So, what Is Stress?

Feb. 12, 2013

Harmful stress and anxiety can become a vicious cycle that may make you feel powerless and fearful.  The more stress one has, the more negative one’s thoughts and emotions.

 

Stress is actually necessary for life.  It fuels creativity, learning, goal-setting, and survival instincts, to name a few.  Stress is only harmful when it disrupts the body’s balance.

 

Today, more people are suffering from stress than ever before.   Although stress is a normal physical response when one feels out of balance, continued periods of it without proper relaxation, breathing, muscle tension release, and positive thinking (reinforcement) can severely threaten your health.  Chronic stress can leave you feeling anxious and depressed.

 

People are affected by stress in many ways.  Some people develop stress-related illnesses such as asthma and hypertension.  Or they may respond with obsessive-compulsive thoughts and behaviors, social phobias, and a host of other phobias.  It is estimated that one in four persons suffer from anxiety at some time in their lives.

 

So What Is Stress?

 

One reacts to stress similar to the reaction of fear.  Fear occurs because we feel a threat to our wellbeing.   When the perceived threat to our wellbeing is not met by an actual life-threatening event, we experience stress that has no release.

 

When stress overwhelms the nervous system, the body becomes clogged with chemicals that prepare one to fight or flee (fight or flight syndrome).  Although this stress response can be life-saving in an emergency or true life-threatening event when you must react in an instant, it can wear your body down if it is activated contrary to this within the normal stressors of life that are not life-threatening.

 

We experience stress when we are in situations where we feel under threat while we are not actually in any immediate danger.  As a result, our bodies respond with the fight or flight syndrome. This syndrome which normally prepares our bodies to either fight or flee involves many physical changes such as increased heartbeat, shallow breathing, sharper senses, muscle tension, cold extremities, sweating, etc.  The Fight or Flight Syndrome normally serves as an instinctive reaction to danger.  When this powerful response is set off and there is no actual life-threatening event, the physical feelings created by this syndrome have no release and thus build up as stress in the body.   This stress will eventually find an outlet via chronic fatigue, anxiety or depression, inappropriate behavior, and a host of physical illnesses. 

 

Relaxation via proper breathing, muscle relaxation, tension release, and positive thinking, slow down the heightened state of readiness apparent in the Fight or Flight Syndrome thus returning the body to balance.  

See Essence of Thoughts