Stress
Stress can have both positive and negative effects in our lives.

Positive effects of stress include helping us constructively deal with daily problems and meeting the challenges that stress poses.

Negative effects of stress can occur when we lack the coping mechanisms to deal with it, or when it becomes continuous which can lead to depression and other health problems.

HOW DOES STRESS AFFECT OUR BODY?

Not all stress is bad. When you face a dangerous situation, you experience faster heartbeat, tense muscles, increase in blood pressure, fear, confusion, anger and sweating. Such physical and emotional reactions help us by increasing our concentration and other bodily function in order to prepare for a challenge. After meeting a challenge, the body relaxes and the heart rate, muscle tension and blood pressure return to normal. This gives the body a chance to recover physically and for us to feel emotionally rewarded for overcoming the challenge.

However, with chronic stress, those same nerve chemicals that are life-saving in short bursts can suppress functions that aren't needed for immediate survival. Your immunity is lowered and your digestive, excretory, and reproductive systems stop working normally. Once the threat has passed, other body systems act to restore normal functioning. Problems occur if the stress response goes on too long, such as when the source of stress is constant, or if the response continues after the danger has subsided.

People under stress may experience:

Headaches, back pain
Tense muscles
Shaky hands
Fatigue
Insomnia
Heartburn
Loss of interest in usual activities
Loss of appetite
Difficulty making decisions

People may also feel:

Nervous
Fearful
Confused
Powerless
Worried
Hostile
Tense and irritable
Sad and depressed
Unable to concentrate

All people under stress do not feel or share the same symptoms as above. Situations that are stressful for some people may be enjoyable to others. For example: public speaking, meeting new people, a new job…

WHAT CAN I DO TO COPE WITH STRESS?

The effects of stress tend to build up over time. Taking practical steps to maintain your health and outlook can reduce or prevent these effects.

If you or someone you know needs immediate help, please contact one of the following crisis hotlines:

Stress is part of everyone’s life…BUT it is how one perceives the situation.