Stress is an emotional factor which is triggered by the physical factors in and around us. It is generally triggered when the body senses any kind of demand or threat. The stress response is the body’s way of protecting us. When the body senses danger, be it real or imagined, the body responses through a “FIGHT-FLIGHT “mechanism.
Stress is not always bad. A good amount of stress helps us perform better. It is one of the reasons due to which our mind remains focussed, alert and energetic. At times of emergency, stress can be the key factor which is responsible for our physical well-being.
A very common and basic example of stress among the students is what we call the peer pressure. It is a basic element which creates a sense of demand of that situation and drives the mind of a person to subject that situation to a state of idealism.
Stress is generally categorised into two types
- ACUTE STRESS
- CHRONIC STRESS
It is generally a short-term stress. It is generally caused due to small events for a small period. This is more like a ‘on the spot’ kind of a stress which helps our mind and body deal with situation in a better way.
Few symptoms of Acute stress include:
- Chest pains
- Heart palpitations
- Stomach aches
- Shortness of breath
Acute Stress generally happens in situations like if a person is having trouble at work, or when their children have problem at school, or even when there is a deadline approaching. So, we can say that once the problem is solved the stress is diminished.
Acute Stress can be treated by having proper rest and relaxing the mind and body. Usually anti-anxiety medication is taken if it is observed that the acute stress is triggering for turn towards anxiety or panic attacks.
It is generally a kind of stress which stays with the person for a longer period. It can be either directly imposed due to a situation or it can also be an acute stress which in course of time turns into a chronic stress. These kinds of stress are harmful for the mind as well as the body. Chronic stress usually stays with the person even though the problem is resolved because the feelings and emotions surrounding the situation may not have been dealt properly.so we can say that the body is not good at dealing with chronic stress.
Few symptoms of Chronic Stress are:
- Increased Blood Pressure
- Increased Breathing Rate
- Increased Heart Rate
- Increased Levels of Muscle Tension
- Increased Blood Sugar
- Decreased Immunity
Due to these, the body has to eventually work harder to function normally. We can say that it also does creates a second normal self inside our body and this new normal leads to additional health issues like heart diseases, stomach ulcers, chronic pains and even depression.
So, if a person is dealing with chronic stress, should try to improvise their coping skills with exercise, meditation, yoga, deep breathing etc. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy & medication also helps in treating the chronic stress.
DOES STRESS AFFECT MEN AND WOMEN DIFFENRENTLY? HOW? WHY?
The main reasons why men and women are affected differently because of stress is because of the three hormones:
When a person starts getting stressed, cortisol and epinephrine increase the person’s blood pressure and blood sugar levels and cortisol alone decreases the power of the immune system. When the women hormones release the cortisol and epinephrine in a stressful situation, oxytocin is released in the brain which counter the production of cortisol and epinephrine by promoting nurturing and relaxing emotions. But when the men are stressed, a very small amount of oxytocin is released which makes only a little difference in a stressful situation. The release of these hormones in women tend to change their behaviour into a befriending or caring nature where they calm themselves down and handle stress effectively, whereas in men they end up in a fight or flight situation.
The parts of brain of men and women also works differently when they are in a stressful situation. When men are stressed their brains failed to process the emotions of other individuals i.e., they had a low brain activity in the areas of the brain which helps them understand the emotions of other people. But when women are stressed, they significantly understood the emotions of other individuals i.e., their levels of brain activity were significantly high which in turn helped them understand the emotional part of the people even when they were stressed.
THE ROLE TO EMPATHY
Empathizing others is affected when a person is under stress. Men and women, both were found to react differently when they were given a stressful task and observed whether they empathize or not
Men tend to turn more self centric and move on to a fight and flight situation and were found less efficient to understand people’s intentions and emotions.
But in case for women, it was seen that the reaction was completely different and opposite. It was observed that their ability to empathize with others increased when they were stressed.
DOES STRESS AFFECTS ONE’S COMMUNICATION SKILLS? HOW? WHY?
Communication is the skill which is needed to be apt, clear, concise, crisp,
Stress is one of the major factors that affect the communication skills of a person. When a person is stressed, he/she generally gives off confusing non-verbal signals, loses control over emotions, and is likely to misunderstand what the other person is trying to tell them.