Everyone feels stressed occasionally. But what exactly is stress? The brain and body’s natural response to threat or demand is called stress. A person experiences stress when they see a genuine or perceived threat to their well-being. From poor school performance to a tragic life experience, stress can occur from anything. It makes you feel terrible inside and out. The body is a sophisticated operating system. It is unable to distinguish between a life-threatening external event and perceived non-threatening stimuli.
According to the American Psychological Association, we can divide stress into three types, episodic, acute, and chronic stress. All three differ in duration, characteristics, treatment procedure, and symptoms. It is crucial to pay heed to how you handle minor and significant stressors so you can recognize when you need to get help. Stress can be purely an emotional problem that exists only in your mind. But it can become a health condition, especially when dealing with life’s most difficult times. It can cause serious health problems that include:
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Depression and anxiety
- Heart disease
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Premature death
Stress requires different therapy interventions, management, and psychological treatment approaches depending on the person’s environment, personality, and lifestyle. Today, there is a rise in the demand for qualified professionals to address the growing need for mental health problems plaguing our society. More and more professionals are now venturing into the field of psychology to help people battle psychological issues. Many such professionals pursue a MAPP degree to develop a thorough understanding of human behavior to address various health concerns.
Several factors lead to stress. Let us look into some of them.
– Attitudes and perceptions
The way you see the world or a specific event can influence whether or not it produces stress. Our self-talk includes our perceptions and attitudes towards life events. This self-talk or phrases we use in our heads while we think can raise our stress levels. It limits our potential and creates negative perceptions.
– Fear and uncertainty
The fear of uncertainty can induce the psychological state of stress. It stimulates the fight or flight response, resulting in bodily changes such as elevated heart rate and hormone surges. When the feared situation occurs in the distant and unclear future, the observed effect is stress. Due to uncertainty, one may over-prepare with precautions.
– Unrealistic expectations
If you don’t handle your expectations, you’ll find yourself increasingly stressed. Stress from excessive expectations drains us and produces distance rather than the connection we seek. You set yourself up for additional stress if you don’t pay attention to what you need or place limits on your own and other’s excessive expectations.
Any significant change in one’s life can be stressful. Positive change can be thrilling, but it can also generate a stress reaction in the body. Unfortunately, the body cannot distinguish between stress caused by direct physical threats and stress caused by a change. Some people adapt to change quickly, while others suffer the psychological effects of stress.
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Life Stressors that can damage health
Below is a list of the most stressful life experiences.
1. Divorce or separation
Going through a divorce or breakup can be one of the most stressful circumstances a person can face. One loses a friend, a spouse, and a confidante. They have to live on their own, frequently as a primary caregiver for children. It is a moment of conflicting emotions worsened by worries of legal and financial matters. Talking to someone about their situation is cathartic to them. Anger, melancholy, fear, and frustration are examples of emotional stages. People may require counseling or medical guidance to cope with the stress.
2. Death of a close family member
It is tough to distinguish the tension caused by the death of a loved one from routine stress. Many people struggle to accept that they have to adjust to a life that is no longer the same. Followed by conflict, estrangement, and hurt sentiments among family and friends, the situation gets miserable. People get frustrated and mentally drained. They experience pressure to move on and be normal again. The stress evokes intense emotions that are hard to handle.
3. Job loss
One of life’s most traumatic situations is losing your job, whether you’ve been laid off or forced to retire early. Aside from obvious financial hardships, losing a job can have a significant impact on your attitude. It affects your emotional and mental health. Being laid off unexpectedly can leave you feeling upset, humiliated, and depressed. The stressful feeling of being betrayed by your employer or blaming yourself for some perceived flaw can overwhelm you.
4. Injury or illness
Following a traumatic injury or illness, 45 percent of injury survivors suffer stress. On exposing to triggering situations, it causes an anxiety reaction. This reaction is associated with re-experience of the horrific incident, intrusive memories, dreams, and emotional distress. Individual responses to injury and illness vary widely. There is no set of sequence or reactions because everyone’s coping methods are different. Some people develop emotional symptoms such as sadness or irritability.
Life is full of ups and downs that can challenge the marriage. Every married couple has disagreements, but when there is persistent marital stress, it affects not only mental but physical health too. It impacts the immune system, and then we’re prone to all kinds of potential health problems. Stressful relationships are frequently caused by financial constraints, children, domestic violence, extramarital affairs, and negative attitudes. These strained relationships can even lead to heart diseases and impact the nervous system.
People have never been more agitated and anxious than they are now. In this era of technology, political chaos, and upheavals brought by COVID-19, life has become increasingly complex. Anyone can develop mental and physical disorders if they don’t learn to deal with stressful situations. Techniques for stress management cannot only make you feel better, but they may also have tangible advantages.