In our modern society being stressed and feeling life is busy can be quite common. In daily conversations people will often mention how they are feeling under the pump, or juggling many different responsibilities. Stress appears to have lost the negative stigma it once had. Saying you are feeling stressed may even be a sign of working hard or getting things done. However, being stressed, busy and time poor is not sustainable. Few have seen the end result of increased stress in our lifestyles. There are various types of stress we can experience in our daily lives. The point of stress is to shift our body into a rapid response to a stimulus. Some stress can actually be beneficial for us, depending on what it is. The type of stress we want to be aware of is chronic stress.
Acute stress is experienced only for a short period such as having a test or a job interview. This type of stress can be beneficial and can help us to prepare for challenges. If acute stress is experienced on a single incident that is traumatic, this can cause mental health problems such as post-traumatic stress.
Chronic stress on the other hand can be cumulative and build up over time. Chronic stress is when our body is experiencing a stress response for a long period of time. This can be due to external issues such as work or worry about a certain issue. Situations such as isolation, relationship issues, physical health concerns, caring for someone, overworking or being in a stressful environment means that we may be experiencing a prolonged stress response. Sometimes when we have not had any opportunity to recover or process an event and something else happens, this can cause compounded stress.
When we experience an event which causes a stress response, our body releases adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones increase our heart rate, blood pressure and muscles tension. Our metabolism also speeds up, and our senses are heightened. We are ready to respond rapidly and effectively. Over time this stress response can cause the following physical symptoms:
Lowered immune system
Difficulty with memory
A sense of being overwhelmed