In the fast-paced modern world, everybody has to keep up. A lot of people are constantly on the go, with little or even no time to stop and rest. Many persons tend to skip meals, have less time for sleeping, and no time at all for exercise. Little do we know that as we go through each normal work day, we are creating unhealthy situations for ourselves. Studies have shown that a majority of employed persons view their work as the foremost stressor in their lives. Stress is not exactly a disease, but a symptom that can lead to more serious health problems later on.

Stress is a natural and unavoidable feature of life. In underdeveloped communities, stressors can be related primarily to the need for physical survival – stress to find food or shelter and safety. In developed cultures the stressors have usually rather less to do with the basic mechanics or survival, and instead more to do with social success, with the generation of ever increasing standards of living, and with meeting the expectations of ourselves and others. For many professions, stress is intrinsic to the job itself, where competing demands and pressures cannot be escaped. The utter capacity of work can also be overpowering at times, whether one is a social worker, teacher, doctor or manager. The stress can include restlessness, pains and sometimes physical symptoms of nervousness about going to work. The people may be irritable, miserable, lacking in energy and commitment, self-absorbed.

In a physiological perspective, stress may be traced to high levels of the hormone cortisol in the bloodstream. This is perhaps why cortisol is also alternately called as the stress hormone. Cortisol is responsible for a person’s excessive perspiration, flushing, nauseous feelings, stomach upset, and other conditions in response to a stressful scenario. This has been observed by many medical studies, so it was theorized that in order for a person to not feel stressed, cortisol levels can possibly be altered.

Aside from the abovementioned conditions that are responses to a stressor, what other events occur in the human body when it is subjected to a non-ideal situation? When a person is stressed, his or her breathing rate may be faster than normal. This is why some people say they hyperventilate when they get too emotional, anxious, or angry. In response to the quicker rhythms of breathing, the heart begins to pump faster than usual. This is also referred to as palpitations. Due to actions of the hormone cortisol, blood vessels constrict, or become narrower than normal. High blood pressure is a result of this physiological change. People who often experience these symptoms when they are stressed are likely to have cardiovascular problems.

Studies have also shown that women are more prone to cardiovascular problems when stress is involved. Aside from that fact, women are twice more likely to experience depression or anxiety. Knowing these responses of the human body towards stress, and the possible health consequences when too much stress is experienced, how does one deal with it? Is there a way to get over stress?

People who are easily stressed can take sedatives or relaxants from time to time. This can help them feel less tense or less constricted when a stressful event occurs. Aside from that, they can sleep more easily, and feel less apprehensive or anxious. Meditation and hypnosis are also some alternative forms of treatment that therapists use to relieve stress experienced by their patients.

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