OLD-What is Stress and Why do People Feel Stressed

Stress is an emotion that can be defined as the degree to which you feel overwhelmed or unable to cope. This may be the result of outside pressures where you feel emotional tension affecting often every part of your body.

What is Stress?

Stress is our body’s response to pressures or burdens from a situation or an event. This can vary enormously from person to person and differs according to our circumstances whether they be social, economic, the environment we live in and/or our personal makeup.

This can often be attributed to experiencing something new or unexpected. Other things that may create that feeling of stress may be a feeling of self-doubt, or feeling you have little control over what is happening.

When we feel stress, our body is stimulated to produce stress hormones that trigger a ‘flight or fight’ response and activate our immune system. This response helps us to respond quickly to dangerous situations.

There are times when this stress response can be an appropriate, or even important. Take for example if you are a performer or an elite athlete in a competition. This gives us the necessary adrenalin to assist us with the event. At the end of the event the emotions frequently return to normal and the stress is gone.

Alternatively, there may be times when stress becomes excessive and too much to deal with. If the stress is activated frequently and especially over a long period of time, this can have a negative impact on the body especially if we are continually in a state of flight, fight or freeze. This may make us feel as though we are unable to cope.

There is a difference between stress and anxiety. Stress is a response to an event or situation. Anxiety, on the other hand, is a sustained mental health disorder that can be triggered by stress. Ref: Huffington Post on Stress Hormones