Irritability, sleep problems, weakness, frequent headaches, apathy. Sound familiar? Perhaps stress is to blame for these symptoms. In everyday life, we often hear the word, we say it ourselves, read about it in magazines and books. But what do we really know about stress?
Why Stress Makes Us Stronger
Stress is the body’s response to changing environmental conditions. We need it to adapt and strategize our behavior in this environment.
In stressful situations, our body mobilizes, our internal organs begin to work differently: adrenaline and noradrenaline are produced, vision and hearing become more acute, muscles become toned, mental alertness appears, the heart begins to beat faster, blood becomes thicker – everything is geared towards the fight for survival.
Two Sides of the Coin
Psychologists divide five types of stress: physiological, psychological, cognitive, behavioral and spiritual.
Physiological stress relates to the direct impact on our bodies and affects their performance. This can include physical exertion, prolonged starvation, blood loss, various diseases (including infectious diseases).
For example, COVID-19 disease is also physiological stress to the body. This explains the numerous complaints of weakness, reduced thinking, memory and attention functions, and exacerbation of chronic diseases even months after the infection. The body needs time to recover, so you need to be sensitive to your health: observe the sleep and rest schedule and undergo medical examinations.
The onset of physiological stress is quite predictable and reasonable, which is not the case with psychological or emotional stress. Among emotional stresses, psychologists distinguish positive and negative ones. Positive stress is the body’s response to favorable events that are accompanied by emotions of joy and happiness. When we talk about a wedding, an excellent exam, winning a competition, a successful performance at a conference – we also experience stress. But this kind of stress has a positive effect on the body, increasing its resilience: this is a situation that the body copes with easily and without consequences.
Fight or Flight
Everyone’s reaction to stress is different and depends on many factors: the peculiarities of the human nervous system, child-parent relationships, parental reactions to a stressful situation. Every day we encounter different events, some of which may be unpleasant, but we can cope with the feelings, to survive the news without consequences for our health. Stress arises only when, as a result of its psychological processing, the body feels threatened. That’s why for one person an encounter with a barking dog means nothing, while for another it will cause a huge emotional outburst.
Stress cannot be avoided when the values of our belief system come into conflict. When a person experiences a strong psychological shock, even if it’s caused by hitting a huge jackpot at Spinia Casino, they are overwhelmed with emotions with which they cannot cope, so they lose control of themselves and commit rash acts.
When Problems Don’t Go Away
If the stress continues for days, weeks and months, the body’s strength gradually weakens and the emotional background becomes increasingly unstable with a fixation on negative emotions. Gradually, all these emotions color the person’s actions and relationships. At this stage, people begin to fall ill, chronic diseases appear, and even mental disorders may debut as a result of psychological overload.
With prolonged stress, a person ceases to be adequately aware of what is happening, and may begin to behave unpredictably (even with an internal sense of control over the situation). Try solving a problem or reading a book at the sound of an ambulance siren – you get the mindset of a stressful situation.
Symptoms of Lingering Stress
To begin with, it is important to recognize and acknowledge the presence of lingering stress. Its main symptoms are: a constant feeling of irritability, depression, poor sleep, physical weakness, fatigue already in the morning, frequent headaches, reduced concentration of attention, memory problems, lack of interest in the world around, unstable emotions, problems of eating behavior – lack of appetite or overeating, the appearance of bad habits, frequent illness.
If you recognize yourself and recognize the presence of stress, it is time to begin recovery. To stabilize your condition, it is very important to establish a sleep and rest routine. Remember that your body’s resources are on the verge of exhaustion, it needs emergency help – you can take a day off and get some sleep. Include more clean water in your daily diet, spend time outdoors more often, meet with friends and loved ones.