Friday, September 26, 2008
What Is Stress
Most people are not aware what stress actually means! The word 'stress' is defined in the Oxford Dictionary as "a state of affair involving demand on physical or mental energy". Stress is a condition or circumstance (not always adverse), which can disturb the normal physical and mental health of an individual.
In medical parlance 'stress' is defined as a perturbation of the body's homeostasis. This demand on mind-body occurs when it tries to cope with incessant changes in life. A 'stress' condition seems 'relative' in nature. Acute stress can prove to be quite detrimental to the human health, but according to most psychologists, stress in moderation is normal and, in many cases, proves to be quite useful.
Stress, nonetheless, is synonymous with negative conditions. Today, with the rapid diversification of human activity, we come face to face with numerous causes of stress and the symptoms of stress and depression.
During challenging situations, the brain prepares the body for protective or defensive action—the fight or flight reaction by secreting stress hormones, viz. adrenaline and cortisone. These hormones raise the blood pressure and the body prepares to react to the situation. With a tangible defensive action i.e. fight response the supply of stress hormones gets used up in our blood stream, leading to a certain levels of reduced stress and anxiety.
When we fail to counter a stress situation (flight response) the hormones and chemicals remain unreleased in the blood stream for a long period of time. This results in stress related physical symptoms such as tense muscles, unfocused anxiety, dizziness and rapid heartbeats.
We all come across diverse types of stressors in our day to day life, which can accumulate, if not released in an orderly fashion. Subsequently, stress compels the mind and body to be in an almost constant alarm-state in preparation to fight or flee. This state of accumulated stress can increase the risk of both acute and chronic psychosomatic illnesses and weaken the immune system of the human body.
Just about everybody, children as well as adults, even unborn infants suffer from stress! Chronic health problems, relationship demands, pressure at workplaces, traffic snarls, meetings, project deadlines, growing-up tensions or a sudden bearish trends in the bourse can trigger stress.
People react to stress in their own ways. In certain people, stress-induced anxieties persist for a very long time and they intensify as time passes. Learning the intricacies of stress management can help you deal with counter effects of this detrimental condition.
Stress can cause migraines or headaches, stomach problems, eating disorder, allergies, insomnia, backaches, frequent cold and fatigue to diseases such as asthma, hypertension, heart ailments, diabetes and even cancer.
The words 'positive' and 'stress' may not often go together. But, there are innumerable instances of athletes rising to the challenge of stress to achieve the unachievable, scientist who are under constant stress work continuously to bring into light the most unthinkable secrets of the phenomenal world by pushing themselves to the limit. Psychologists second the opinion that some 'stress' situations can actually boost our inner potential and can be creatively helpful.
Experts have quoted that stress, in moderate doses, is necessary to embellish our lives.
Stress responses are one of our body's best defense systems against outer and inner dangers. In a risky situation (in case of accidents or a sudden attack on life et al), stress hormones are instantly released by the body to alert out senses in order to become more focused. The body is also prepared to act with increased strength and speed in a pressure situation. It is supposed to keep us sharp and ready for action.
Stress is, perhaps, necessary to occasionally clear cobwebs from our minds while we think. Through a positive approach, stress can help us let go of unwanted thoughts and principle in our life, in turn making us a better person. Very often, at different turning points of life, stress may assert the transitory nature of your experiences, and may prod you to look for the true happiness of life.