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Intellect >> What Is Stress?

What Is Stress?

Stress is a combination of physical, mental and emotional feelings that result from pressure, worry and anxiety. ‘Stress’ is commonly used to describe the symptoms and signs produced by the body in response to increased tension. A certain level of stress is normal to help you deal with life’s challenges. Excessive stress can overwhelm a person and cause the body to react in unpleasant ways. As the pressures accumulate, the body goes into overdrive and high levels of the hormone adrenaline are secreted to prepare the body for action – a response like that of a caveman who needs to fight or flee from danger.

In today’s modern world, the fight or flee response is rarely appropriate, so instead of being burned off, the energy produced as a result of stressful stimuli remains within the body. The stress lingers and, instead of returning to a state of equilibrium, the body adapts to a continual state of tension. Adrenaline levels stay high and the body is in a constant state of ‘arousal’.


Some stress is essential to allow you to focus, concentrate, make decisions and function in a positive manner. You could probably relate this to your feelings when an important event draws near. Your body is designed to deal with pressure and after the event, you relax and your body slows down again. It is only when this pressure becomes intense that you are unable to relax and you feel ‘distressed’. You feel out of control, no longer able to handle the demands made on you and you begin to feel sick.

Some signs and symptoms of stress are:

poor concentration,
overeating or undereating
skin problems,

Long-term stress may be triggered by several factors such as: changes in lifestyle that result in uncertainty and anxiety difficult relationships at home or at work negative self-image sensory effects caused by noise, heat, cold or humidity group pressure or overcrowding The key to manage stress well is to strike the right balance between tension and relaxation. Most people are able to deal with stressful periods of their lives if they understand the demands and constraints that cause the pressure. Identify your personality type, recognizing your personal stress factors and learning coping strategies to help you better deal with your problems.

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