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What is stress?

Most people associate the notion of stress with something bad, "nervous" and related to tension. This article reveals the real meaning of stress, the main stages of stress development and methods of managing stress.

In the usual sense stress is considered to be a negative phenomenon, but in fact it is not true. The notion of stress in the scientific world is defined more broadly: stress is any type of reaction by the human body that occurs in response to an external irritant. With that said, a positive reaction of the body is called eustress and a negative – distress. It is worth noting that the stress is unavoidable, and it is a constant companion of our lives. During stress our body launches specific mechanisms that help it to more successfully deal with external influences. Yet prolonged stress exhaust the human body, which at a certain point in time can no longer effectively resist it. That is why it is very important for people to regularly get out of prolonged stressful situations.

What are the external signs of stress?

When a person is under stress, the signs are very easy to recognize:

- Increased irritability and inadequate reaction;

- Decreased levels of activity;

- The need for alcohol;

- Constant dejectedness;

- Physiological responses of the body (heart palpitations, upset stomach, etc.)

What are the consequences of stress?

The consequences of stress can be manifested in a variety of physiological, psychological and behavioral disorders. If we talk about the physiological disorders, the expression "all diseases are caused by nerves" is absolutely true. It has been proven that stress causes such diseases as stomach ulcers and duodenal ulcers, colitis, ischemic heart disease, hypertension, asthma, obesity, diabetes, certain skin diseases, and many others. In addition, stress can cause irritability, depression, decreased ability to memorize and focus, etc.

How does stress originate?

Under the influence of external irritants and the occurrence of stressful conditions, very complex neural responses are launched. The development of stress happens in the following manner. In the beginning, in the cerebral cortex a powerful excitation focus originates – a dominant, which overmasters all mental and psychic activities of the body. After the dominant, the hypothalamus gets engaged, which causes the pituitary gland to emit large amounts of adrenocorticotropic hormone. Under the influence of this hormone the adrenal gland begins releasing stress hormones (adrenalin, etc.), which cause an increase in heart rate , increase in blood pressure, in other words, the body prepares itself for intense muscular exercise.

Methods of managing stress

At the end of the day, all methods of fighting stress are related to creating a different positive dominant competing with the one causing a stressful situation. That’s why one of the best ways to relieve stress is finding an interesting hobby. Stress is also largely caused by the fact that the body of a modern human being, although prepared for muscle exercise, does not perform them. Therefore, physical exercise and sports are great in managing stress. Also very helpful could be meditation, listening to soft and relaxing music, watching relaxing videos. In the work environment very helpful could be relaxation websites, such as ClickToRelax, where you can choose a background and sounds to your liking, relax for a few minutes. Just remember not to touch your mouse or keyboard, or you will have to start the session all over.

 

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