What exactly does Stress mean?
Numerous unavoidable situations in a person’s life can be stressful, be it exams, daily chores, finances, job, relationships, pregnancy, parenthood, remembering disturbing experiences in the past to ageing and sickness. Moreover, stress comes with its own set of bad effects on health.
Stress can not be completely avoided as it is part of our body’s reaction to situations. Some situations can produce positive reactions in our body (stress in a positive way), which is known to promote health e.g. during exercise, dancing, sports and leisure activities or while watching a thriller. If the source of stress is a joyous and positive activity, it will promote good health (eustress).
During facing a threat or excitement, adrenaline is secreted, and concentration is on providing the maximum energy to the body so that we can save ourselves from any threatening / harmful situation or run faster in joy. When in stress, the body slows down other health promoting functions till the body and mind relaxes and moves back to its normal state.
Stress emanating from a negative emotion (fear, sadness, despair, irritation, frustration, jealousy, nervousness, and anger) is considered harmful (distress). Sometimes thinking about a situation that can produce a negative emotion can also create distress. Our body has a limit to handle stress, and one has to relax, and go back to normal within a certain amount of time to avoid the negative effects of stress.
Distress puts pressure on the cardiovascular system (the heart and blood vessels) as during stress the heartbeat goes up. Other ailments caused by excessive negative stress include headaches, diabetes, gastric disorders, poor immunity, premature ageing, poor concentration / memory, and psoriasis (a skin disease).
-Reference: Beating Stress by Arlene Matthews Uhl