Why does everyone make a big deal about stress?
Do either of the scenarios above look familiar?We hear the words "I'm Stressed!" or "I'm Completely stressed out!" a lot these days. Or even just hear the word stress repeatedly in day to day life?In fact, most people use it to describe any kind of adverse feeling or emotion they seem to be going through on that day. In this Post, I'm going to go into the details the following points:
- What we mean when we use the word "Stress" and where has it really come from?
- Is stress a good thing or a bad thing? Is it normal to get stressed
- Does everyone get stressed? Does everyone respond the same way to stress?
- What are the Helpful ways of coping with stress. And what are the unhelpful ones.
- What can one do to manage stress.
- Can stress be eliminated entirely?
What is stress exactly?Where has the word come from?
Let's look at it this way. As human beings, we like our life when things are constant. Most people are a little wary of change. Now why is that? The fact is, that as human beings , we are programmed to want harmony and constancy. We need to have that security that things are fine. The word "homeostasis" means maintaining status quo inspite of a changing environment. So ANYTHING that threatens the status quo or might affect it adversely, gives rise to stress.Anything that can cause a change in our homeostasis is stress.
So, anything that threatens our current content state is called a "stressor". The way our body responds to it is called "Adaptive response".
So, you might be thinking, if it's adaptive that means it's a good thing... right?It's normal?
Well, for a short duration yes, it does. In fact, it's one of the main reasons why, the human race still exists! Our ancestors used stress as a mechanism to survive dangerous situations. This adaptive response can be of various types. Let me list them down below.
- Fight or Flight: Basically, your body realises that running or fighting are your only options. This would require hormonal and autonomic activation would be required to allow your muscles to help you to run away.
- Become Hyper Alert: When your brain realises that you can't use the first option, it makes you hyper alertvigilant. This makes the blood in your body, move away from your limbs to your CNS i.e your brain. This allows you to be hyper aroused or hyper alert!
Does every one respond the same way to stress? Does everyone get stressed at some point in life?
Yes, Most people do get stressed at some point in their life. As you see above, it's not in their hands to get stressed. It's inbuilt. The degree and the manner of response changes from person to person. So the response to stress can vary completely between people. Across a variety of situations, some individuals tend to show stress responses associated with active coping i.e physical responses, whereas others tend to show stress responses more associated with hyper alertness.
It's normal to get stressed. Most people all over the world get stressed at some point or the other in their life!
Is there a good way to respond to stress? Is there a not so good way?
Let's take an example
Let' say you have a deadline to meet. Like the one in the first image.
SCENARIO 1: Stress Plus Success:
Let's say you get stressed by this deadline. What can you do about it? Your genetics,life experiences and other social factors have taught you to be stressed in this moment. If you cope with stress well, you can meet this deadline. You've done your job, but you've gone through a lot of stress to achieve it.
SCENARIO 2: Stress Plus Failure
What happens with some people is that they get so stressed about this deadline, they can't function appropriately. Everything freezes and they just can't progress with their work.
SCENARIO 3: Stress Plus Success:
Then there's that one person. He let's everything slide off his back. Doesn't let it bother him. Treats this as just another work day with a bump in the road. Doesn't really get stressed. Does the work well.
Deadlines, health issues, financial issues will come and go. Stress once is fine. Twice is Okay. But what if you are stressed every single time there is an event like this? Do You think that it is healthy ? Would it be better if you achieved the same result with less stress? I'm sure you think that it would be better. And guess what. It is.
So, What Commonly Causes Stress? How do I know if I'm stressed
Women experience stress more often than men
People present with the following descriptions of stress.
Keeping a watch on these symptoms in yourself or your loved ones is very important
Feeling nervous,anxious,low is one of them. People also presented with Constant worrying and irritablityanger
It also affected people's behaviour towards others, as you can see from the following image
What are the causes of stress?
The causes of stress are multiple. Have a look at the broad categories below in our infographic
Why is Stress so bad for you in the long run? What exactly does it do to a person's health?
That is a great question. Let's look at some of the effects below. Keep in mind that stress can affect everything right from your heart to your Gastro intestinal tract and immunity. We don't fully understand how but sustained cortisol release over a period of time is known to suppress immunity.
This is what we've gone through so far.
- What is stress exactly on a physiological basis
- What are the effects of stress on your body?
- Responses of people to stress
- What do people with stress commonly present with
- What are the statistics of stress
Read how you can deal with Stress more effectively in our next post
The next time let's talk about how you can deal with stress.
Let's see what are the various ways to deal with stress. One of the most important and scientifically tested methods is counseling i.e therapy. Click below to talk to someone about your stress.