STRESS – Is It What We Go Through?

4 minutes

Feeling the veins beside our eyes pumping wild, a gush of energy rolling our fist, may be choking, wanting to scream and many other such responses. Yes we all know the clichéd word STRESS. If these are some of the behaviors and physical responses, there is an array of several thoughts and emotions that are associated to stress.

Curious on interacting with the experts tries to understand the impact of stress on humans.

Every other person I meet says “I am stressed”, “I am stressed out”, There is a lot of Stress”, What is STRESS?


Stress is the bodily and psychological responses created to the situations which poses potential threat to us. Situation where the outcome is unsure but important, we experience several conflicting thoughts and emotions that evokes stress within us.
Are there any particular group of people who are more stressed?


Stress does affect people of all age group around the world. On an average around 75% of the population experience stress in their regular routines (National Health Interview Survey,US). Indian women(87%) on an average experience relatively more stress than the rest of the world (Neilsen’s Women of Tomorrow 2011). The stress levels are increasing with each generation.
Could you tell me some reasons which contribute to stress in people?


Stress from work place/institutions account to a large share of stress among people. It includes pressure arising from deadlines to meet, the work load, employee relations, hierarchy and administrative rigidity. The other causes can be of the dynamics in relationship between people in families and social interactions also cause stress. Health of the people, different illness and even the increased use and updating of modern technology has resulted up to stress in 41% of the Indian employees.
You said stress produces bodily reactions. How does it affect the body?


When our body experiences or perceives a situation that posses threat to our equilibrium, it produces certain bodily responses like
· increased heart rate,
· increased breathing,
· reduced digestion,
· Release of several hormones like the adrenaline which causes the “fight or flight” responses and ACTH which supplies steady blood sugar levels in the person.
But then wouldn’t that be a problem?


Prolonged exposure to the stressful reaction and responses created will affect the body and result in various health issues of cardio-vascular (heart) diseases, diabetes, irregular blood pressure, lesser functioning of the Para-sympathetic Nervous System (PN) which is responsible for rest, digestion, sexual arousal, salivation etc.
Many conditions like insomnia, reduced interest or dysfunctional sexual life and gastro- intestinal problems and several other illnesses. Most importantly it affects the immune system and the fertility of individuals.
Does it affect the mind too?


Stress does affect the mind, emotions and the behaviors of the individuals.
Psychological illness like multiple personality, obsessive-compulsive disorders, phobias, generalized anxiety disorder, hypochondriasis (fear and excessive complaints of bodily disease) may also be developed.
So how can we better understand stress?


Three stages are involved in the person’s experience of stress.

Alarm – When we tend to detect the threat and the magnitude of the situations that we are facing.

Resistance – where in we put in several strategies to tackle with the situation and get a preferred outcome.

Exhaustion – When the stressor continues beyond our capacity, we run out of resources to tackle finally becoming susceptible to diseases and death. (Hans Selye’s theory, 1976).

So how should we deal with stress?


Though we use the term ‘stress’ very often, what makes it worse for people is the inability to identify their stressful situations and the stimulus/situations that are causing stress. So along with saying and experiencing the negative emotions, try to start detecting what are the causes for it. Break down the threats so that you can be better equipped to handle it. Finally have a healthy life style fostering to mind, body and soul.


A. Sabu John is your special friend from YourDOST. He is currently pursuing his MPhil in Psychology from Christ University. With teaching and facilitation as his passion, he has experience working with different population as a psychotherapist and also facilitating modules on Sexuality and Addiction.