Stress – is it an enemy or a friend?
Stress is considered negative by most of us. We will look more closely at what stress actually is and whether its action is always harmful. Because everyone is exposed to stress, let’s check what is exactly the feeling of tension and frustration that accompanies many people. We try also learn how to reduce it.
Stress, as Selye said about it – the man who first introduced his definition – is “the body’s reaction to any demands placed on him from outside”.
What is it and where does it come from?
Stress is a natural reaction of the organism. In a simplified way can be called emotional, psychological and physical overload. It is simply associated with negative feelings, nevertheless stress was created to help with dealing with dangers. And so, in chemical terms, the body’s response to stress is the same – whether caused by a positive or negative factor. In a stressful situation, chemical substances such as cortisol or adrenaline are formed in the brain. Because feeling stressed in an alarm signal – information about the threat. In the origin assumption – mobilization to fight or escape. Thanks to which we survived as a species.
Two types of stress
Nowadays, stress can work positively and is the reason for the increase of motivation. But also stimulates willingness to change, adaptation to changing living conditions. Under the influence of stress factors, various reactions take place in the body. For example: acceleration of the heart, lowering and then increasing the body temperature, speeding up the breath, or stimulating the sweat glands. In this way, the body reacts to short-term stress, the action of which is not very harmful. This stress is called eustress, and it can be called constructive stress, which mobilizes us to progress and development.
The pace of life and the style of work put us in a state of negative stress more often than in the optimum. One that weakens the body, worsens the mental state. It may be the cause of frustration or burnout. We mean chronic stress, a negative one, otherwise called a distraction – often caused by factors that we cannot eliminate. That occurs when stressors are repetitive and occur for a long time. It may happen then that the body’s reaction will be different than in the case of a single stress factor. There may be a feeling of tiredness and exhaustion.
The main symptoms of stress are: raised blood pressure, shaking hands, muscle tension, nausea, hair loss and dizziness. However, these are only physical symptoms. Those that may worry more are primarily psychological symptoms. Those are: memory problems, difficulties in making decisions, loss of self-confidence, and even panic attacks. Chronic pressure can contribute to the development of neurological and mental diseases such as insomnia, neurosis and even depression
Modern psychology distinguishes three types of strain factors, on which we are exposed. In the first place they are physical stressors. It can be a nagging noise, environmental pollution, injuries, excess stimuli. And it happens that it can also be: long-lasting physical work, or several hours of driving a car. Social stressors are considered to be another type of factors, including mobbing, rejection, social isolation and interpersonal conflicts. The last ones, which are internal, are psychological stressors. They usually have a source in the internal experiences, emotions and tendencies of the individual. Most often they have a relationship with a disturbed sense of security, lack of faith in their own abilities or a sense of loss.
Although stress is a remnant of our ancestors, but today many people struggle with it almost daily. Most stressors are very difficult to eliminate and they have a significant impact on the quality of life. Fortunately, we know many ways to deal with them. We will reveal these methods in the next part of the article.