Understanding Stress – Part 2

Different Types of Stress Most people think that stress is always bad. Nothing can be far from truth! A little stress is absolutely necessary for our survival in this highly competitive world! Thus, we can classify stress into two groups:

Eustress: This is the good stress which helps us to improve our performance. For example, if there is no stress of performing well in the exams or athletic events, students will not study harder or the athletes will not sweat it out on the tracks. A certain amount of positive stress keeps us pepped up to meet all challenges and is necessary for our survival and progress in life.

Distress: When stress gets out of hand , it becomes distress, which will bring out the weakness within us and make us vulnerable to illness. If continued unchecked, this will lead to all the ill-effects as explained in the part 1 of this series.

Stress and Performance Our ability to perform increases up to a certain level of stress arousal. This is the healthy tension or eustress that we talked about. But if this stress continues uncontrolled and a fatigue point is reached, any further stress arousal will take the performance level down, ultimately leading to exhaustion, ill-health and, finally breakdown.

The good news is this: If stress management is applied daily and regularly before the fatigue point is reached, the performance curve can be straightened up dramatically! Meaning, you can improve your performance level even up to 50% just by learning to relax! Take a printout of this graph and keep it with you. If your boss is pushing you too hard without providing a break, show him / her the graph!

Symptoms of Stress There is a simple way to recognize your stress status. When you are faced with any situation, just mentally pause for a few moments to analyze your reaction / response during the event and after the event. Did you suffer from any of the following ?

Palpitation (increased heart beat, pulse), hesitation, restlessness, tremors, guilty feeling, anxiety, anger, difficulty, indecision, loss of confidence, cold extremities, moist palms, brows, muscle tightening, loss of appetite, headache, increased breathing, sweating, constipation, diarrhoea, abdominal discomfort, increased frequency of urine, irritability, hyperacidity, weakness, general uneasiness, depression, burnt out feeling ….

If you experienced any of the above symptoms, then you may be sure that you have been under stress due to that particular event.

Stress Related Disorders The following list covers only the most common diseases where stress plays an important role in the initiation, maintenance and / or exacerbation of the disease entity.

o High Blood Pressure o Ischemic Heart Disease o Peptic Ulcer o Irritable Bowel Syndrome o Asthma o Tension Headache o Psychoneuroses o Fatigue o Insomnia o Sexual Dysfunction o Alcoholism o Smoking o Skin Diseases like Psoriasis, Urticaria, Neurodermatitis, Pruritus etc (List incomplete)

Our understanding of psycho-neuro-immuno-endocrinology has provided answers as to how stress affects each and every organ in the body. Remember, though, these diseases are not caused solely by stress. Stress is only one of the causes in their initiation.

To sum up the causes and effects of stress on body and mind, Living with perpetually stressed mind is ….. …… like driving a car with your breaks on!

It Will: o Break up energy o Impair Skills o Dull Perceptions and thus cause fatigue, ill-health and breakdown.

Remember-Life is not a hundred metre dash, but a cross country race! And, nobody can run forever! You have to take a little distance at a time, take rest, recharge yourself and then move forward. Then, only then, will you reach your goal safe and sound!