Stress is the most common way in which your body reacts when you are under pressure. Indians are believed to be more stressed than people in other countries. A survey confirms this by concluding that around 9 out of 10 Indians suffer from stress and 95% of the youth (between the ages of 18 and 34) are under stress due to various reasons.
Stress is actually your body’s natural defence in any dangerous situation. This danger is termed as the ‘stressor’ and can be external or internal – say, an interview, a first date, the death of a loved one, and so on. But these need not affect all of us in the same way, as every person has their own perception of a situation. A situation that may cause stress to you may not be stressful for others, and vice versa.
Therefore, it is not an easy task to actually list the causes of stress and look for solutions for each of them. Stress can be caused by anything that elevates the release of chemicals such as adrenaline, noradrenaline, and cortisol in your body. The raised levels further cause an increase in heart rate, rapid breathing, tightening of muscles, extreme sweating, and high alertness.
There are three types of stress
Acute stress: This is the most commonly found form of stress. It occurs for a short period and is usually caused due to the pressure of crucial events that happened recently or are impending, e.g., a recent fight or an argument, or an impending deadline or interview. In most cases, this kind of stress is just periodic and goes away on its own after some time or after the event has passed. But it may also remain for longer and disturb you regularly.
Episodic acute stress: This occurs due to frequent triggers. It mainly occurs in individuals who have too many commitments to fulfil in a short span of time, or are poorly organised and unable to multitask. People who constantly worry even over minor issues may experience episodic stress. Episodic stress can increase your tendency to get irritated or tensed even at the mildest of triggers. This can affect your relationships as people may start ignoring you due to your behaviour. In the long run, this type of stress can lead to hypertension or heart disease.
Chronic stress: The most harmful type of stress – and one that stays for extended periods – is chronic stress. The reasons for chronic stress can be chronic too, e.g., poor financial situation, a rocky relationship, a dysfunctional marriage, the death of a loved one, etc. This kind of stress mainly occurs when you are unable to find an escape from the problem and eventually stop looking for a solution. It may continue for years and remain unnoticed as you become used to it. It is the most dangerous form of stress as you can eventually have a breakdown that may lead to a heart attack, stroke, some violent action, or even suicide. So, management of chronic stress is vital to prevent any such untoward situations.
Stress can often be good too, as it can push you to perform better in some situations. For instance, a painting competition can be stressful, but stress in this situation is related to your anxiousness over winning the prize. So stress in this case is healthy and has a positive effect on your performance or productivity. But anything in excess can be bad for you, and the same is the case with stress. So controlling your emotions and reactions is a must if you wish to lead a healthy and stress-free life.