Stress and its effect on our body

Overload or stress is a term often misunderstood these days. Stress is required to do work and also work well, but when sustained for a long duration it becomes bad stress and the body fails to cope with it. Our body adapts to overload when it is given adequate recovery.

The foundations for stress were established in 1936 by a Hungarian endocrinologist named Hans Selye. During his failed search on sick rats for a new hormone he stumbled on finding that stress is a nonspecific response of the body to any form of demand which can be deprivation of food, muscular workout, illness, etc. He proposed the General Adaptation Syndrome with three stages, the first being the stage of alarm which is induced by the hormone adrenalin and is seen as the fright or fight phenomenon for a short time stress. A good example would be our reaction to a charging dog, where we either run away from it or take a stone to throw at it.

The second stage is restoration where when adequate time is given, the body uses its resources to adapt to stress in order to cope with the demand. When the stress persists beyond the capacity of the body to meet the demand it would lead to exhaustion.

All the cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and hypertension are a mere escalated cumulative reflection of stress that have past the threshold of body’s adaptation. The stressors may be multiple, may be in the form of excess unused calories deposited as fat, sedentary work for many years, long intensive working hours taxing intellectual capacities alone

Taking frequent effective exercise is one of the best physical stress-reduction techniques available. Exercise not only improves your health and reduces stress caused by unfitness, it also relaxes tense muscles. Exercise improves blood flow to the brain, bringing sugars and oxygen that may be needed while you are thinking. When you think hard the neurons of your brain function more intensely. As they do this they can build up toxic waste products that can cause foggy thinking. By exercising the speed of blood flow through your brain increases thereby moving waste products faster. Exercise can cause release of chemicals called endorphins into your blood stream that give you a feeling of happiness and positively affect your overall sense of well being.

There is good evidence that physically fit people have less extreme physiological responses when under pressure than those who are not. This means that fit people are more able to handle long term effects of stress, without suffering ill health or burnout.




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