Causes of stress and how the body reacts

Stress is how our bodies respond to demands and threats; that is when there is a sense of danger, whether real or imagined.

A stress response is a way our bodies respond to protect us from the effect of stress. When working correctly, it helps you get focused, energetic, and alert. Stress can save your life in an emergency by giving you some extra energy to defend yourself.

When we feel threatened, our bodies respond by releasing a flood of stress hormones that include adrenaline and cortisol that arouse the body for emergency action or fright. Adrenaline makes our hearts beat faster and more robust, raises blood pressure, and increases breathing rate. Adrenaline also makes muscles tighter and improves our senses of smell, hearing, and sight required for emergencies.

These changes collectively improve our stamina, speeds our reaction time, and enhances our focus in preparation for a fight or fleeing movements from the danger at hand. On the other hand, cortisol increases circulating glucose to support the metabolic alteration that will demand more energy to sustain.

Causes of stress

Stressors are situations that cause stress. We always think of stressors as negative, such as an exhausting work schedule or a rocky relationship; however, anything that is overdemanding is stressful. These can include positive events like getting married, buying a new house, going to college, or receiving a job promotion.

Not all stress is external. Some stress originates within ourselves. Stress is external or internal. When you think of or worry excessively about something that may not happen or have pessimistic or irrational thoughts, you can develop stress.

What causes stress depends at least on perception. Something stressful to you may fail to trigger stress in another person. Others can enjoy your stressful experience. Some people can perform well under pressure, while others shut off entirely when demands of work escalate. You can enjoy taking care of your younger sibling while your other sibling doesn’t enjoy it. This is what perception does to us.

External causes of stress

  • Major life changes
  • Demanding office or school work
  • Relationship challenges
  • Financial challenges
  • Being too busy with no time to rest
  • Family and children

Internal causes of stress

  • Attitude- i.e. all-or-none attitude
  • Negative self-talk
  • Unrealistic expectations
  • Pessimism- this refers to the act of always thinking of adverse outcomes
  • Inflexible thinking
  • Inability to accept realities or uncertainties

Excessive work stress can lower morale and reduce productivity. Work stress may even impact physical and social health, which will affect your relationship with your family and friends. Whatever the demands you have, there are steps you can take to protect yourself from the damaging effects of stress, improve productivity and bolster your well-being wherever you are.

Caregiver stress can be overwhelming, especially if you are the head of the family or the breadwinner. If caregiving stress is not checked, it can take a toll on relationships, health, and the state of mind, leading to burnout. However, you can do things to relieve caregiver stress and regain a sense of hope and balance in life.

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