Stress is a necessary biological function of the human body that helps you perform at your best. Although it has also been shown to cause ill-health. There is now an apparent contradiction. What is the balance between beneficial and harmful stress?
A positive effect of stress is that in people’s lives it can aid them in working at their best. Increasing of body functions such as heart rate, breathing rate, blood pressure and blood sugar all intensify the body’s alertness and strength. These functions are part of your body amazing emergency response system. These functions prepare you to deal with the stressors in your life allowing you to function at your peak.
Another positive effect of stress is the body’s ‘fight or flight’ response. Emergency situation cause your body to need increase amounts of blood, oxygen and food to support your muscles in either fighting the danger or escaping from it. “Stress aids survival, especially in cases when extraordinary effort can overcome real physical danger. Stress prepares the body to fight against or to escape from danger. This so called fight-or-flight response was particularly useful for prehistoric people who faced life-threatening predators”. (Ronald, 2014). The experience of Steve Kux and Warren Everal shows how amazing our emergency response system is in our bodies. When Steve Kux’s helicopter went down and Kux was pinned underneath, his co-worker Warren Everal lifted the 1500 kg helicopter off of his friend’s body. The extreme stress Everal’s body was under caused his adrenal glands to mass produced epinephrine in that moment allowing him to display ‘superhuman’ strength. His emergency response system activated due to stress permitted him to save his friends life.
The other side to stress is the negative effects that chronic stress can have on you physically. Studies have shown that increased amounts of stress greatly escalate your chances of having health problems such as cardiovascular disease, asthma, gastrointestinal disorders, hypertension, cancer and compromised immune system. Our bodies have been designed to react to physical threats with a responsive physical reaction. Today our threats are rarely physical – they are more mental and emotional attacks. Our bodies utilize the physical stress responses to deal with non-physical stressors. This results in health complications because the defence aids our body has produced are for physical threat and not mental and emotional stressors.
Current studies indicate that cardiovascular disease is one of the major diseases provoked by stress. In Stress Management: Approaches for Preventing and Reducing Stress they have described one of the bodies reactions to stress as the release of hormones, such as epinephrine, into your blood stream which helps increase the amount of cholesterol made by your body. When repeated stress inducing situations occur you are repeatedly activating the release of the stress hormones in our body which is doing damage to...