|What is psychological stress?
What is stress? Most people think of stress as an external
event, like traffic or too much work and too little time in
which to do it. Stress isn't really stress unless you
experience it as stress. Like a tree falling in the forest
when no one is there, a stress event without a person taking
it in - just isn't stress. Stress needs you, but you don't
What causes it?
Stress happens in the body when you react to an event as if
it were a physical threat. Your brain decides what
constitutes a stress 'emergency'. Your brain takes a split
second to decide between the 'fight or flight' emergency
reaction or some more low-key way to react to a situation.
If your brain decides emergency your body shifts into
death-prevention mode. Adrenaline pumps up your heart rate
and blood pressure. Your pupils dilate. Digestion and other
non-emergency processes shut down. Energy moves into the
muscles. Now you can jump higher, run faster, punch harder.
This is a good thing if your emergency happens to involve a
physical sort of challenge. Like if you suddenly had to
throw something out the window before it goes
What happens during stress?
Otherwise, you now have a physical stress management moment
beginning. Your body, deprived of the opportunity to run,
jump, punch, is now at risk for stress related discomfort -
headaches, indigestion and elevated blood pressure are
examples of what may happen. One such emergency reaction is
not too big a problem. Imagine this emergency response
activated over, and over and over.. in a place like an
office. This kind of stress leads to physical and
psychological symptoms. It makes you feel uncomfortable and
blocks the ability to feel happy or pleasant or relaxed.
What to do during stress episodes?
Many brains signal emergency a bit too often. Maybe you're
in a busy office where incoming phone calls may be angry
customers. After a few calls from irate people, you find
that the ringing of the phone triggers an emergency
response. You feel more as if were about to strike. Luckily,
your brain also has the ability to change this pattern.
Having fun is a natural antidote for stress