What is stress?

Stress is a physical and mental reactions to life experiences. Stress is how your body reacts to things that requires attention. We are faced with alot of challenges and problems everyday because of the constant changes taking place in our world today. Rising inflation, wars and conflicts around the world, outbreak of diseases can put a strain on our bodies. When we are unable to meet up with certain demands of life it can lead to stress.
Stress is comes when the hypothalamus found in the forebrain triggers the releases of the stress hormones which will cause to the heart to beat faster, your breath will quickens and your muscles will be tense waiting for action. These hormones are also referred to as the ‘Fight and Flight hormones’. These hormones helps your body to react to emergency situations.
For instance you are late for a meeting and you are stuck in traffic. As the time ticks your heart will begins to race, your breathing will quickens and your will begin to feel tensed. This is because the hypothalamus has released these stress hormones into your body.
Stress is a natural feeling that happens to everyone but it becomes a problem if it continues for a long time even when the cause has been removed.

Types of stress

There are 3 major types of stress.

  • Acute Stress: This is the stress that occurs over a short period of time. It goes away as soon as the threat is taken away. This the type of stress we experience in our day to day life. After a while it goes away and we are back to ourselves.
  •  Chronic Stress: This is the stress that continues for a longer period of time. It seems never ending even when the threat of cause has been removed. This is the type of stress that causes serious harm to the body.
  • Eustress: This is the positive type of stress. It is fun and exciting. It is experienced when you are participating in a competition of which you want to win or when you are rushing to meet up with a deadline. It is also seen when you are preparing for an examination or a job interview. It is positive stress because it can help you out in more efforts to achieve your goals.

Symptoms of Stress

Stress is associated with symptoms such as:

  •  Changes in mood.
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Racing heart
  • Inability to sleep (insomia)
  • Headaches
  •  Muscular tension
  • Restlessness
  • Lack of motivation
  • Irritability
  • Social Withrawal
  • Decrease in sexual desires
  • Fatigue
  • Body pains
  • Problems with digestion
  • Sweating
  • Feelings of anger
  • Changes in appetite, energy,desires.
  • Worseing of chronic health problems
  • Difficulty in concentrating and making decision.

Causes of Stress

 What may be stressful to one person many not be stressful for another person because we react to differently to stressful situuations.
These that causes stress are called stressors. They are includes:

  • Loss of a job or money
  • Death of a family member or a friend
  • Family problems
  • Marriage , relationship and divorce
  • Lack or under preparations for an event or examination.
  • Being late for an event.
  • Worry and anxiety.
  • Over expectations from family and friends.
  • Conflicts and disagreements.
  • Missing a good opportunity.
  • Feeling guilty of wrong doing.
  • Being under threats of harm.
  • Trying to please everybody. 

Impact of stress to the body 

Stress can affect your health and well-being. It will make it very difficult to deal with everyday challenges. It will affect your relationships,job productivity and then your health.
Stress can also have emotional impact resulting in feelings of anxiety, depression and frustration.

Health problems caused or made worse by stress

  • Heart diseases.
  • Pains.
  • Difficulty in sleeping.
  • Mental health.
  • Diabetes.
  • Hair loss.
  • Impotence or low sex drive.
  • Ulcer.

How stress affects your body systems

The Central Nervous System

The Central Nervous System controls how you react to stress. The hypothalamus in the brain activates the release of the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol. The hormones will speed up your heart beat and make blood to start rushing to the parts of your bodies that needs in most like the muscles of the legs if you need to run away from danger.
When the threat is gone, the hypothalamus will instruct all the systems to return to normal but if the Central Nervous System fails to return to normal, the response will continue and so the stress continues. This situation can also happen it if the stressor doesn’t go away.

Digestive Systems

Stress can affect the digestive system of the body. It can affect the way food moves through your body and can lead to constipation or diarrhea. When you are stressed the liver converts more glycogen (stored glucose) to glucose to give you the extra energy you need for the situation. If the stress persists as in the case of chronic Stress and the liver is releasing more and more glucose, it can lead to developing Type -2 Diabetes. Stress can also lead to heartburn caused by the increase in stomach acid.

Respiratory and cardiovascular Systems

The respiratory and cardiovascular Systems are affected by stress hormones. When the body wa ts to respond to stress, breathing becomes faster so that oxygenated blood can move more quickly to your body. This situation can ms suffering frok respiratory diseases such as asthma.
The heart also will pump blood faster during stressful situations. The stress hormones will cause more th blod vessels to send more blood to your muscles to enable you take action. If the stress is continues for a long time it will then cause problem to the heart because the heart is overworking itself.

Muscular System

During stress the muscles contract to protect themselves from injury and relax when the stressor is gone. But if the stress continues for a long time, the muscles will not be able to relax but will remain tensed which can lewd to headaches, back pains, and body aches.

Reproductive System and Sexuality

Stress can affect the testosterone levels in a man if it continues for a long period of time. When the level 9f testosterone begins to drop, it will affect sperm production and can lead to impotence.
In women, stress can affect the menstrual cycle leading to ireegukar, heavy ana painful menstruation. Chronic Stress can also make the the symptoms of menopause to become worse.

How to deal with Stress

It is natural to feel stress but It has to be reduced so that the effects will cause damages to the body.
Stress cannot be totally eliminated but can be reduced by the following ways:

Accept what you can not change

There are things you can not change like the death of a family member. Accept the reality of what has happened and sti9 stressing yourself about it.

Exercise regularly

Exercising can help you to manage stress. Although it eill nor make the stress to go away but can help to make you feel better .

Be in control of your life

Take control of your life. When you are not in control of your life and this are just happening however they like it can lead to more stress.

Connect with people

Connecting with people can help you to feel relieved from stress. When you share your feelings and challenges to other people it can bring some relief. Sharing your problems with others can even make them help you to solve those problems.

Avoid negative Habits

When you are under stress may be tempted to drink alcohol or smoke to get relief. Don’t do it. They may give you temporary relief but afterwards will make you feel more miserable.

Be optimistic

Have a positive outlook to life. Believe that things will get better one day. Rejects thoughts of hopelessness from taking control of your mind.

Help others

Reach out to people who are in need around you. Helping people will give you relief from the stress. There is a joy that comes when you help people. It will make you feel good.

Have fun

Make out time to have fun once in a while just to relax yuur body. You can go to relaxation centers or a good restaurant or to the cinema just to just to enjoy yourself. This will help you to reduce the stress on you.

Never try to please everybody

Trying to please everybody is impossible. You can not please everybody. Alot of people are under stress because they are trying to impress everybody. You can never succeed in making everybody to like you. No matter what you do some peop6wioo still see a faults in them. Just do what you can and leave the rest.

Separate from the stressor

Sometime the best way to be free of stress is to separate from what causes the stress. If a person or thing is giving you constant stress, separate from them. Do not allow anything or anybody to keep you under constant stress. You deserve to be happy and anything that is not allowing you to be happy should be eliminated.


By Ekene Arodiogbu

Ekene Arodiogbu is the CEO of Excedel World. He loves to listen to good music and watch movies in his spare time.

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