Is stress really that bad?
We are hearing so many warnings about stress and what can it so to us,
Stress is suddenly guilty for all our troubles, especially the ones connected to our body.
Stress causes headaches, people get cancer, it is guilty for cardio – vascular diseases. We can’t loose weight because of it and we got fat around our belly, we have truble sleeping, etc.
It seems like the whole society is under stress.
But is it really? Is stress really the secret killer and a cause of most of our problems?
I would love to say that they are exaggerate, but unfortunately, i can’t.
It’s true. Stress is big cause for a lot of our troubles.
What exactly is stress?
We can saj that stress is realistic or unrealistic treat that shakes our normal being. Thus it is not necessary that the stress resulting from the actual risk, what causes stress is what we percieve is dangerous or threatening for us. For example, flying on a plane can be an unique, fun experience for someone, while evokes fear and unpleasant feelings in other.
All stress is not bad. We all need some stress to push us forward and motivate us.
We all know that feeling when we are close to the deadline and our body is tense and all functions of the body are focued on completing the task. When we are finally done, we feel completely relax and all the tensions went somewhere far, far away.
This type of stress is good and healthy.
We all need a ceratian amount of stress. If our ancestors in prehistoric times would not feel the stress and tension while being chased by the furious cave lion, they would probably be eaten.
Stress is linked to our, so called, »Run or Fight« reaction in our body, which helps us to conquer dangerous situations.
We still experience this type of stress in the event of sudden stressors, such as natural disasters or direct personal attack. In such cases, our almighty body makes sure that the level of the stress hormone- cortisol, returns to normal level by itself.
But (there’s always a but) as we know we are no longer ferocious hunters and gatherers, but modern homo sapiens, caught up in the urban jungles of big cities, far away from the actual dangers of wild prehistory forests.
But on the other hand, our organic body not very much different from the body of our ancestors. The only difference is that dangerous animals and natural disasters have been replaced by demanding bosses, short deadlines, long working hours, modern society’s demands, financial crisis and so on …
Modern man is constantly subjected to such “small stressors”, which, at first glance, don’t seem dangerous, but in the long term, can have much more serious consequences to our well being.
As I said before, in stressful situations cortisol levels increase and if we know how to relax, calm down and use right tehniques to conquer all the stressors from the environment, our cortisol level returns to normal and stress doesn’t have such a bad impact on our body.
The problem occurs when we are subjected to daily stress and we don’t process it, so cortisol can not return to normal levels. Many of us believe that we know how to relax , but sometime the tension in our body is so powerful that we don’t really achive that true, deep relaxation, that really releases stress and calms us down.
People often mix processing stressful situations with distraction. For example, when we watch TV, we can be relaxed to some extent, but the majority of us is just distracted from the things that are causing us stress. This means that stress is actually still somewhere within us and is probably causing us some demage we don’t really notice at first. So for the real release of tension and stress, we usually need to do something more then just turn on TV and watch our favorite TV show.
I will write about how to avoid health, emotional, behavioral and other problems cause by stress some other time, today I only want to give you simple explanation of why stress is causing us so much trouble.
Ok, so I don’t want to be all negative.
We actually can quite quickly see if we are under »good« or »bad« stress.
Simply said, when we are under »good stress«, after it’s gone, we feel relief, relaxation, happiness and satisfaction. Like, for example, when we have an exam and after we are finished we feel like we are »free«.
But when we are under »bad« stres that is dangerous for us, we just don’t feel that relief and relaxation. For example sometimes we work on some project really, really hard and when it’s finally over, we think we will feel good and relaxed, but we just don’t…we are just tired.
Why? Because we were probably under too much stress for too log withouth releasing it and allowing our body to return to normal.
Stress is really one big nuisance of modern man.
So I hope you all will be able to take tame for yourself, have a little downtime, sometimes say no to the things you don’t want to, rest, take time for important relationships, activities and hobbies. Because when we do things we love, the »dangers« of the outside world don’t seem so horrible after all.
“Sometimes the best thing you can do is not to think, not wonder, not imagine, not obsess. Just breathe, and have faith that everything will wor kout fort the best”
- Bourne, Edmund J. The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook, 6th edition. A New Harbinger Publication.
- Elkin, Alen. 2014. Obvladovanje stresa za telebane. Založba Pasadena.
- Grippo, Angela. 2016. Why Stress is both good and bad: 5 facts that might suprise you; plus advice on how to cope. Available on: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-wide-wide-world-psychology/201601/why-stress-is-both-good-and-bad (18. april 2017)
- Roberts Stoler, Diane. 2014. The effect of stress on Sleep, Memory and Anxiety: an introduction to stress in its various forms. Available on: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-resilient-brain/201406/the-effects-stress-sleep-memory-and-anxiety (18. april 2017).