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What is stress? How does it work? Why is there so much fuss about this six letter word these days? And how to overcome it? Well, I hope to answer these and many more questions related to stress. Well in simple terms “Stress is a basic response of your brain to a state of mental tension and worry caused by problems in your life, work, etc”.
To understand how it works and what role your body plays in a stressful situation, we take an example. Let’s suppose, you are an ordinary guy who is tired and bored of his nine to five job life where he has to listen to his annoying boss every day who just keeps going on and just does not stop. To spark some excitement in your boring life you plan to go to your friends house which is in the woods.
On the way to your friends house out of nowhere a wild fierce looking dog jumps on your vehicle, suddenly you feel threatened and there is a huge bump in your heart rate and your blood pressure is basically out of the roof but even though you almost wet yourself you still respond by quickly braking the vehicle which makes the wild beast fall off so you could quickly speed away.
So what happened there basically is whenever your body feels stressed, such as in facing a life-threatening situation, your brain responds by releasing a number of stress hormones such as adrenaline which speed up your reaction time and enhance your focus. As in the above case this speedy reaction time saved your life. Such response is called “fight or flight” response and is your body’s way of protecting you. These hormones are also the reason of your sudden increase in heart rate and blood pressure.
It is not just confined to life threatening situation. It can be emotional too such as too much pressure at work or worry of your family. Small amounts of stress i.e acute stress can be good for your body it keeps you active and alert. Acute stress helps you rise to meet challenges. It is what keeps you on your toes during a presentation at work or drives you to study for an exam when you’d rather be watching TV.
Whereas long-term stress i.e chronic stress is dangerous. People under large amounts of stress can become tired, sick and unable to concentrate or think clearly. Sometimes, they even suffer mental breakdowns. Stress symptoms include memory loss, weakness, loss of weight and even heart attack, but the most common is depression.
People deal with stress in different ways. Some develop a craving for food, some start doing drugs such as weed or start smoking cigarettes, some even start drinking but none of such reaction is healthy nor does it helps in any way, such people crack under the pressure of stress and keep digging themselves deeper and deeper into depression, which eventually leads them to committing the most horrible of the sins, “suicide”.
The healthy way of overcoming stress is engaging socially. Talking to someone surely helps it takes a burden off your back and you feel better knowing someone is listening to your problems. If you for some reason can’t talk to someone you can try exercises, like going to the gym, taking a morning walk and trying out yoga. Meditation also helps but the most important way of overcoming stress is keeping yourself motivated all the time, be positive. Do not to allow this six letter word take over your mind and control all your actions.