Everything you need to know about Stress
Stress is defined as a situation that triggers a particular biological response. When you perceive a threat there is a sudden surge of chemicals and hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol throughout your body. It can also be defined as a biological reaction to a potentially dangerous situation.
It is nature’s way of preparing you to face danger and increase your chances of survival. That gets the heart beating faster and sends blood to muscles and important organs.
Emotional symptoms of stress include:
- Becoming easily agitated, frustrated, and moody
- Having difficulty relaxing and calming your mind
- Having low self-esteem
- Avoiding others
Physical symptoms of stress include:
- Low energy
- Upset stomach, including diarrhea, constipation, and nausea
- Aches, pains, and tense muscles
- Chest pain and rapid heartbeat
- Frequent colds and infections
- Loss of sexual desire and/or ability
- Feeling nervous, developing cold feet
- Dry mouth and difficulty swallowing
- Clenched jaw and grinding teeth
Cognitive symptoms of stress include:
- Constant worrying
- Racing thoughts
- Forgetfulness and disorganization
- Inability to focus
- Poor judgment
Behavioral symptoms of stress include:
- Drastic changes in appetite - either too little or eating too much
- Procrastinating and avoiding responsibilities
- Increased use of alcohol, drugs, or cigarettes
- Biting nails, fidgeting, and pacing
There are several types of stress, including:
Acute stress: Acute stress happens to everyone. It’s the body’s immediate response to a new and challenging situation. Acute stress is the result of something that you actually enjoy. For instance, adventure sports.
They might even be good for you. Stressful situations prepare your body and brain in developing the best response to future stressful situations. Once the threat subsides your body systems return to normalcy.
- Severe acute stress: It is altogether different. This kind of stress involves facing a life-threatening situation, leading to PTSD or other mental health problems.
Episodic acute stress: Have frequent episodes of acute stress is termed as Episodic acute stress. This happens if you’re often anxious and keep speculating about things which may happen.
Certain professions like law enforcement and firefighters, might trigger frequent high-stress situations. Episodic acute stress has an impact on your physical health and mental well-being.
- Chronic stress: When there is high-stress levels for a prolonged period of time, you have chronic stress. This may contribute to: anxiety, cardiovascular disease, depression, high blood pressure, a weakened immune system.
- Living through a natural or manmade disaster
- Living with chronic illness
- Surviving a life-threatening accident or illness
- Being the victim of a crime
- Experiencing familial stressors such as: an abusive relationship, an unhappy marriage, prolonged divorce proceedings, child custody issues
- Living in poverty or being homeless
- Working in a dangerous profession
- Military deployment
Stress is a part of life. It is important how you tackle it. The most effective way is to know your stress symptoms.
If you or a loved one is feeling overwhelmed by stress, talk to your therapist to help you better handle your stress.
Discussion with a therapist about stress is a key part of addressing and reducing it in the long-term. A therapist may recommend effective strategies for dealing with stress. Therapy will help address your stress which is a result of life events.
Types of Therapy:
There are many types of treatment to help people cope with stress in healthy ways. CBT is an example of an effective form of therapy for stress.
Other types of therapy that can help with stress promote mindfulness as a method for reducing stress. Many types of therapy incorporate mindfulness. A few therapies are mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), and acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT).