Updated: Aug 7
What is Stress?
Stress is a normal psychological and physical response to the day-to-day demands of life.It is a perfectly normal reaction. However, the feeling of being overloaded with mental or emotional pressure can turn into stress when you feel unable to cope. While a certain stress level can be motivational for one person, the same level may overwhelm someone else.Some stress can be motivation to complete tasks.However, too much stress can be detrimental to health.
Is there a thing as too much stress?
Too much stress causes the body’s defence system –known as “fight-or-flight” –to kick in.As a result, the nervous system releases a flood of stress hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol.This emergency stress response causes the heart to pound faster, blood pressure to rise, muscles to tighten, and breathing to become more rapid.Frequent stress can cause the body to be in a heightened state of stress most of the time, which leads to suppressed immunity, digestive and reproductive problems, increased ageing and a greater risk of heart attack and stroke. Stress can also make you more vulnerable to mental health concerns like depression and anxiety.
Stress symptoms come in various forms and it can affect our emotions, body and behaviour. Some examples include:
Sources of Stress
When talking about stress, it is useful to consider what we mean by the term. Stress can come in many different forms.
Some examples being:
•Physical stress –late nights, binge drinking, poor diet.
•Environmental stress –Poor housing, social isolation, unemployment
•Emotional stress –relationship problems, peer pressure, high exposed emotion.
The below stress container explains how the level of vulnerability of a person determines the ‘size’ of their stress container. Therefore, the lower a person’s vulnerability to stress then the bigger their container is and vice versa. The size of the container is down to a lot of factors and the more difficult challenges, the smaller their container. The more challenges a person has to deal with the more likely the container will overflow. This is called ‘emotional snapping’ Helpful coping methods such as asking for help and getting adequate rest can function as a tap to let stress out of the container. Meanwhile unhelpful coping methods such as working long hours and not getting enough rest can become additional stressors to fill the container and block the tap. It is important to remember that we all use unhelpful coping strategies at times but that new coping strategies can be developed throughout your life.