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Stress: Definition, Types and Impact

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What is Stress?

Stress is our body’s reaction to any change in our surrounding that requires adjustment or response. When we are in stress our body produces chemicals and hormone that further gears up our fight-or-flight responses that helps reducing stress and makes the stressors run away. Stress is helpful as it keeps you focused, energetic and alert but if it is not resolved quickly it might lead to problems like, anxiety, hypertension, heart diseases and depression.

According to me, stress is a feeling that many people go through in their lives when they are overloaded and are struggling to cope up with the demands. What might be stressful for me might now be a stressful event for someone else. For example, when a person is in his teen age the fear of speaking up could be a stress for that person as he might be ridiculed, and cross questioned by the adults. Whereas when one enters his adulthood and becomes independent, the fear of speaking up is gone and that is no more a stress for him/her, as he is not answerable to anyone and can take his/her own decisions.

Major Types of Stress

Acute Stress

Acute stress is the most common type of stress and occurs for a short period of time. Acute stress is an event or a situation that can be resolved in a lesser time. For example, if we get an assignment at a short notice and we have an early submission the stress level would rise for majority of the students. The fear of completion is the stressor here, which also behaves like a motivator to help us be focused and complete our task on time. Such kind of stress is also known as Eustress.

Whereas other stressors do not give us stress in same way that has been mentioned above. For example, if we are caught up in a traffic jam we will tend to get irritated and angry. In such situations stress take a toll on our health and leads to many other problems like headache, anxiety, rapid heartbeat, back pain, rise in blood pressure etc. This kind of stress which hampers our state of mind and health and does not act as a motivator is called as Distress.

Chronic Stress

Chronic stress is that type of stress that prevails for a longer period of time. This type of stress arises from traumatic events that leave a deep impact on a person’s life. Therefore, when a person deals with a miserable situation for a long time and does not find a solution to it, he/she gives up. This further lead to impact our body, minds and sometimes lives too. The worst aspect of chronic stress is that people get so used to it that they ignore it and pay attention to acute stress, which can be resolved easily.

If chronic stress is not taken care of at the right time it can lead to many drastic consequences. For example, if a person is caught up in an unhappy marriage, dysfunctional family or poverty, they become so used to living their lives that they tend to ignore their stress. At one point the stress they deal with reaches to that extent where, they have given up all hope and cannot find a solution. This leads to fatal consequences like suicide, heart attack, violence etc.

Stress & Its Impact on Men and Women

Impact of Stress on Women

Men and women may deal with same situations and problems but their reactions and responses vary in great extent. But when it comes to women, they tend to face twice the amount of stress that the men face. Moreover, when it comes to women, we associate terms like responsibility and caregiving with her. They not only have to manage their responsibilities at workplace but are also expected to take care of their families and traditional responsibilities.

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), women are twice as like than men to suffer anxiety disorders and depression. In reaction to the stressors, a woman’s body releases hormones like cortisol which further impacts the body in different ways and some of which are mentioned below.

  • Reduced Sex Drive
  • Irregular Periods
  • Hair Loss
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Weight Gain
  • Risk of Heart Diseases and Strokes.

Impact of Stress on Men

The way society has certain expectations from women, similarly when we talk about men we are looking at strength, stability and family responsibility. According to our society men are supposed to be strong and are not supposed to express themselves freely. Though the thought process has changed over a period of time but still little boys are asked not to cry and behave like a “strong boy”.

Due such thinking and development of men, they have learnt how to not show their feeling and keep it within themselves. This leads to a lot of problem in stress management and also takes a toll on their health. Few of the problems are mentioned problem.

  • Early Heart Disease Risk
  • Erectile Dysfunction
  • Lower Sperm Count
  • Social Withdrawal
  • High Blood Pressure.

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