Although stress is normally seen as a bad thing, believe it or not, there is such a thing as good stress, many positive accomplishments in life relate to feelings of stress:
- If you did not feel a need to achieve, you would not take a challenging job.
- If you did not feel a need to learn, you would not study
- If you did not feel a need for friends, you would not join social groups.
All these situations are examples of stress that can make a positive impact on your life. You feel pressure to satisfy needs, wants, or desires that you have; you respond in a positive way to obtain satisfaction. This type of stress is referred to as eustress, a beneficial stress that enables individuals to strive to meet challenges.
Now consider negative stress, often referred to as distress due to the negative impact it has on your life. For example, if someone you love is sing, you feel distress. If you are unable to keep up with new technology in your office, you feel distress. If you receive a negative performance review at your job, you feel distress. Even the stresses of driving to work in heavy traffic or getting you and your family ready for work each morning can cause negative stress.
If you are unable to cope with stresses, you can become physically, mentally and/or emotionally ill. Therefore, you must achieve an appropriate balance between the distress in your life and the ability to cope with it.
Acute stress occurs when you must respond instantaneously to a crisis. For example, if your car goes into a skid on an icy road, you must react quickly. When you experience acute stress, two chemicals are produced in your body – adrenaline and non-adrenaline. These chemicals have stimulated people to perform incredible acts in a crisis – from lifting extremely heavy objects off injured people (objects they would not be able to lift in an ordinary situation) to fighting off ferocious animals. Immediately after the crisis, however, these heroic people may become weak, their hands may shake, and their knees may quiver. They may even collapse. All of these after effects are the body’s response to the acute stress events.
Chronic stress occurs when a distressful situation is prolonged with no rest or recuperations for the body. Chronic stress triggers the production of different biochemical in the body. While your body can break down adrenaline and non-adrenaline, the chemicals produced by chromic stress cannot be broken down, and they remain in your system where they can damage your body. Chemicals produced by chronic stress can cause physical problems such as:
- High blood pressure, Cardiovascular disease, Migraine headaches, Ulcers, Elevated cholesterol, Weakening of the immune system, Shortness of breath, Dizziness, Chest pains and Back pains
Chronic stress can also cause emotional problems such as:
- Depression, Withdrawal, Deep-seated anger, Self-rejection, Anxiety and Loss of self-esteem
Stress can cause numerous health problems if you don’t manage it properly. High blood pressure, headaches, depression, and anxiety are some of the health problems to which stress may contribute.