There are different factors which can contribute to how a person deals with stress:
- External Factors – If a person has a large support network of friends and family, they are less likely to feel the pressures of stress than those who feel lonely and isolated.
- Sense of Control – A person who has confidence in themselves and their ability to see themselves through stressful situations can usually appreciate the presence of stress compared to those who have less self-esteem and confidence.
- Attitude and Outlook – This can greatly influence how one combats/handles their stress as a person who is optimistic and has a more positive outlook on life will be able to accept change/stress into their life more easily.
- Ability to deal with emotions – A person can become very vulnerable to stress if they have an inability to remain calm when feelings of sadness or anger are present.
Each person differs in the amount of stress they can handle which can depend on their personal and psychological outlooks as well as the external factors that are present in their life. These will be discussed in detail with Jade during a consultation to get to the bottom of how to manage your stress.
Fight or Flight
Fight or flight is an automatic acute response to stress which refers to a physiological reaction that occurs in the presence of something that the body sees as a danger physically or mentally (this can be accurate but sometimes occurs even when the body is under no real threat). The response triggers activation of two systems in the body – the Sympathetic Nervous System and the Adrenal-Cortical System. The Sympathetic Nervous System uses the pathway of nerves to tell the body what to do in order to escape the threat and the Adrenal-Cortical System gives the body the energy to out run the threat.
Once a stressful situation has passed the body must work to bring itself back to a normal state through the Parasympathetic Nervous System which decreases levels of stress through decreasing heart rate and relaxing the blood vessels. In healthy people the Autonomic Nervous System maintains balance and helps us to deal with acute stress every day. In many people the Sympathetic Nervous System stays alert constantly, creating an unbalance which can then lead to chronic stress.
Response to stress is only every supposed to be short term and if stress persists within the person then the body begins to adapt and continues to run on a high as if in fight or flight mode. If this process continues and repeats without a recovery period, problems begin to arise within the body and will lead onto the exhaustion stage.
In the exhaustion stage, stress levels rise and don’t fall as they would in a healthy situation. This causes chemical changes within the body and many adverse effects such as damage to the nerve cells, damage to the hippocampus area of the brain which is responsible for thought and memory as well as an increase in developing anxiety, depression and insomnia. Chronic stress also damages the autonomic nervous system that can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis and many more health conditions.
The stress response is one of which is being studied further in the rapidly growing field of Psychology. We are interested in each person as an individual and helping them find a way to combat stress and live a healthier and longer life!
If you are interested to try Stress Management Edinburgh, please get in touch to book an appointment or use our online booking system.