All About Stress


All about Stress

Stress is a feeling of emotional or physical tension. It can come from any event or thought that makes you feel frustrated, angry, or nervous. It is your body’s reaction to a challenge or demand. In short bursts, stress can be positive, such as when it helps you avoid danger or meet a deadline. 


Acute stress

1. Pupil dilation. As part of the fight-or-flight reaction, our pupils dilate to allow more light to enter the eyes and enable us to see our surroundings more clearly.

2. Heart rate increases. Another part of the fight-or-flight reaction can be alarming if it feels like heart palpitations.

3. Perspiration. When we are stressed, our body temperature rises, which causes us to sweat more.

4. Fast and heavy breathing. This symptom is also part of the fight-or-flight reaction. It aims to introduce more oxygen into the body’s systems to react more effectively to it.

5. Anxiety. The feeling of worry and fear results from exposure to a stressor.

6. Emotional ups and downs. In other words, irritability and swings in the emotions that we experience.

7. Poor sleep. Our sleep is often disrupted by anxiety and the cocktail of hormones produced by the fight-or-flight reaction.

8. Poor concentration. This symptom is a consequence of stress hormones and chemicals released into the body by the fight-or-flight response.

Episodic acute stress

1. Muscle tension. It is meant to help our bodyguard against injury and pain. When exposed to episodic acute stressors, our muscles don’t get the opportunity to relax.

2. Poor concentration. More pronounced than with acute stress, you may also notice increased difficulty with memory and recall.

3. Feeling overwhelmed. It is the feeling of not being able to cope nor able to visualize effective solutions to the causes of your stress.

4. Uncontrolled anger and irritability. We find ourselves lashing out more often and with less provocation. We may also react strongly to things that we usually would tolerate.

5. Migraines. These are often the result of muscle tension. The frequency and severity of migraines are likely to increase under episodic acute stress.

6. Hypertension. A majority of people will be unaware of having high blood pressure. The only reliable way to detect hypertension is to have your blood pressure measured by a health professional.

Chronic stress

1. Weight gain. It is often the result of “stress eating,” but it can also result from long-term hormonal imbalances caused by chronic stress.

2. Heightened levels of adrenaline and cortisol. Long-term effects of heightened adrenaline and cortisol levels can affect memory and digestion. They can also suppress the immune system.

3. Insomnia. Difficulty in falling and staying asleep, often not feeling rested from whatever sleep you did get.

4. Panic attacks. Sudden onset of feelings of fear and anxiety accompanied by acute stress symptoms.

5. Feelings of helplessness. Feeling that you cannot do anything to help yourself or improve your situation.

6. Chronic headaches. Frequently occurring tension headaches are generally defined as occurring more than 15 days a month.

7. Emotional fatigue. It manifests as feeling tired most of the time, irrespective of the type of rest you’re getting or sleep.

How can I avoid it?

Eat a well-balanced diet, get enough sleep, and exercise regularly. Engage in self-relaxation. Try muscle relaxation, breathing or meditation exercises, prayer, yoga, or swimming to reduce it. Spend time with nature.

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