Can keep you alert and sharpen your concentration

A. Stress response.

B. Exhaustion.

C. Resistance.

D. None of the above.

The correct answer is A: Stress response.

The body experiences several changes when you feel stressed. This is known as a stress response. When the stress response is activated, a series of changes take place within the body.

These include a quickening of the pulse, a rush of adrenaline, redirection of blood to major organs and release of various hormones that bring both short-term and long-term changes. The stress response gives you a surge of energy so that you can fight off or run away from an attacker.

It can be lifesaving when there’s an actual threat. For instance, you have to react quickly when the car driver in front of you suddenly hits the brakes. You need to be alert always to avoid an accident. The stress response can only be suppressed through intense training and hard work.

The downside to Stress Response

Fear and anxiety usually occur when a person is in immediate danger, but it doesn’t always work this way. For instance, some people are afraid of speaking in front of others.

A person who has PTSD may experience anxiety when they go to cramped or crowded places like the subway or mall. These situations are not really dangerous as they don’t threaten a person’s survival.

Some people, however, have fear and anxiety in these situations due to how they see these circumstances. The body can’t always tell the difference between perceived and real threat.

When a person interprets a situation as threatening, the body is going to react as though that situation is perilous even if it really isn’t.

The level of perceived threat affects the strength of your stress response. This is why two people can have different stress reactions to the same situation. The systems return to normal function through the relaxation response once the perceived threat is gone.

Stress response becomes harmful when stress becomes chronic or when you no longer feel in control of the situation that it negatively affects your health. Short-term stress has benefits as well.  It keeps your alert and sharpens your concentration.

Stimulates Behavior

Good stress or eustress helps a person enter a sharp sense of awareness. It makes one completely absorbed in a certain activity. This state is called “flow.”

It can be achieved in sports, creative activities and in the workplace. For instance, a deadline can motivate you to work faster and more effectively.

Instead of viewing a stressful situation as an overwhelming roadblock, you have to view it as a challenge that you can properly complete.

Improves Brainpower

Low-level stressors improve the production of neurotrophins, brain chemicals that induce the development, function, and survival of neurons.

Short-term psychological stressors can also have a similar effect. Animal studies show that the response of the body to stress can improve learning scores and memory in the short term.

Makes You Stronger

You will find it easier to deal with stressful situations if you are repeatedly exposed to it. This is because repeated exposure to stressful situations allows you to develop a mental and physical sense of control.

A 2013 study conducted by the University of California San Francisco discovered that mild levels of perceived everyday stress actually seem to protect the RNA and DNA against oxidative damage.

Improve Child Development

A Johns Hopkins study published in 2006 discovered that most children of women who suffered moderate or mild levels of stress during pregnancy, actually displayed better developmental and motor skills by age two than the children of those who were not exposed to any stress.

However, the kids of women who considered their pregnancy as a more negative experience had a lower attention capacity.

Improves Immunity Temporarily

The body prepares itself for the possibility of infection or injury when it responds to stress. It produces more interleukins, which help regulate the immune system. This provides a brief protective boost to the body. Animal research supports this idea.

A 2012 Stanford study exposed lab rats to mild stress and found out that this exposure created a massive mobilization of different kinds of immune cells in their bloodstream.

How to Deal with Stress Response

Learning how to counter chronic stress is important. You have to find strategies that can reverse the stress response of the body and restore its normal state.

There are various ways to do this. When used together, these strategies can help you reverse the stress response of your body when you don’t really need it and reduce the number of times it is activated unnecessarily. Here are some of the best ways to deal with the body’s stress response.

Change Your Outlook

Changing the way you look at the things that trigger stress in your life can help. Some of them may not even trigger the same response after a while. The way you see things can aggravate or minimize the level of danger that seems to be involved.

Changing your outlook may help you feel better. You should also start building your resources. The body’s stress response can be triggered when you think that you don’t have the necessary resources to manage the challenges you are facing.

When you have resources to rely on, you are more confident that you can deal with whatever situation you’re facing. You don’t need to build these resources right away. Meeting new people can help you build connections that may prove useful in the future.

Find Quick Ways to Relieve Stress

Finding quick ways to calm the body and mind can help you reverse your stress response. You can meditate or take a 5-minute break from whatever you are doing.

These quick stress relief strategies will make you feel better. Building stress relief habits is also a good idea. Longer-term habits can help you build resilience to stress.

It may take time, but the result is worth it. Once these habits become a regular part of your life, it can help you manage the stressful situations you encounter in a better manner. Don’t stress yourself over small things. You can take on a new hobby if you want.

References

  1. Harvard Health Publishing. Understanding the stress response. Retrieved from harvard.edu
  2. McLeod, S. A. What is the stress response. 2010. Simply Psychology. Retrieved from simplypsychology.org
  3. Amanda Macmillan. 5 Weird Ways Stress Can Actually Be Good for You. Health.com. Retrieved from health.com
  4. Melbourne Child Psychology & School Psychology Services. The Benefits of Stress. Retrieved from  melbournechildpsychology.com
  5. Stanford Medicine. Good stress, bad stress. Retrieved from stanfordmedicine.org

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