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Stress and Distress


Category : Health Care, Stress

What Is Stress?

Stress is a very normal human reaction to a perceived threat from any source. A certain amount of stress in our lives is good for all of us. Stress can mean different things to different people. It can have a positive and a negative effect. Stress can be positive when it motivates us to get things done that are important to us. However, it can be negative when we constantly feel pressurised or traumatised by too many demands.

Without some stress we could not get out of bed in the morning, never mind do a day’s work. However, when we are under too much stress or when the stress we are under exceeds our ability to cope, stress can turn into ‘distress’. By distress I mean that the level of stress we are under is having a negative effect on us. This can be bad for both our short- and long-term health, with potential adverse health consequences. Canadian Viagra Online

What Happens to Our Bodies When We Are Under Stress?

Stress wakens up or arouses our system, so that we experience the ‘fight or flight’ response. At a primitive level this meant that when a caveman was walking in the woods and came across a big brown bear his body could make very quick adjustments so that he could take drastic action and save himself from the bear.

The heart starts to beat faster and pump more blood, raising the blood pressure. The pupils (the dark parts) of the eyes widen to allow in more light, the breathing gets faster and the tubes going into the lungs widen to let in more oxygen, the mind becomes more alert, blood is diverted towards the muscles, which become tense and ready for action, while blood is diverted away from the gut and the skin, which becomes cold and clammy. As well as that, hormones called adrenaline and cortisol are pumped into the blood, which causes the blood sugar to rise providing an immediate source of energy. Changes also occur in the blood, enabling it to clot more easily – a basic protective mechanism to enable quick repair of any wounds. All of these changes happen very quickly, allowing our caveman to fight or take flight. In the case of our brown bear, his best option is to leg it as fast as he can. Female Viagra Australia

So, as you can see, stress is an essential and very useful mechanism by which the body and mind can adapt to rapidly changing circumstances. Stress can be good for our health and welfare and is a necessary tool for survival.

You can see from the diagram (above) that a certain amount of stress increases performance; however, once the amount of stress we are under goes beyond a certain point, known as the ‘tipping point’, then performance actually starts to reduce with increasing amounts of stress. In this situation we are in a state of distress, which can be very harmful to our health. The amount of stress we can individually cope with varies from person to person. This may tend to depend at least partly on personality, but also on our own coping mechanisms for dealing with stress.