Although stress is not considered a diagnosable mental illness, it impacts all of us.  It can be related to mental disorders and how an individual perceives the people and situations around them.  For example, an individual with a phobia or anxiety disorder may interpret normal situations as more dangerous creating significant stress. 

Stress essentially describes the brains response to a specific demand.  It can be an emotional or mental strain that an individual experiences as a result of a life situation, and that is perceived generally to be negative or “stressful.” However, it’s important to note that good stress exists as well. It can be a short-term situation, such as being stuck in traffic convinced you will be late to an important appointment, a marriage or divorce, a serious illness, traveling by air and getting through all the TSA security, a stressful or toxic work environment, and much more. 

An external situation, once perceived as a threat, triggers nerve chemicals and hormones that are released to help protect you, called the fight or flight response.  Your muscles tense, your heart rate and breathing increases, your brain uses more oxygen. This response is partially a result of Cortisol being released in your body, which is a steroid hormone produced by your adrenal gland.  This is a good thing in an emergency.  However, chronic or long term sustained stress keeps these nerve chemicals/hormones flowing and can have a very negative effect on you and your body.  For example, it can impact your digestive and reproductive systems, result in chronic headaches, lower your immunity, and contribute to heart disease, hypertension, anxiety, and depression. 

So it is very important to learn how to effectively manage your stress.  This is a skill all need since we all experience stress, and it’s a skill all can learn.  One of the best ways to manage your stress is to learn coping skills over time that enable you to better handle strenuous or difficult times.  The good news is that through these effective stress management techniques such as deep breathing, meditating, mindfulness, physical exercising and other strategies, it is possible to minimize the negative effects that stress has simply by learning the tools to handle it.

For more information on stress relief tactics and tools, and the effects that stress can have on a person’s well-being, investigate the articles and resources provided here. While difficult situations cannot be avoided entirely, learning to manage through them can help you minimize the negative effects of stress over time.

The above summary by WebPsychology.

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