Stress is a double edged sword, whereas the optimum amount of stress can actually bring out the best in a person, spurring them on to their best productivity levels and helping them achieve targets and goals, excessive stress can be very detrimental and can lead to a host of medical problems both mental and physical.
Hans Selye distinguished between eustress and distress, the former being the state where the body is able to raise its capabilities and the latter being the stage when persistent stress is not able to be coped with and which then leads to anxiety and even depression.
When we are exposed to situations that are stressful, or stressors the body reacts in a variety of ways including headaches, increased heart rate and muscular tension, difficulty in concentration, irritability among others.
Stress is a cyclical process that originates in alarm when the source of stress is identified or, which then proceeds to the next stage, of resistance when the organism tries to cope with the situation which however cannot be kept up indefinitely and which then results in exhaustion, the final stage when the resources at one’s disposal are drained and functioning impaired.
Stress can directly or indirectly cause a variety of diseases and disorders in the body and this therefore important to keep within check:
- Ulcers: It isn’t just an old wives’ tale that stress causes you to have ulcers. While it is true that 805 ulcers are caused by bacterial infection, the link between stress and ulcers is undeniable at least as a contributing factor in the formation of the ulcer. Psychological factors are in fact seen to play a significant role in the formation of ulcers. Trouble with the digestive system can also result from stress.
- It has been seen that stress leads to depression in a number of cases where a preexisting or genetic predisposition to depression can push a person over the edge when they are placed in stressful situations repeatedly and consistently. It has been observed that those who are severely stressed will go on to develop depression that can result in low self-esteem, and loss of interest or pleasure in normally enjoyable activities.
- Stress is also known to trigger certain kinds of diabetes.
- Stress is also known to increase chances of developing cardiovascular disease and disorders and increase chances of stroke.