Fighting Stress

Know Your Stress

Stress is a feeling that's created when we react to particular events. The human body responds to people by activating the nervous system and specific hormones. Stress affects most people in some way. Acute (sudden, short-term) stress leads to rapid changes throughout the body.

When people feel stressed by something going on around them, their bodies react by releasing chemicals into the blood. Almost all body systems (the heart and blood vessels, the immune system, the lungs, the digestive system, the sensory organs, and brain) gear up to meet perceived danger.
The stress could prove beneficial in a critical, life-or-death situation. Over time, however, repeated stressful situations put a strain on the body that may contribute to physical and psychological problems.


Anything that poses a challenge or a threat to our well-being is a stress. Some stresses get you going and they are good for you-without any stress at all many say our lives would be boring and would probably feel pointless. Stress is the response of the nervous system to stressors that are too large to handle. It is the internalized result of external overloads. It consists of stored abnormalities that serve to protect us from repeated exposure to the same overloads by limiting our functioning.


In general, stress is related to both external and internal factors. External factors include the physical environment, including your job, your relationships with others, your home, and all the situations, challenges, difficulties, and expectations you're confronted with on a daily basis. Internal factors determine your body's ability to respond to, and deal with, the external stress-inducing factors. Internal factors which influence your ability to handle stress include your nutritional status, overall health and fitness levels, emotional well-being, and the amount of sleep and rest you get.

Stress is the emotional and physical way in which we respond to pressure. Stress can cause both mental and physical symptoms. The effects of stress are different for different people.

The emotional (mental) symptoms of stress include:

  • Tension
  • Irritability
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Feeling excessively tired
  • Trouble sleeping

The physical symptoms of stress include:

  • Dry mouth
  • A pounding heart
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Stomach upset
  • Headache
  • Frequent urination
  • Sweating palms
  • Tight muscles that may cause pain and trembling

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