The truth about stress
When we are stressed, there is a surge of hormones in your body. When your body detects stress, there is a small region in the base of the brain called the hypothalamus that reacts by causing the body to produce hormones that include adrenaline and cortisol.
These hormones help you to deal with any threats or pressure you are facing – which is called the ‘fight or flight’ response.
Adrenaline increases your heart rate, raises your blood pressure and provides extra energy.
Cortisol, known as the stress hormone, also temporarily increases energy by triggering the release of glucose into the bloodstream, to help the person fight or run away. At the same time, other bodily functions which are not immediately needed, such as digestion, are suppressed.
The body’s response to stress usually regulates itself, using the para-sympathetic nervous system. As your hormone levels fall, your heart and blood pressure will return to normal.
We all need a certain amount of stress or pressure to live well. It’s what gets you out of bed in the morning and motivates you throughout the day. However, it becomes a problem when there is too much or too little stress in our lives.
Whilst a lack of stress means your body is under-stimulated, stress that is too intense or prolonged, causes your body to release stress hormones over a long period. This increases the risk of a range of physical health problems including headaches, stomach upsets and high blood pressure. It can even increase the risk of having a stroke or heart attack.
More often, stress leads to psychological problems. It can make people feel distrust, anger, anxiety and fear, which in turn can destroy relationships at home and at work. Stress also plays a key role in the development of anxiety disorders and depression.
Long-term stress can play havoc with your immune system, and a recent study suggests it raises the odds of developing viral infections.
Causes of stress
Many aspects of life can cause stress, such as money problems, work issues or difficult relationships. When a person is stressed, it can get in the way of managing responsibilities, which in turn can pile on yet more pressure. Having to cope with illness can compound these sorts of stresses.
People often feel over-stressed as a result of an event or ‘trigger’. This doesn’t have to be negative, such as the death of a loved one, redundancy or divorce, it can also be seemingly positive like a new partner, new job or going on holiday.
Feelings of stress can occur over a short period of time or can be chronic, for example when someone is coping with long-term unemployment or is stuck in a bad relationship.
People have different ways of dealing with stress. Some situations that may be motivating to one person, could feel stressful to someone else due to their personality type.
Recent research suggests our genes are closely linked to our personalities and may therefore dictate how susceptible we are to stress.
If you are feeling overwhelmed with stress and feel like you are experiencing difficulty coping with your stress, call us. We offer stress coaching solutions as well as stress management within the workplace.
Whatever your needs, all it takes is a telephone call to begin making a positive difference to yourself. Call 0161 865 6488 today for a free consultation.