Stress is a normal reaction the body has when changes occur, resulting in physical, emotional, and intellectual responses. Stress management training can help you deal with things in a healthier manner.
What is stress?
Stress is the body’s reaction to any change that requires an adjustment or response. The body reacts to these changes with physical, mental and emotional responses. Stress is a normal part of life. You can experience stress from your environment, your body and your thoughts. Even positive life changes such as a promotion, a mortgage or the birth of a child produce stress.
How does stress affect health?
The human body is designed to experience stress and react to it. Stress can be positive, keeping us alert, motivated and ready to avoid danger. Stress becomes negative when a person faces continuous challenges without relief or relaxation between stressors or feels overwhelmed. As a result, the person becomes overworked, and stress-related tension builds.
The body’s autonomic nervous system has a built-in stress response that causes physiological changes to allow the body to combat stressful situations. This stress response, also known as the “fight or flight response,” is activated in case of an emergency. It releases a stress hormone called cortisol. However, this response can become constantly activated during prolonged periods of stress. This continual activation of the stress response causes wear and tear on the body – both physical and emotional.
Stress that continues without relief can lead to a condition called distress – a negative stress reaction. Distress can disturb the body’s internal balance or equilibrium, leading to noticeable physical/behavioral, emotional/social, and intellectual responses.
Physical/behavioral responses, or warning signs of stress, may include:
- Upset stomach and other digestive issues, including ulcers, appetite changes, gas, diarrhea and constipation.
- High blood pressure.
- Sexual problems.
- Sleeping problems.
- Aches and pains, backaches, chest pain, migraine headaches and eye pain.
- Tiredness or exhaustion.
Emotional/social responses to stress may include:
- Mental health issues, such as depression, panic attacks or other forms of anxiety and worry.
- Being critical of yourself or others.
- Withdrawing from relationships or lacking motivation.
- Being restless or unable to sit still.
Intellectual responses to stress may include:
- Having a hard time concentrating, paying attention, or remembering things.
- Having a hard time judging distance, using words or numbers.
- Paying too much attention to detail, perfectionism.
- Thinking too much about the past.
In addition to all of these things, research suggests that stress also can bring on or worsen certain symptoms or diseases.
So, how do we reduce stress in the body?
Start simple. Here are our 5 quick tips.
There are all kinds of situations that produce stress. These include good things, like new babies or new jobs, and unpleasant things like divorces or illnesses. It’s important to find ways to handle the stress without causing additional harm to your health. Try to figure out what works to help you be productive and resilient. If you are looking to get grounded in your body, build emotional resilience, and get to work reshaping a rich life – learn how you can work with us to emerge well.