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Stress – The Good – The Bad

Remember the 2011 cricket world cup nail biting finale of India v/s Sri Lanka.…. the tension and excitement… we were all ready to jump in the field just to make it happen…to score that six….the last massive six scored by Dhoni….and the euphoria when that six was actually stroked… 

The so called adrenaline rush…the stress of anticipation is known by all of us….but what we also need to know is that while a moderate amount of pressure is motivating and keeps us from getting bored….a lot of this pressure or stress is actually detrimental for our mind and body….but an interesting fact about stress is that it is subjective… so one event which is heavily stressful for me may be not at all stressful for you… so stress affects you when you perceive a situation to be stressful .Once you decide that the situation is stressful the fight or flight mechanism kicks in. So your sympathetic nervous system will produce large amounts of hormones like cortisol, adrenaline,nor-adrenaline and epinephrine which in turn triggers higher heart rate, heightened muscle preparedness, sweating and alertness. Other body functions like digestive and immune system slows down . 

As soon as we perceive the end of stressful situation our body’s homeostasis starts working which brings all bodily functions back to normal. So our breathing slows down, heart rate regulates and muscles ease up. 

But what happens when we are in a state of prolonged stress….well you can imagine how much it costs both our mind and body. 

Lets categorize the effects of stress in 3 major categories: 

Effects of stress on your body 

• Sweating
• Back pain
• Cardiac complaints
• obesity
• Cramps or muscle spasms
• Erectile dysfunction
• Fainting spells
• Headache
• Hypertension (high blood pressure)
• Loss of libido
• Lower immunity against diseases
• Muscular aches
• Nail biting
• Nervous twitches
• Pins and needles
• Sleeping difficulties
• Stomach upset

Effects of stress on your thoughts and feelings
• Anger
• Anxiety
• Burnout
• Depression
• Feeling of insecurity
• Forgetfulness
• Irritability
• Problem concentrating
• Restlessness
• Sadness
• Fatigue

Effects of stress on your behavior
• Eating too much
• Eating too little
• Food cravings
• Sudden angry outbursts
• Drug abuse
• Alcohol abuse
• Higher tobacco consumption
• Social withdrawal
• Frequent crying
• Relationship problems

But is avoiding stressful situation the key to have a stress free life….? Think again…. Kelly McGonigal, a health psychologist made me change my mind. One of the hormones secreted by our nervous system is oxytocin…interestingly this hormone is popularly known as the cuddle hormone because it is released when you hug someone. This hormone makes us happy in social situation when we feel loved and supported. What Kelly points out is that oxytocin is a stress hormone. So why is a stress hormone making us feel social….? It’s our body’s way to direct us to seek help. Our biological system is encouraging us to go ahead and tell someone about all these difficult feelings and if we see someone struggling this same process makes us notice it and we feel motivated to help. When life is difficult, your stress response wants you to be surrounded by people who care about you. 

So instead of the old fashion belief system that we should avoid stressful situations, the truth of the matter is that we should pursue our true desires and trust ourselves that we can handle it. 

If you feel like talking to someone may help you get a perspective do not hesitate to seek help as it is only natural for us to want to release our worries in a safe and holding environment…. 

Contact Us At:
Psychological counseling in mumbai:
Gurpreet Singh,
Counselor & Founder
Dr Happy Life, Mumbai
609, 6 th Floor, White House Building,
SV Road, Andheri West Station,
Mumbai 400 053
+91 9619 88 00 62

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