Stress - An Overview
"Stress can destroy much more than physical health. Too often, it eats away at our hope, belief and faith." Charles F. Glassman
The smell of an orange relieves stress. Smelling an orange or eating one can reduce stress by over 70%.
Stress is your body's way of responding to any kind of demand or threat. When you sense danger—whether it's real or imaginary – the body's defence kicks into high gear in a rapid, automatic process known as the "fight-or-flight" reaction or the "stress response." The stress response is the body's way of protecting you.
Chronic worriers are at risk for health problems due to prolonged stress response by the body. When we experience stress, our bodies release the stress hormones: cortisol and adrenaline. It is a physiological response to an event where we perceive that we do not have the resources to adequately cope.
These high stress hormones cause your blood pressure to increase, your heart rate to increase and other psychological changes which over a long period of time, leads to a shorter life span. In a British study on stress and mortality, researchers found that stress can lead to a higher risk for death by cardiovascular disease, cancer, heart attack and stroke.
There are two (2) types of stress. The first, Type 1 is called acute stress, and it is caused by an episodic event; after the event the body moves into repair mode. For example, an event would be waiting for the bus which is delayed on a day you are late for work, and the stress reaction and rejuvenation follows.
The second, Type 2 is called chronic stress and it is caused by prolonged events or situations. An example of this would be, constant abuse or name calling from one's spouse. This could occur over a period of years.
The effects from both types of stress can be truly devastating, as outlined above. Keep in mind that a certain degree of stress may be beneficial for you, however it soon reaches an optimal level and then beneficial effects are reduced and negative effects show up.
It is estimated that approximately 70 to 90 % of all diseases are related to stress in some way. Some may be caused by stress or some may cause stress.
Keep in mind the body-mind connection. Events in the environment can impact our senses and thereby create perceptions. In turn, we interpret these perceptions to create meanings. Our interpretations coupled with trigger thoughts can lead to stress and other emotions such as anger.