What is Stress?


Are you feeling stressed out? People talk about stress all the time: stress in the office or stress in their personal lives. No matter where it comes from, stress can have detrimental effects to your health, mood, and well-being.

Why do we stress?

Stress is your body’s way of responding to an imminent threat of danger. If you were under threat of attack by, say, a giant bear, your body would release chemicals into your bloodstream to give you extra energy to deal with the attack. Your body sees two ways to resolve the situation: you can run as fast as you can, known as flight, or you can take on the bear, known as fight. This is what is known as the flight or fight response. Ever feel butterflies in your stomach in a difficult situation or before a big event? This is the result of stress and part of the flight or fight response.

The thing about stress is that a lot of the time it is doing us a favour. The extra adrenaline pumping through our bodies can give us the concentration and stamina required to do a good job at an important task. The problem lies with having too much stress. At this level our nerves get the better of us and we end up stuffing up whatever it is we are doing.

Why Am I Stressed All the Time?

When you are in physical danger, this type of stress is known as survival stress.

Unfortunately in modern times, more often than not stress is caused by non-physical threats. It may be from a high workload, a confrontation with another person, or just worrying about things to come.

Internal Stress

Internal Stress is similar to worrying. This is when you constantly worry about a certain object or event. You may find yourself going through scenarios and worrying about what might happen. Internal stress can help you be prepared for situations, but it can also have negative consequences when it’s excessive.

Environmental stress

Environmental stress is caused by things outside your own body. This may be stress from constant loud noises or pollution, pressure from work, or problems with money. Emotional stress comes under this category too, for instance the stress caused by a break-up.

Fatigue and Overwork

Fatigue and Overwork is one of the leading causes of stress. This type of stress gradually builds up over a long period of time. If you have a busy job or a difficult family life you could be in danger. This kind of stress can be managed by integrating relaxation exercises into your daily life.

In these situations the fight or flight response is not beneficial. All that energy which is created within your body has nowhere to go. The immediate symptoms of stress, such as butterflies, tension, and nausea, come as a result.

Stress Management

Stress is not necessarily a bad thing. There are ways to use it for our benefit. The right level of stress can help to solve problems and deal with difficult situations. Too much stress actually impedes your performance and leaves you feeling run down.

One way to get stress under control is through management techniques. Meditation, relaxation, and yoga are great ways to lessen your stress. In fact, all exercise has been shown in studies to lower stress levels.

Disorganised people are far more likely to suffer from an anxiety-related disorder than their counterparts. So whether it’s a shopping list, your workload, or your social schedule, get it sorted and you’ll feel a whole lot better.

Stress is a Reaction, Not a Condition

The great thing about stress is that is can be controlled. Hence the buzzword stress management. For most people, staying in control of stress levels means doing yoga, taking the occasional day off work. Working towards being organised and accounting for time well is also advised.

We can’t always control what happens to us, but we can choose how we react to it. Feeling stressed out? Start with a list of all the things you are worried about. Can you change any of these things? If so, then get out there and do it. If not, then what are you losing sleep over?