In short bursts, stress can be positive called ‘Eustress’ such as, when it helps you avoid danger & body’s way of protecting itself. This is a normal adaptive response called “Fight or Fight or Alarm response”. But when Stress lasts for a long time, adaptation fails resulting in physical, psychological, behavior and psycho-somatic problems. Some people are more vulnerable to stress than others & determined by various factors.
Once stress and tension set in, it can perpetuate itself by a vicious cycle into continuous stress resulting in health problems. A number of studies have shown that stress is both additive and cumulative which adds up to the original stress and can reach a high level even after the initial casual factor has disappeared.
There are two main types of stress:
Acute: Short term stress that goes away quickly like for example having a fight with your partner etc.. It helps you to manage dangerous situations. All people have acute stress at one time or another.
Chronic: Stress that lasts for a longer period of time. You may have chronic stress, if you have money problems, an unhappy marriage etc. All types of stress that goes on for weeks or months is chromic stress.When you have chronic stress, your body stays alert, even though there is no danger. Over time, this puts you at risk for health problems, including:
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Depression or anxiety
- Skin problems, such as acne or eczema
- Menstrual problems
If you already have a health condition, chronic stress can make it worse.
The causes of stress are different for each person. You can have stress from good challenges and as well as bad ones. Some common sources of stress include:
- Getting married or divorced
- Starting a new job
- The death of a spouse or close family member
- Getting laid off
- Having a baby
- Money problems
- Having a serious illness
- Problems at work
- Problems at home
The following table lists some of the common warning signs and symptoms of stress. The more signs and symptoms you notice in yourself, the closer you may be to stress overload.
|Stress Warning Signs and Symptoms|
|Cognitive Symptoms||Emotional Symptoms|
|Physical Symptoms||Behavioral Symptoms|
Effects of chronic stress
Since the body doesn’t distinguish between physical and psychological threats—daily stressors, threatening situations, or life-or-death events—it can be continually triggering the stress response. This results in chronic stress that can lead to serious health problems.
Chronic stress disrupts nearly every system in your body. It can raise blood pressure, suppress the immune system, increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, contribute to infertility, and speed up the aging process. Long-term stress can even leave you vulnerable to a host of mental and emotional problems.
Many health problems are caused or exacerbated by stress, including:
There is a major difference between tension and stress, and this difference when not understood causes tremendous problems. Stress is knowing that you’re not where you’re supposed to be, and not knowing what to do about it.Tension is understanding the gap with a clear view of current reality, a vision of the ideal state, and action to close the gap. Both put pressure on you, but one is usually manifested in physiological damage while the other creates focus and action. You decide which you’d rather have. But the line between the two is quite narrow, and it only takes a few off-hand comments to generate stress.