What Is Stress?
Stress may be described as a series of biological responses to a specific situation. These natural responses involve a notable distortion of our physical, mental, and behavioral wellbeing. It’s the 21 century, and nearly everyone is buckled down with life travails.
Almost every day, we often engage in series of tasks and actions that expose us to physical, psychological, psychosocial, and sometimes Psycho-spiritual stress –the types of stress we hope to explain further in this piece.
It is worthy of note to state that not all stress is bad, as a matter of fact, mild stressors trigger the best show of ingenuity and survival in us. This happens once we are faced with the daunting challenge of meeting a deadline or finding ourselves before a vicious creature in the haunted woods. Immediately, our body responds to that stress by producing chemicals and hormones to help you rise to the challenge. During the while, our heart rate increases, the brain works faster, and we have a sudden burst of energy to get us pumped for the breakthrough.
However, when stress eventually surpasses our ability to cope with it positively, it transcends into pressure. For stress to be considered normal, it must neither be recurring, unmanageable or overwhelming; where stress crosses these thresholds, one becomes exposed to chronic and episodic tendencies of stress. If so, it is advisable to seek medical assistance quickly.
Types of Stress and Their Causes
PHYSICAL STRESS: intense physical labour, environmental pollution and food allergies are some causes of physical stress. A victim is most likely to experience fatigue characterized by illness and sometimes, hormonal or biochemical imbalances. Engaging in stannous physical acts may also cause musculoskeletal misalignments/imbalances, and factors such as age, pregnancy may contribute to an individual’s susceptibility.
PSYCHOLOGICAL STRESS: It involves distortions in our mental health caused by an emotional series of resentments, fears, frustration, sadness, anger and also bereavement. More so, the accelerated sense of time, worry, and feeling of unworkable perfectionism can shift concentration at work, thereby resulting in cognitive stress.
PSYCHOSOCIAL STRESS: this sometimes includes a faction of physical and psychological stress. A member of discorded family, relationship or marriage is often prone to psychosocial challenges. Lack of social support, resources and bankruptcy during the difficult while may aggravate stress to chronic levels.
PSYCHO-SPIRITUAL STRESS: it mainly involves a clash of values and misalignment within one’s core spiritual beliefs. Psycho-spiritual stress is often marked by the expression of self-criticism, self-loathing and anxiety over an unworkable perfectionism.
How Stress Affects the Body
When stress is ineffectively managed, it takes a toll on the body. Prolonged and chronic stress levels can cause psychosomatic or psychogenic illnesses. These illnesses extend to vital body systems such as the cardiovascular, nervous, immune, respiratory, and digestive systems. Examples include headaches, heart palpitations, nausea, anxiety, insomnia, allergies, asthma, to mention a few. High blood pressure and gastrointestinal disturbances are also common conditions stimulated by stress.
As stated earlier in this piece, little stressors stimulate the production of hormones for urgent use in the body –also called the “fight or flight” response. However, prolonged stress results in specific hormonal imbalances of the adrenal, pituitary, thyroid, etcetera in the body. On the long run, this suppresses healthy immune functioning, while increasing the body’s susceptibility to cancer and immune-related diseases.
How to Cope With Stress in Modern Life
- Identify your stress triggers: the first step to beating stress is to identify the cause of the stress. Sometimes, a physical event may be responsible for your stress symptoms; otherwise, you may need the help of your primary care doctor or counselor to uncover the root cause of your stress.
Do not be embarrassed to ask for help. Remember, “Problem discussed is a problem half solved.” Besides, the sooner you get help, the sooner you will feel better. Always feel free to turn to friends, family, or spiritual or personal advisers, when you cannot cope with or cannot identify a source or solution for your stress.
- Always socialize: Stress and Anti-social tendencies annexed wracks you psychologically. A perfect way to alleviate yourself from the burden of anxiety, self-criticism, and self-loathing is to get social with friends and loved ones. Those giggles and chuckles are valuable circuit breakers to the flow of stress. Share a meal, a couch as well as your attention. Social moments rejuvenate your cognition and get your cardiovascular at ease again.
- Avoid the use of stimulants: People often resort to alcohol, caffeine, and cocaine just to get their head into the wind after a stressful event. The use of stimulants is not only ephemeral but detrimental to your nervous system. Try as much as possible to steer clear of drug abuse during stress. If I may suggest, natural intakes such as a chilled smoothie are quite some shots to help you stay relaxed.
- Get enough sleep and exercise: An excellent way to get around stress is to sweat more or sleep more. Skimping sleep can affect your mood, comportment and concentration. In place of exercise, set daily realistic goals for yourself or compose a checklist of chores and achieve them.
More so, stressful events tend to make us insomniac; this is because of a consequent distortion of melatonin production in the brain. Melatonin acts as the body’s natural clock. It puts the body into a mood for sleep by changing how the body responds to darkness, helping it enter a rhythm of nighttime drowsiness. Taking Melatonin supplements is a natural way to improve sleep in people whose bodies do not produce enough of this hormone.
- Eat sensibly: Your diet is you. Food intake influences your daily performance. Avoid eating junk, refined sugars, and also staving. During stress, Vitamins B1, B2, B6, and B12 help support the healthy functioning of the nervous system. Since most sources of vitamin B12 are animal-based foods, vegan and vegetarian diets may use vitamin supplements to meet up their daily vitamin requirement.