Stress is the feeling of being under too much pressure – whether it is emotional or mental pressure. Stress occurs when your body releases stress hormones (such as adrenaline and cortisol).
Stress causes a surge of stress hormones to be released in your body.
These stress hormones are released to help you deal with emergency situations – and to deal with pressures and/or threats. This is the ‘fight or flight’ response – but, the human body is bad at recognizing the difference between daily stressful situations (e.g. a hard day at work) and emergency or life-threatening situations. If you are under pressure of stressed for long periods of time, stress hormones will remain in your body – this is what causes symptoms of stress. Stress can be good sometimes – as it can help you to focus and stay energetic and alert, when it is within your comfort zone.
Common Causes of Stress
- Excessive worrying.
- Major life changes: bereavement, losing a job etc.
- Work/School: E.g. Presentations, Deadlines, Exams, Tests or other.
- Taking on too many responsibilities at once.
- Relationship problems/difficulties: In friendships, romantic relationships, familial relationships or other.
- Being a Perfectionist: trying to be perfect in everything that you do, expecting too much of yourself
- Financial/money problems.
- Other illnesses/disorders which may increase your susceptibility to stress: E.g. anxiety, depression, OCD, PTSD etc.
Everyone can deal with different levels of stress.
Some people can cope with certain things better than others – but their level of tolerance may be lower than yours in a different situation.
Stress also has different effects on everyone.
Some people may get angry, scared, extremely anxious or may have many other emotional effects. Different responses to stress also produce many different effects for different people. For example, if I let myself get too stressed, I get terrible migraine headaches.
Effects of Stress
- Mental Effects: Concentration and memory difficulties, excessive worrying, anxious/depressed thoughts, irritability/anger, feeling like you’re out of you depth etc.
- Physical Effects: Feeling run down, headaches or migraines, general aches/pains, heart palpitations/quick heartbeat, nausea, bowel problems etc.
- Physiological/Behavioural Effects: Change in eating habits, antisocial behaviour, use of addictive substances such as cigarettes, drugs or alcohol, difficulty sleeping or insomnia, irritability, nervous or anxious habits, loneliness etc.
Stress is a natural reaction inside your body – for this reason, you cannot do much to prevent it – however, you can manage your stress.