Stress is a response to circumstances that force a person to act quickly change or make some adjustment to keep things in balance. The circumstance that forces a person to act is called a stressor. Stress is also defined as intense feelings created by the stimulus of certain events. When a person is stressed, his/her body automatically jumps into an action which is called a fight or flight response. Stress is further defined as an emotional and physical provocation caused by pressure from a given situation. The good news is that everyone faces stress to a certain degree, and it is normal to be stressed some of the time. Stress causes our bodies to respond quickly and jump into a defensive mode. It is quite normal to fight the stressor, or just ignore it and simply run away.
When we are stressed, our bodies immediately respond to the stressors by telling our nervous systems and stress hormones that it is time to act. When we face a threatening situation, our hypothalamus informs the adrenal glands to produce more hormones, adrenaline and as well as cortisol, and release them into the bloodstream. Thus, we feel palpitation and shortness of breath, and we may experience high blood pressure. All these symptoms are the body’s defense to the stress. Our blood vessels open wide, thus allowing more blood to flow to the muscles. Stored glucose from the liver pours into the blood stream to create needed energy. The body immediately starts sweating to cool itself down. All these happen to prepare the body for the fight or flight response. Again, it is good news that the body is performing its natural function of handling the situation. Once the stress is over, the body returns to its normal mode.
Prolonged stress can create anxiety. Anxiety can also be created when fear is present – fears stemming from predictable or unpredictable situations, which may be real or imaginary. Although anxiety is a terrifying experience it is, unless taken to the extreme, not dangerous at all. It is a common human emotion. Anxiety is part and parcel of our everyday life. Anxiety is about worries, concerns, nervousness, and stress. In fact, to feel anxious occasionally is fine because it prepares us to be ready for actual challenges. But if it interferes with our daily work and normal life, then it is disruptive. Anxiety disorder is common; it affects millions throughout the world. The good news is that anxiety is not a sign of madness or insanity. Anxiety can attack any person regardless of age, status and social standing. It can become so severe that it interferes with sleep, appetite and concentration.