What is Stress and how does it affect our Mental Well-being?
Though stress is common in everyone in any situation yet it is a topic of wide research among psychologists. Its different impacts and the subjective reactions of people to it is still an area being explored in research paper writings.
In the 17th century, stress was used to refer to some strain on the mind or some adversity or hardship. Later in the 18th and 19th centuries, it was used to depict some sort of pressure or strain on a person.
Now stress has been researched in detail and there are several theories surrounding its impact. Stress does not only have mental consequences but also physical ones. But before we delve into that let us first understand what is stress, in detail.
According to S. P. Robbins, Stress is a dynamic condition in which a person is confronted with an opportunity, demand or constraint related to what the person desires and for which the result is perceived to be both uncertain and important”.
Psychologists J. C. Quick and J. D. Quick said that Stress or the response to the stress is the unconscious preparation to fight or flee that a person experiences when faced with any demand.
These are a few definitions given by certain psychologists. In simple words, stress results when what you desire is not achieved which pressurizes the human mind.
There are two types of stress based on the consequences they give:
Eustress: This is also known as positive stress because it gives positive impacts. This type of stress motivates a person and focuses his energy on the right thing.
This is usually short-term and improves the performance of an individual by helping him concentrate. This type of stress is within the coping abilities of an individual.
Distress: This is also known as negative stress because its impacts are undesirable. It can result in affecting the mental well-being of an individual.
It can cause anxiety, unpleasantness and can decrease our performance. Not only this, it can cause certain physical impacts as well. This stress is outside the coping abilities of an individual. A person facing distress is bound to reduce the motivation level of an individual.
Stress can result from the happening of any minor or major event, in a manner you don’t wish it to happen.
It may result when you are not able to accomplish your targets at the office on time or when a student s not able to complete his homework and thus needs help with homework but is not able to find it. If you feel any of the following symptoms in you, then you are facing stress:
Insomnia or lack of sleep- Stress may result in lack of sleep because the cause of stress may keep troubling you and making you overthink.
Loss of mental concentration- If you are under stress, you are only able to think about the cause and thus are not able to concentrate on anything else.
Depression- Constant stress of something may even result in depression for certain people if you are not able to resolve the problem.
Absenteeism- If you keep on thinking about something then you may not be able to attend the events going on.
Family conflict- constant stress may cause a person to remain frustrated and thus vent out this frustration on near and dear ones.
Extreme anger and frustration- If you are not able to accomplish a task, you take stress about it and thus get angry and remain frustrated. So if a student is facing problems with his work and is not able to get help with homework, he may keep on getting frustrated and angry.
Migraine, headaches, and back problems- Mental well-being of a person can be impacted because of stress and thus the person could get headaches and migraines.
Weakness or tiredness- If your mind is upset, your body too shows signs of it. Thus if you are feeling weak unnecessarily, then it may be due to stress.
Several research paper writings have focused themselves on this topic. Among them was a psychologist Dr. Hans Selye who talked about the General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS).
He defined GAS as the physiological response of people to certain stressful situations. GAS provides an automatic defense to cope with stress. It functions in three stages:
Alarm Reaction- This is the reaction to the stressful situation that is given by different people. Each person has his own way of interpreting stress and responding to it. Some may take it as eustress while some may take it as distress. In this case, one may face increased heartbeat, high blood pressure, high rate of respiration, and the like.
Resistance- This is the stage when you fight against the stress-causing factor, thus fighting against the stress. Here the body has already activated certain physiological, biochemical, and behavioral mechanisms. Thus a person’s resistance goes beyond the normal level.
Exhaustion- After your body has fought with the stressful situation, it gets exhausted because of the release of certain hormones. When you face a stressful situation, your body has a rush of cortisol and after the situation is successfully encountered, the hormone normalizes and the body faces exhaustion. Your body may also face a situation of collapse before normalizing itself.
Thus the effects of stress depend upon the way a person perceives it. If you take it in a positive way, the results too are positive and vice versa if you take it in a negative way. In fact, the response of certain people to negative stress also varies from person to person as well as depending upon the situation.