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Stress

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Stress

Stress is the nonspecific response of the body to any demands made upon it; it may be characterized as muscle tension and acute anxiety or may be a positive force of action. Stressors are what cause stress. Stressors are specific or nonspecific agents or situations that cause a stress response in the body. There are five Categories of Stressors: Acute time limited stressors are anxiety-provoking situations such as having to talk in public or work out a math problem; Brief naturalistic stressors are more serious challenges such as SAT's or meeting a deadline for a big project; Stressful event sequences like difficult consequences such as a natural disaster, or another traumatic occurrence such as a death of a spouse; Individuals know the difficulties will end at some point; Chronic stressors are ongoing demands caused by life changing circumstances, such as a permanent disability following an accident or care giving for a parent with dementia; Individuals do not have a clear end point. Distant stressors like a traumatic experience that occurred long ago, such as child abuse, yet continue to have an emotional psychological impact.

If you are used to thinking that stress is something that makes you worry, you have the wrong idea of stress. Stress is many different kinds of things: happy things, sad things, allergic things, physical things. Many people carry enormous stress loads and they do not even realize it.

There are many different kinds of stress: emotional stress, illness, pushing your body too hard, environmental factors, the special case of tobacco use, hormonal factors, and allergic stress. Emotional stress may happen when arguments, disagreements, and conflicts cause changes in your personal life -- that is stress.

Illness can be something small like catching a cold, breaking an arm, a skin infection, a sore back, are all changes in your body condition.

Pushing your body too hard is a major source of stress you are overdriving yourself. If you are working or partying (binge drinking) 16 hours a day, you will have reduced your available time for rest. Sooner or later, the energy drain on your system will cause the body to fall behind in its repair work. There will not be enough time or energy for the body to fix broken cells, or replace used up brain neurotransmitters. Changes will occur in your body's internal environment. You will "hit the wall," or "run out of gas." If you continue, permanent damage may be done. The body's fight to stay healthy in the face of the increased energy that your are expending is major stress.

Environmental factors may also cause stress. Very hot or very cold climates can be stressful. Very high altitude may be a stress. Toxins or poisons are a stress. Each of these factors threatens to cause change in your body's internal environment.

The special case of tobacco use, tobacco is a powerful toxin! Smoking destroys cells that clean your trachea, bronchi, and lungs. Smoking causes emphysema and chronic bronchitis, which progress to slow suffocation. The carbon monoxide from cigarette smoking causes chronic carbon monoxide poisoning. Tobacco use damages the arteries in your body, causing insufficient blood supply to the brain, heart, and vital organs. Cigarette smoking increases the risk of cancer 50 fold. Chewing tobacco or snuff is no safe haven. It also damages your arteries, and it carries the same cancer risk. (Cancers of the head and neck are particularly vicious, disfiguring, and deadly). Poisoning the body with carbon monoxide, and causing the physical illnesses of emphysema, chronic bronchitis, cancer, and arterial damage, tobacco is a powerful source of added stress to one's life.

Hormonal factors such as puberty, pre-menstrual syndrome, post partum, and menopause may also cause stress. The vast hormonal changes of puberty are severe stressors. A person's body actually change shape, sexual organs begin to function, new hormones are released in large quantities. Puberty, as we all know, is very stressful. Once a woman passes puberty, her body is designed to function best in the presence of female hormones. For women past puberty, a lack of female hormones is a major stress on the body. Once a month, just prior to menstruation, a woman's hormone levels drop sharply. In many women, the stress of sharply falling hormones is enough to create a temporary overstress. This temporary overstress is popularly known as Pre Menstrual Syndrome

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