Stress is something that we all experience in our daily lives, but it can be difficult to identify the root causes of stress. Knowing what causes us stress, and understanding how to manage it, is essential for leading a healthy and balanced life.
Identifying the causes of stress is essential for improving overall well-being and living a healthy life.
Stress can manifest itself in various ways, such as physical tension or difficulty concentrating.
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What Is Stress?
Stress is your body’s reaction to any type of demand or threat. When working properly, it assists you in remaining focused, energetic, and alert. In an emergency, stress can save your life by giving you extra strength to defend yourself.
Overwhelming stress can hurt your physical health, mood, productivity, and relationships.
When you are threatened, your nervous system responds by releasing a flood of stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol, which prepare the body for emergency action.
Your heartbeat quickens, your muscles tighten, your blood pressure rises, your breath quickens, and your senses sharpen.
These physical changes increase your strength and stamina, shorten your reaction time, and sharpen your focus, preparing you to fight or flee the threat.
Eustress vs. Distress
It can be useful to think of stress as a spectrum. On one end, you have “eustress,” which is stress that is manageable and can motivate you to meet challenges at work, school, or in your personal life.
While eustress can push you out of your comfort zone, it can also help you succeed in a job interview or on a first date, or complete a project at school or work that requires you to stretch yourself and learn new skills.
On the other end of the spectrum, you have “distress,” which is stress that causes you to feel overwhelmed and can harm your mood and outlook, disrupt your sleep, and trigger health problems like depression and anxiety.
Distress occurs when you believe you are under more stress than you can handle, whether it is due to being overworked, not having enough money, or experiencing an illness or bereavement.
Types Of Stress
The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Trusted Source distinguishes between acute and chronic stress. These necessitate varying levels of management.
The NIMH also identifies 3 Types of stressors:
- Routine stressors such as childcare, homework, or financial obligations
- Unexpected, disruptive events, such as a family bereavement or learning of a job loss
- Traumatic stress can occur as a result of severe trauma from a severe accident, an assault, an environmental disaster, or a war.
Acute stress is a short-term response to an immediate danger, such as an inability to meet a deadline or make an important decision. It is often a healthy response that can help you be alert and productive. Acute stress, if not managed properly, can lead to chronic stress.