What is Stress? How Do You Deal With It?

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Stress is anything that presents a challenge or causes a threat to our overall well-being. However, stress occurs in everybody’s everyday life, whether it can be as small as annoying noises or more significant ones like trying to pay your bills and studying for exams. These are examples of stressors, which are anything that stimulates stress. Stress can be both good and bad.

It is a positive thing because it acts as a motivator, because when you’re under pressure, you will tend to give more effort into it. It keeps your life going with something to accomplish. On the other hand, it can be harmful because it can undermine your health both mentally and physically. Some symptoms that may arise, when you are stressed out may be the increase in the heart rate, increase in blood pressure, and overall, just harm your health. Stress can be seen through our actions too. When we are feeling stressed. we tend to deal with situations more differently. Therefore, affecting our decisions.

Cortisol, which is the primary stress hormone which is produced to regulate the way your body uses fuel sources and is essential for regenerating energy following stress. Studies show that when cortisol hormones are elevated, it is associated with chronic health problems because the immune system will shut down, and white blood cells will be reduced, resulting in a higher susceptibility of a disease. The brain is also affected because under stressful situations, there are dramatically smaller brain cells. Since smaller brain cells are produced, leading to a more difficult time learning or memorizing. So for those who stay up all night to study for exams, you  may want to think that through.

coping-with-stressNow how would you cope with stress? Considering there are so many different factors in life that contributes into it, such as family problems, school, relationships or financial matters. Well, a hormone known as oxytocin, is shown to reduce stress, because it causes your blood vessels to relax and helps the heart to regenerate from the damage from stress. But how do we get more of these stress reducing hormones? Oxytocin is released during social interactions and while caring for others. Therefore, people who spend more times interacting with others, create a resilience towards stress, since they are keeping their minds off of the stressful situations.

Here is a recent example of how I had to deal with stress. So last week in my English class, my teacher gave the class an unexpected announcement that there would be a test on the novel we were reading in just three days, with two days to study. Not only, were we not done with the book as a class, but we also had to prepare notes about the book in just a short period of time. For two days consecutively, I tried to reread the entire novel and take notes. Not to mention that I had to do homework and study for other classes as well. So on the final day of studying, I had just four hours of sleep, which is half of the necessary hours needed for your body to function. I stayed up late, not being aware that as I stay up, it will not be beneficial towards my studying nor my health, as my brain cells are becoming smaller, creating a difficult time learning.  This experience gave me a stressful time, as I had to cram all my studying in the final two days. The life lesson of my example, is that you shouldn’t cram all your studying the night before the test, but if time allows, spread the studying a week ahead of time and begin on the day the teacher announces that there will be a test. Not only will you do better on the test, but you will also make your life much easier.

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