Health & Info
STRESS is a complex, dynamic process of interaction between a person and his or her life. It sis the way we react physically, mentally, and emotionally to the various conditions, changes, and demands of life.
Stress can be
ACUTE (immediate), which can be a one-time incident that usually comes and goes quickly. Its effect on us can last from minutes or hours to days or weeks. Examples of acute stress include narrowly avoiding an automobile crash or experiencing a violent incident with someone.
CHRONIC (long-term), which can be caused by a continuing string of stressful incidences, or an ongoing situation. Examples of chronic stress include a difficult job environment, caring for someone with a chronic disease, or a state of loneliness. We experience stress in levels. Low levels may not be noticeable, slightly higher levels can be positive and challenge us to act in creative and resourceful ways, and high levels can be harmful, worsening chronic diseases such as coronary artery disease. These changing levels occur regularly as we pass through life cycle transitions like graduating from high school and college, getting or changing a job, or getting married.
People react differently to stress. How you react depends on your strategies for coping with stress, your previous experiences with stress, your genetic makeup, and your level of social support and how you view your social support. The greatest factor, however, is hoe you perceive stress and control its outcome. What is stressful to one person may not affect another. Stress affects you in both is acute and chronic forms:
- In acute stress, the body responds to a perceived threat. Your body releases chemicals that increase you heart rate and breathing and provide a burst of energy. This is known as the stress response or the fight-or-flight response.
- In chronic stress, the body's response depends on the severity and duration of the stress and how you respond. The cardiovascular system, the nervous system, and the immune system may be affected. Chronic stress plays a role in many health problems, including coronary artery disease, diabetes, and asthma.
Stress also may cause moodiness, anxiety, and difficulty concentrating.
It may lead to depression, relationship problems, and poor performance at work or school. Chronic stress also limits your ability to develop skills that are uniquely yours; it can hinder your ability to excel in a way that is unique to you.
Stress can be overwhelming.
If this is the case, you may want outside help from a counselor, therapist, or specialist. A professional can help you with a number of approaches to reducing the symptoms of stress and help you decrease the stress in your life..
Professional help is available for the following therapies or techniques:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy teaches you to be aware of how you perceive stress, helps you understand how your perception influences your reaction t it, and teaches you how to develop and maintain skills to deal with stress.
- Biofeedback is a method of consciously controlling a body function that is normally regulated automatically by the body, such as skin temperature, muscle tension, heart rate, or blood pressure. Learning biofeedback requires several sessions in a biofeedback lab or other setting.
- Medications can be used if an emotional illness is associated with the stress, such as anxiety or depression.