There are no doubts that emotional state is influencing our physical state. If you become stressed, it will affect the ability to concentrate and might cause a nervous breakdown. In Denmark, according to the recent research, around 450,000 people claim to feel stressed all the time and over 1,400 inhabitants die from stress every year. Since stress can have profound effects on human biological systems, how to avoid stressful situations and its effects?
Our everyday life is full of stressful situations: we get irritated by traffic jams or noisy neighbours, we become annoyed hearing complaining people, we do not like when an impolite waiter is serving us and – overall – those are only small things in our life, only small casual events, that, after all, make up our daily life. Despite the casual events in our life, we sometimes also face extremely stressful situations, such as our own or relatives’ illness, divorce, pension or the death of a someone we care about. Not everyone is ready to face such situations. It is said that stress, affected by emotions related to interpersonal relationships is the most harmful as it reduces natural T-lymphocyte subpopulations and impairs lymphocyte response to PHA. A belief that situation is under control determines the positive effects of stress on the immune system; i.e. if you believe or force yourself to believe that the uncomfortable situation will get solved, your immune system will make you focused on your goals, therefore influencing “relaxation” of your immune system and the lesser amount of stress.
How does a body react to stress?
When a human being, just like other organisms, is in a stressful situation, all protective responses of a body turns on: a heart starts beating rapidly, blood pressure rises, pupils dilate and digestions slows down. In addition to that, each stressful event generates an internal tension. This tension is present to varying strength of negative experiences, such as irritation, anger, anxiety, fear, panic, sorrow, depression and difficulty to concentrate.
Why is stress needed?
Stress is an adaptive response to a challenging situation or an event. In such cases the capacity of our bodies has to be better than usual. Just like from an animal life, when one is facing danger, the body reaction to it is stress and higher body capacity as it has to run away from an enemy. Human adaptation to a difficult situation is more dependent on the ability to consider all possible solutions in order to make decision, for which we need better physical strengths. In response to a stress, people usually become abnormally active and talkative. Some, contrary, become “dead” in their response, sweat, breath more often and feel tension in their face and muscles.
What about the harm of stress?
Life threatening situations in our lives happen rarely, but situations in which we prove to be wrong, unsatisfied or simply vulnerable are pretty common. The reaction of our bodies also highly depend on our understanding how to cope with stress. If one is having a stressful job, he should know when and where he can relax. Otherwise we might end up harming ourselves just like in an English proverb, “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”.
Can stress be influenced by positive experiences?
Unfortunately, yes. Stress is affected by unavoidable changes in our lives and in some cases positive changes might also affect a great amount of stress. Such events as the long-waited birth of a child, birthdays or pension might be very stressful. When we realize that our life and the balance of life is changing, we need some time to adapt to a new situation, which tends to be different than we expected.
People, experiencing a great amount of stress usually say “I need to rest”. However, holidays might also be stressful as it destroys working-resting balance and requires more energy to adjust.
How does stress help us to live?
Boost of energy: When a person is stressed, the capacity of our bodies become greater: hearts beats more intensely, a resistance to infectious diseases increases and, overall, one feels fresher and able to work.
Helps to change: An internal tension is the force motivating us to change, look for solutions and move on. As for example, if a man is unhappy about his job, he feels sad and underestimated. Stress helps to look for solutions from an unpleasant situation.
Helps to learn: Critical situations, especially after we have done something wrong, make us change and learn from our mistakes. In addition to learning and gaining experience, stress also improves our memory and we tend to remember things better. That is the reason why students repeat and sometimes even learn things the very last minute.
Stress can not be avoided as it is impossible to avoid unexpected situations, changes in life. But without a doubt, it is worth knowing its advantages and disadvantages as then we could help ourselves and the ones we care about.