Most people usually experience stress at some time or another. Getting stressed is simply our body's reaction to a challenging set of circumstances. Stress itself should not be thought of as a bad thing; some people thrive on stress and the stress of deadlines can help them focus on the task in hand. However, some people can become very stressed and as a result it affects their health and well being. When we perceive a threat, our bodies instinctively prepare themselves for it by secreting hormones. This is what happens when we become excessively stressed.
These hormones in turn, spark physical changes such as an increase in blood flow to the brain and muscles but it is reduced to the skin and internal organs. The long term effects of these changes can be damaging and can cause an increase of fatty acids in the blood, resulting in arterial problems. It can also cause a suppression of the immune system, weakening a person's ability to fight infection.
Symptoms of stress include:
Prolonged exposure to stress can be damaging and can lead to increased blood pressure and even heart attacks. If you feel you have an on-going problem with stress, you should consult your GP.
Stress management and self-awareness (i.e. you know you are suffering from stress as you can spot the signs) are very useful in combating stress. They help by changing the way a person reacts to a stressful situation and therefore reduce the anxiety someone may feel.