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What is stress?

It is a feeling of tension or pressures both physically or emotionally that we cannot cope with our daily lives.

There are two types of Stresses: Positive/ healthy stress and negative/ harmful stress.

Causes of stress

The causes of stress are known as stressors. Stressors can be physical or emotional. These can be events, situations, people or demands.

The most common stressors include:

  • Bereavement
  • Separation
  • Divorce
  • Financial gain or loss
  • Work change
  • Unemployment
  • Disturbed family relationships
  • Retirement
  • Expectations we place on ourselves - to succeed, achieve
  • Expectations of others

Effects of stress

Mental

Physical

Emotional

  • Lack of Concentration
  • Forgetfulness
  • Poor academic performance
  • Carelessness
  • Anxiety
  • Substance use
  • Obsessive thoughts
  • Headaches
  • Nervousness
  • Rashes
  • Stomachaches
  • Perspiration
  • Palpitation
  • Dyspnoea
  • Diarrhea
  • Urination
  • Boredom
  • Anger outbursts
  • Nightmares
  • Depression
  • Fear
  • Withdrawn behavior
  • Anxiety

Response of body to stress

The body’s reaction to stress is known as General Adaptation Syndrome (G.A.S). There are three stages to GAS:

First Stage (Alarm reaction)

Body release hormones to combat the stress -“Fight or Flight response”

Once the cause of the stress is removed, the body will go back to normal. If the cause for the stress is not removed, G.A.S will go to its second stage.

Second Stage (Resistance or Adaptation reaction)

Body release further hormones and other chemical substances to maintain the homeostasis. If this adaptation phase continues for a prolonged period of time without rest in response to stress, the body will be prone to the following reactions:

  • Fatigue, irritability
  • Gastritis
  • Poor concentration

Third Stage (Exhaustion reaction)

The body has run out of its reserve of body energy and immunity from alarm and resistance stage. The blood sugar levels decrease that leads to:

  • Physical and psychological fatigue
  • MI, Stroke
 

Consequences

Harmful Behavior

Psychological symptoms

Physiological Symptoms

  • Smoking
  • Anxiety
  • Headache
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Panic
  • Hypertension
  • Drug abuse
  • Depression
  • Diarrhea
  • Violent behavior
  • Anger
  • Ulcer
  • Increased susceptibility to infections

What are ways out?

Coping with stress

There are two types of coping strategies: Problem-focused and Emotion-focused.

Problem-focused – solve by seeking information, changing our own behavior, or take necessary actions.

Emotion-focused – deal with emotional distress, like seeking support and sympathy or avoiding or denying the situation.

Take a break to reduce stress

 

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