Stress Is A Killer! Isn’t It? Part 1
Stress is something we hear about all time. In recent years we hear about it more and more as change becomes more common place. In fact, for most of us, stress is something we all live with to some extent. So does everyone need to worry about their health because stress is bad and it kills? The short answer to this is no because stress isn’t bad and doesn’t necessarily kill.
So let’s start by defining stress. Stress has differing definitions hence why it is not necessarily a bad thing and killer. One definition in the Oxford dictionary is ‘pressure or tension exerted on a material object’. The HSE (Health & Safety Executive) define it as ‘a harmful reaction people have to undue pressures and demands placed on them at work’. The clear distinction here is the HSE are looking at stress in a work context relating to safety. So they are looking at the worse end or negative stress. The definition I like is ‘your body’s way of responding to any kind of demand’ from www.mtscil.org. The latter definition encourages us to look at the different kinds of stress and why in some instances stress is a killer, yet in others it’s a lifesaver.
Types of Stress
Do a search on types of stress and you’ll get various categorisations. I’ll share the categorising that I have found most helpful, and I hope you will too.
Response to danger in all people and animals. It’s the fight, flight or freeze reaction to someone or something that endangers your life or may physically harm you.
This is a common form of stress that refers to actual physical activities and events which can wreak havoc on our body. This includes sleep and travel.
Probably the most common form of stress we suffer from. This could be the result of a relationship break up, an argument with your spouse or feeling overwhelmed at work.
This type of stress is often missed. It occurs as a result trauma to the body like an operation or injury. It may often lead to intense pain and continues until we recover.
Acute vs. Chronic Stress
Medically there is often a distinction between acute stress and chronic stress. Chronic stress refers to stress that is extended impacting people every day and can last for years or even decades. On the other hand acute, stress is a type of stress occurs for a certain period or because of certain factors in the environment.
Knowing the different types of stress and possible causes can go some way towards dealing with stress more effectively.
Stress itself can be useful if it keeps us alive or gives us the energy to be more effective. Problems arise when it’s prolonged or when we’re poorly balanced and not getting enough recovery.
Stress can wreak havoc on us, and it can make us sick. Stress related illnesses range from high blood pressure, heart disease, depression and anxiety, insomnia, and digestive issues to name a few. Heart disease is quite obviously very serious because of the increased risk of heart attack. However, what we need to distinguish is whether the stress chronic? If it is, then it’s important to identify if it’s physical or emotional, (or traumatic) and working out what can be done.
Next blog, we’ll look at the effect stress has on us and recognising our own stress triggers. This series will end with stress relieving techniques.
So until next time, take care.