What is Stress?

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Stress is a non-specific response of the body to situation.- Dr. Hans Seyle Stress can be defined as pattern of responses that are capable of disturbing equilibrium and exceed person’s capacity to cope. The stressors can be external such as noise pollution, psychological such as frustration and social such as loneliness. The psychological stressors are internal sources and are unique to every person. Frustration, conflict and pressure are major psychological stressors. Frustration results from blocking of needs and motives by something that hinders us from achieving our goals. It may result from conflict between motives and interests. The everyday pressures which may be inner or outer also lead to stress. Without undergoing stress, there can be no constructive activity; such type of stress is called U stress or positive stress.

Stress can be acute or chronic. Acute stress is the reaction to an immediate threat, commonly known as the fight or flight response. The threat can be any situation that is experienced, even subconsciously or falsely, as a danger. Modern life poses ongoing stressful situations that are not short-lived. The urge to act (to fight or to flee) must therefore be controlled. Stress, then, becomes chronic.

Chronic stress may adversely affect ability to work efficiently. Low energy and weakness are other harms on body. Immune system of body gets weak. All bodily consequences of stress are due to over-secretion of glandular chemicals. In fact, it’s hard to think of any disease in which stress cannot play an aggravating role or any part of the body that is not affected. National Population Health Survey (NPHS) and the Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) found firstly that stress may be a precursor of poor health, at least in some cases and secondly women tended to report higher levels of chronic strains stemming from time constraints, others’ expectations, marital relationships, children and family health.

Coping stress may be different for everyone and use of different strategies is adopted for it. Some people cope with stress by confronting the problem, others by controlling and managing their emotions and rest by protecting ego against impending dangers. Nature has itself provided us with wonderful mechanisms to cope with stressors through the sympathetic nervous system. Loving one’s body and mind is the best way to manage stress. Healthy eating, Sleep and no addiction to drugs etc. are preventive measures to deal with stress.

Bhumika Sharma
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