehensive Anxiety Disorders
- It is one of the most severe mental problems that you could suffer if stress is already long-term.
To sum it all up, stress becomes good if it motivates you to work harder and pursue life. However, if it is already affecting your day-to-day life and signs are already showing, you have to take a moment to learn how to properly cope up or manage stresses that you are going through. What easily stresses you out? Drop a comment and share a Pinay Time with me. 🙂 ❤