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Stress And Its Management

Stress can be defined as​ the​ non-specific response of​ the​ body to​ any demands made upon it. in​ other words is​ the​ interaction between the​ coping skills of​ the​ individual and its environment. When talking about stress,​ the​ first question that comes to​ my mind is,​ what causes stress? Well,​ there are 2 factors that cause stress. at​ first,​ is​ a​ stressor,​ and second is​ what we call the​ stress-reactivity. a​ stressor is​ any stimulus which has the​ potential of​ trigging flight or​ fight response. Stressors are those,​ for which our body is​ evolutionary trained,​ when there was a​ threat to​ our safety,​ consider the​ example,​ the​ cavemen who saw a​ lion looking for its next meal,​ had to​ react quickly. Cavemen,​ who were not strong enough or​ fast enough,​ didn't have to​ worry about their next threat. They become meal for the​ lion,​ so the​ flight or​ fight response was necessary,​ and its rapidity was vital for survival.

Modern day men and women also react to​ stressors with the​ same response,​ for example,​ when you​ step off a​ curb,​ not noticing a​ car coming down the​ street,​ you​ hear the​ car's horn,​ you​ quickly jump back on​ the​ curb. Your heart beats faster,​ breathing changes,​ you​ perspire. These are all manifestations of​ your response to​ the​ stressor,​ which is​ the​ threat of​ being hit by the​ car. We encounter different types of​ stressors. There are environmental stressors like heat,​ cold,​ toxins. Some psychological stressors like threat to​ self-esteem,​ depression. And other sociological stressors like death of​ a​ loved one,​ unemployment and then there are other philosophical stressors like use of​ time and purpose of​ life. We encounter stressors everyday and in​ every walk of​ life.

The flight or​ fight response to​ a​ stressor is​ termed as​ stress reactivity. it​ includes increase in​ muscle tension,​ heart rate,​ elevated blood pressure,​ less saliva in​ mouth,​ etc. these reactions prepare us for swift response. When we buildup stress products and do not use them,​ this stress reaction becomes unhealthy.

Some stress is​ natural and necessary part of​ life. it​ is​ inevitable and also desirable. at​ low level of​ stress arousal you​ are not motivated to​ try very hard so you​ don't perform well. at​ another extreme,​ too high level of​ stress arousal disrupts your performance on​ all your tasks. Hans Selye (a researcher in​ stress) summarized stress reactivity as​ a​ three stage process termed as​ General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS).
Phase 1: alarm reaction- the​ body shows the​ changes characteristic of​ the​ first exposure to​ the​ stressor. a​ burst of​ energy is​ made available to​ you.
Phase 2: stage of​ resistance- resistance ensues if​ continued exposure to​ the​ stressor is​ compatible with the​ adaptation. the​ bodily signs of​ alarm reaction have virtually disappeared,​ and resistance rises above normal.
Phase 3: stage of​ exhaustion- following long continued exposure to​ the​ same stressor,​ the​ adaptation energy is​ exhausted. the​ similar symptoms of​ alarm reaction reappear,​ but now they are irreversible and this could be fatal.

Stress has many effects on​ our health. if​ not given proper attention could lead to​ hypertension,​ stroke,​ ulcers,​ migraine headaches,​ coronary heart disease,​ tension headaches,​ asthma,​ hay fever to​ name a​ few. Have you​ ever noticed that some people are more prone to​ stress than other. Some people tend to​ react to​ stressors with an​ all-out physiological reaction that takes a​ toll on​ their health. We call these people as​ hot reactors if​ you​ notice people who get angry easily,​ are often anxious or​ depressed,​ urinate frequently,​ experience constipation or​ diarrhea more than usual,​ experience vomiting or​ nausea,​ there is​ a​ good chance they are hot reactors. People who are perfectionist,​ obsessive compulsive,​ etc. are more prone to​ stress.
The management of​ the​ five components of​ stress in​ the​ way to​ reduce stress:
1) Changing stressors: Identify the​ regular or​ predictable stressors in​ your life. Commonly they are job,​ relationships,​ and unreasonable demands. you​ can change the​ stressor,​ quit it,​ improve it,​ or​ tolerate it.
2) Changing your physiological responses: Life style modifications,​ healthy diet,​ relaxation,​ exercise.
3) Changing behavior: an​ important part of​ managing stress effectively involves changing your behavior so as​ to​ replace old,​ stress increasing and self defeating behaviors with more successful behaviors.
4) Changing your perception: Interpretation of​ your situation as​ a​ threat makes it​ a​ stressor for you. Your expectation whether or​ not you​ will be able to​ cope with it​ influences your level of​ stress and your expectations of​ your not coping also influences your levels of​ stress.
5) Changing your feelings: How you​ think is​ how you​ feel. Learn to​ handle your bad feelings. Denying your feelings and pretending they don't exist will only make things worse.

These are just a​ few suggestions understand and start working on​ the​ stressors you​ feel in​ your life. Rare is​ a​ person who doesn't experience any stress. the​ first step is​ to​ be aware. Observe and introspect to​ identity the​ stressors in​ your life. as​ a​ starting point think of​ all the​ stressors in​ your life and the​ level of​ stress they bring to​ you.


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