Understanding Stress

Stress is the state of mental tension. The psychology definition of stress is the process by which one perceives and responds to certain events, or stressors which are viewed as challenging. Stressors are triggers which can be physically, emotionally, or spiritually harmful. (Macdonald). Over 110 million people die every year as a direct result of stress, which is definitely preventable. Stress is not an emotion; it is a reaction to stimulus perceived as disturbing or disrupting. The common factor in anxiety, headaches; cardiovascular disease, diabetes, asthma, depression, fears, and irritable bowel etc. is stress exacerbates the condition. The amygdala is immune to the effects of stress hormones, so it may continue to sound an “alarm” inappropriately leading to a chronic state of inflammation and lower immunity. According to WebMD the signs or symptoms of stress include:
Emotional symptoms of stress include:

  • Becoming easily agitated, frustrated, and moody
  • Feeling overwhelmed, like you are losing control or need to take control
  • Having difficulty relaxing and quieting your mind
  • Feeling bad about yourself (low self-esteem), lonely, worthless, and depressed
  • Avoiding others
  • Physical symptoms of stress include:
  • Low energy
  • Headaches
  • Upset stomach, including diarrhea, constipation, and nausea
  • Aches, pains, and tense muscles
  • Chest pain and rapid heartbeat
  • Insomnia
  • Frequent colds and infections
  • Loss of sexual desire and/or ability
  • Nervousness and shaking, ringing in the ear, cold or sweaty hands and feet
  • Dry mouth and difficulty swallowing
  • Clenched jaw and grinding teeth
  • Cognitive symptoms of stress include:
  • Constant worrying
  • Racing thoughts
  • Forgetfulness and disorganization
  • Inability to focus
  • Poor judgment
  • Being pessimistic or seeing only the negative side
  • Behavioral symptoms of stress include:
  • Changes in appetite — either not eating or eating too much
  • Procrastinating and avoiding responsibilities
  • Increased use of alcohol, drugs, or cigarettes
  • Exhibiting more nervous behaviors, such as nail biting, fidgeting, and pacing


Many individuals do not consider themselves to be stressed at all. You may say how can a person not know they are stressed? According to The Richmond Hypnosis Center, people become accustomed to having unresolved internal problems. (1). It is easy to tell someone to stop stressing, but how do they stop stressing if they never knew they were stressed to begin with? According to Medicine.net, A key aspect of a healthy response to stress is the time course. Responses must be initiated rapidly, maintained for a proper amount of time, and then turned off to ensure an optimal result. An over-response to stress or the failure to shut off a stress response can have negative biological and mental-health consequences for an individual. (MedicineNet.com).

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