Exploring the effects of stress on the mind

Today, we will be exploring what stress is and how to identify what is causing stress.

As with all things, to understand it fully, we must be able to define it in a way we can comprehend. Oxford defines stress as “A state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances”. By that definition, stress can be anything from an individual’s friend lying to them, leading the individual to doubt the friendship, to the death of a loved one, triggering a strong emotional response in the individual, causing mental anguish in the form of grief. These types of stress are fairly easy to notice because they are potentially major life events.

Stress such as the death of a loved one takes time to get over – the process of grieving cannot be done in a day. It is a unique process that one should experience fully. It allows an individual to fully understand what their connection was with the individual who has passed, allowing one to see the true beauty of the human experience. It gives an individual insight about life, allowing them to fully appreciate how beautiful a relationship between another individual can be, but inversely, it opens one’s eyes to how potentially short life can be.

Given that grieving should be experienced, even though it may feel negative initially, we can then insinuate that there are positive stressors.  These are called “Eustressors”, which can be anything from starting a new job/receiving a promotion to having a child. These types of stress motivate an individual to do well. Negative stressors have the opposite impact. These are called “Distressors”, and there are many more distressors than there are eustressors. Distress can be harmful if left rampant, leading to the torment of an individual.

When an individual is stressed, their emotions are being manipulated by the stressor, quite similar to the state of mind of an individual who is angry. It forces the individual to focus on the stress until there is either a temporary solution, or until the compounding stress of the stressor becomes too much for the individual to cope with. When distress is ignored, it begins to manifest into larger issues over time – namely an individual can become very anxious, depressed or even potentially experience panic attacks. This isn’t all that stress is capable of doing if not dealt with. There are many physical symptoms that may manifest as a result of stress, such as experiencing chest pain randomly, sudden loss in sex drive, loss of appetite, etc. Identifying stress before it manifests into something unmanageable is crucial for an individual’s well-being. With a stress being identified, an individual can maintain equilibrium between eustress and distress.

Keeping with the trend from the previous day’s post, I’m going to show a video pertaining to the subject at hand. This video is from BBC’s YouTube channel. Enjoy!


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