In today’s fast-moving world stress is a vague concept that every individual experienced at one time or another. Being under a lot of pressure or facing some big changes will cause the body and the mind to react to those demands and challenges hence resulting in stress which may lead to a feeling of being overwhelmed, it is an emotional state of psychological tension and confusion influenced by a variety of different common life events such as family, friends or some environmental reasons (Mental health organization, 2019). According to one of the most known studies of stress levels made by the mental health foundation in 2018 on a sample size of 4619 respondents in the UK, approximately 74% of them have been stressed and unable to cope. Some people conceptualized stress as a demanding and dangerous event, others argue that it may be positive. This essay will discuss the signs and causes of stress hence its effects whether good or harmful on the body. It is precisely focused on two points the short term stress which is beneficial to the mental health and the long term stress or in another term the stress disadvantages, also it will determine how stress could protect the individual’s well-being and show that some of the body systems may be affected by the chronic stress.
It is generally accepted that being stressed for a long time lead people to become addicted to feeling tired and overworked, so the stress-related tensions aggravate and result in some physical symptoms and signs including high blood pressure, aches, and pains, and weight loss besides cognitive, emotional symptoms such as memory problems, loneliness (Jeanne, Mellinda, Robert & Lawrence, 2019). The additional symptoms would be behavioral for example nervous habits like smoking. However, all the situations that lead to stress are known as stressors which are any stimulus that can result in the individual experiencing pressure (Jeanne, Mellinda, Robert & Lawrence, 2019). Furthermore, according to Mind organization (2017), these stressors can be categorized in terms of internal and external stressors: the external stressor is caused by the environment from noise, pollution to personal, financial reasons, and internal stressor comes from within us and most of the time is build up from the daily pessimistic thoughts we cannot control, other internal causes are unrealistic expectations, uncertainty, and low self-esteem which is created by the negative way the person talking to himself or in another meaning “NEGATIVE SELF-TALK” (Mind organization, 2017). Overall, what causes stress differs from one person to another, the same stressor may be overwhelming for one person and manageable for another to exemplify this when somebody performs great under tension another will fail to deal with it and feel helpless hence more accessible to its negative effects.
It is argued that stress can become a threat to both people’s physical and emotional well-being if it is long-term lived and that it can cause severe mental health problems such as anxiety and depression and make existing problems worst (Pietrangelo &Watson, 2017). Researchers suggest that stress is the main reason that worsens or brings on symptoms and illnesses and that if it stays elevated it can take a toll on the individual’s health and cause hazardous effects on his body for many reasons. Firstly, according to Ann & Stephanie (2018), Stress disrupts nearly every system in the body. it upsets the digestive system because the increase in heart rate due to hormones rush results the stomach acidity to rise and travel towards the throat causing a burning feeling in the chest this condition in scientific terms called ACID REFLUX, also when the liver make extra glucose in order to generate energy during chronic stress the body will not be able to maintain (keep up with)the extra quantity of sugar so it may cause type two diabetes, an additional effect of stress on this system is affecting the food movement leading stressed people to experience diarrhea and nausea vomiting. Also stress affect the nervous system which is responsible for stress response in the brain so the hormones released by the hypothalamus increase the heartbeat and send it to muscles, afterwards when fear is gone the system will come back to normal, yet if the central nervous system did not come back to its normal state, the response will continue resulting dangerous behaviors like alcohol or drug abuse (Ann & Stephanie, 2018). Moreover, on the cardiovascular and respiratory system stress effects are extremely risky and even fatal because when the heart beats fast, hormones like adrenaline cause the blood vessels to transfer more oxygen to muscles forcing the heart to work hard for too long thus raising the blood pressure and increase the risks for having a stroke (Matthew, 2019). Finally, chronic stress cause infections on the male reproductive organs such as the testes and prostate because while stressing men produce testosterone hormones for a long time, if the stress continues the levels of the hormone start to drop and then disrupt sperm production and for women stress directly affects the menstrual cycle and increase the risks of having painful periods (Ann & Stephanie, 2018). Considering all this evidence it seems that stress has harmful and obnoxious effects on the human body leaving him more exposed to fatigue and distress.
On the other hand, scientists argue that the prevailing view of people toward stress as a bad thing is incorrect because small amounts of stress would be beneficial and make the person more focused and energetic, there are three main reasons for this argument: First of all, stress plays a huge role in improving performance and alertness and most importantly boost memory (Peter, 2015) to confirm this information researcher did an experience on rats for a short period of time in order to know more about the effects of stress, they particularly note the stem cells progress in a specific part of the brain called the hippocampus which contributes in the stress response and also associated with learning and memory (Peter, 2015), the results of the experience showed that when exposing rats to moderate stress without any movements for few hours stem cells growth was in progress and form neurons. Two weeks later tests show that those cells produced more during stress and become activated and also scientists noticed an improvement in learning and memory, they think the same thing happens in human beings as consequence stress increase the performance and by stimulating the transformation of stem cells to brain cells, it improves memory. Secondly, stress is the body’s way of protecting the person in another meaning it can save lives in emergency situations for instance to avoid a car accident it pushes the drivers to slam on the brakes and give them extra power to defend themselves. According to Robert (2019), this automatic process is known as the “FIGHT-OR-FLIGHT” reaction which is a chemical reaction that prepares the body for a physical reaction because it thinks it is under attack: this process worked when people feel that they are in danger so the hypothalamus in the brain releases chemicals like adrenaline in the blood hence the body will undergo dramatic changes in order to fight or run away, as a result, this type of stress helped our ancestors to survive and keep them alert. Finally, stress is one of the main reasons to perform better in certain situations, it allows individuals to face challenges and sharpens their concentration, drives them to study for an exam when they would rather play games or watch TV (Mental health organization, 2018) so being under pressure is normal since it helps people to take action and get results. In view of all that has been mentioned so far, the good stress is to feel stressed for a short period of time since it boosts memory and improves alertness.
It is clearly viewed that there is a wide debate about whether stress is either beneficial or harmful, some people believe it has a negative impact on their lives and that it is the principal reason for anxiety and health problems. However, others think that stress could be useful since it lets them become accountable for their actions and encourages them to be better citizens. But indeed the more scientists learn about it the more it seems that there are two ways to experience it, therefore Newer (2013) concluded that stress can be both. On the one hand, if it is long-term lived it will be unhealthy. Whereas on the other hand, helpful if it is short-term lived. Furthermore, it is all about the perception of stress (Rachel, 2013). If someone looks at it as a threat, then it is a threat. This is because when persons perceive it as a danger their mind will release hormones in the bloodstream, these hormones will alter their mental experience and behavior and can even cause serious implications and lead them to use drugs or medications (antidepressants) without doctor permission as a result become more vulnerable to a sudden depression and suicide risks (Mind, 2017). In contrast to that, if stress is perceived as a positive thing (motivation) it will enable the person to gain control over it because psychologically if someone believes in something and convince him or herself about it the mind will believe it (Nikki, 2015). So, if everyone puts in their mind that the stressful situation they are in will give them strength and energy then they are capable to meet challenges and increase their performance thus healthier and less stressed.