For most we are lucky enough not to experience real major traumatic events in our lives, this is not to say that we do not routinely experience stress. Stress can be considered as a reaction to stimuli that threatens our psychological or physical well being. This stimulus can be an event, situation or object that we perceive as a threat to our own equilibrium, and this varies from person to person.
We have three components in how we perceive stress.
Behavioural Response. This is termed by our coping ability, be it our ability to address how we think of stress and change this thinking pattern, or by coping with stress by trying to avoid the stressors in our lives or just asking for help in changing the stressful situation. We can also look at the emotions around stress and take part in breathing exercises adapting our way of life to include exercise and healthy living and engaging in activities that bring about pleasure in our lives. It should be noted that coping works when we have control over a situation.
Physiological Responses. Our physical responses to stress are more or less the same. The initial phase as most will know is the fight or flight phase in which our bodies prepare for conflict by increasing our heart rate which leads to sweating, quickened breathing, perspiration and our pupils dilate. All of which prepares us to fight or run from the perceived stress. The second stage is when the stress continues, in this phase we adapt to the prolonged stress reaction, however the physiological responses are still high, if we can not get past this we then reach exhaustion which heightens are risk of disease and illness. Our bodies are susceptible to such conditions and our ability to fight new stressors is depleted.
Emotional Responses. We can experience many emotions during times of stress which need to be brought into perspective and control. Frustration can lead to anger, this can be seen in working situation were one can become frustrated with for example a colleague which may lead to anger. Stress from such life changes can lead to Anxiety and Fear.
Stress related illness is all too common in our lives today. We are bombarded by stressors each day, we work longer hours, are more pressured by technology such as mobile phones that bring pressure straight to us wherever we happen to be. It is therefore vital that we understand the issue of stress in order to be more aware of it and to allow us to take appropriate measures to ensure against it or to reduce it from our lives.