What is stress

What is “stress”?

We all may have heard people around us exclaim that they are experiencing stress. We ourselves may have said so on numerous occasions as well. But what is “stress”?

We experience stress when a person may feel overwhelmed, stretched or find it difficult to cope with a challenging situation. This may occur when they perceive the resources and resilience available to them are outweighed by the demands placed on them.

This assessment of the situation can set our body in a heightened state of awareness or attention, maintained by the autonomic nervous system responsible for the fight/flight /freeze response to perceived threats.

When this situation persists over time, it may contribute to changes in behaviour like

– irritation
– anger outbursts
– drop in focus
– changes in appetite
– sleep disturbances
– loss of motivation among other changes.

The impact is not only behavioural and psychological but also extends to physical health like experiencing headaches, body pains, diarrhoea. Chronic stress can result in

– High blood pressure
– Heart disease
– Obesity
– Diabetes

It is important to remember to regulate our experience of stress by either actively reducing the demands or increasing our resources.

Remember your feelings are valid, and you are not alone. It is okay to reach out for mental health support to work on navigating through one’s experience of stress and building healthy coping strategies.

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