Stress is a type of alarm reaction, involving heightened mental and bodily states - it is both a psychological and a physiological response to the environment. Your brain produces a stress reaction when you are in a situation that is physically or mentally demanding. A stress reaction is a response to a real or perceived threat. Different people perceive things in different ways, so a situation that one person finds very stressful might not be to someone else.
A stress reaction is a response to a perceived threat. Different people perceive things in different ways, so a situation that one person finds very stressful might not be to someone else.
Stress is normal. Some stress is good for you- it keeps you alert and protects you in times of danger or when you need to act or think quickly. Normal stress levels can energise and motivate us, directing our behaviour in useful ways. But excessive stress becomes a problem when it causes long-term disruption to our ability to function or mental or physical illness. In most modern lifestyles, the pressures on people are immense and most people find themselves having to find ways of coping with stressful situations in their everyday lives.
What Does Stress Do to Us?
Your brain is on the look out for anything that threatens to upset its equilibrium - if there are serious 'stressors'around, it triggers off an 'alarm reaction'. The alarm reaction prepares your body for action - sometimes known simply as the 'fight or flight reaction'. Stress hormones and the action of the sympathetic nervous system prepare your body for vigorous muscular activity as follows:
Stress and Illness
Research has shown strong links between prolonged stress and many disorders, mentally and physically. The immune system is easily affected by stress.
The 'risk factors' linked with cardiovascular disease include diet, smoking, obesity, lack of exercise (or over-exercise) and stress. Indeed, stress may well be a cause of other behavioural factors.
There are many approaches to coping with stress. Among the simplest approaches to reducing the symptoms of stress are relaxation, deep breathing and meditation techniques.
Progressive muscle relaxation can reduce physical tension and meditation can reduce anxieties. The effects of these techniques tend to be pretty short-lived though, so to be effective they need to become a regular part of a person's lifestyle.