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Effects of Stress


Stress may be referred to as the reaction of the body toward dangerous situations. Whenever one is threatened in any case, there is a chemical reaction taking place in the body thus preventing injury. When one is under stress there is an increase in heart rates, muscles tighten, breathing quickens, and blood pressure rises. It is a fact that stress affects everyone. Even children experience some stress. There are several causes of stress such as financial management, busy times at work, and coping with relationships amongst others. Notably, some fears may be beneficial; however, too many of it wears one down making him or her sick both physically and mentally. For one to be able to control stress the first thing to do is to note the symptoms. All the same, the hardest idea here is to recognize stress symptoms. Most people are not aware that they are under stress until the breaking point. The paper explains how stress affects people’s health.

Negative Stress effects

As earlier mentioned, stress can be in some instances beneficial thus motivating one to perform well in the workplace. All the same, it can be stressful bringing negative force toward one’s body if experienced over a prolonged time. In fact, if action is not taken, it can be chronic.

Natural body reaction

More often one may experience sweaty hands or heart pounding during a scary movie. In this case, one is feeling stress both in the body and in the mind. Whenever one is faced with danger, the body gets flooded with hormones elevating heart rate which in turn increases blood pressure. More so, this boosts one’s energy allowing preparations to deal with the problem. Probably people are usually faced with several challenges such as meeting deadlines, juggling childcare, and paying bills. It is such challenges that make the body react the same way as mentioned above. As a result, the human body experiences the “fight or flight” reaction.

Pressure points

Despite how stress can be minor it causes an impact on one’s body. For instance, some students experience stomach aches just before giving a presentation (Shankar, and Park, 2016, p.7). Acute stress may get caused by events such as terrorist attacks, earthquake, or fight with a spouse. All the same, the major the stress the bigger the impact on one’s health. Several studies have indicated that emotional stresses specifically anger are the significant causes of arrhythmias, heart attacks, or even sudden death. However, most cases of sudden death occur in people with heart diseases. The central nervous system is responsible for the “fight or flight” response. The hypothalamus is the part of the brain that sends the signals to adrenal glands releasing stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline. The hormones facilitate the heartbeat to send more blood to areas that need it more during emergencies such as the heart, and muscles among other organs. However, after the perceived fear is gone the hypothalamus informs all the systems to get back to the norm. All the same, if the stressor fails to go away, the response will continue.

Cardiovascular and respiratory systems

The hormones released by stress affect the cardiovascular and respiratory systems. In the event of pressure, one’s breath fastens to distribute oxygen that is rich in the blood (Dhabhar, 2014, p.200). For those who have asthma problems, breathing can be a problem at the time of stress.

The heart as well pumps faster during stress. Stress hormones lead one’s blood vessels to divert and constrict oxygen to muscles thus having the strength to take action. More so, this causes a rise in blood pressure. The result is that chronic stress makes the heart work too hard for a long time. In case of an increase in blood pressure, one risks getting a heart attack or stroke (McEwen, 2008, p.181).

Digestive system

If one experiences stress, the liver produces glucose thus boosting energy. However, if one is under chronic fear, it is not possible for the body to keep the extra glucose surge. Moreover, continuous stress increases the risk of getting type 2 diabetes.

The digestive system may as well be upset by rapid breathing, rush of hormones, as well as increased heart rate. Probably, one may experience acid reflux or heartburn due to increased stomach acid. All the same, there is this narrative that stress causes ulcers. What fear does is increase the risk of them and at the same time make the existing ulcers act up.

Notably, stress influences how the food moves in the body leading to constipation and diarrhea. Also, one may experience vomiting, nausea, and stomachache.

Reproductive system

As previously noted, stress is not only exhausting to the body alone but also to the mind. Whenever one is under fear, he or she experiences constant loss of desire. For the case of a male, short-term stress increases the production of the male testosterone hormone. If the tension continues, the levels of testosterone start to drop. In fact, it can be so severe that it may cause erectile dysfunction or impotence.

Positive effects of stress

It is good to note that every stress occurs for a specific reason. Therefore, they must offer some positive aspects. In this case, one should focus on definite issues to make the most of them (Gu et al., p.9). Some of the positive aspects include motivation and cognition enhancers among others.

Motivating factor

Stress can play a crucial part in motivating someone. One should focus on the usefulness of stimulating factors by looking at everyday examples (de Frias, and Whyne, 2015 p.205). For instance, a student may think of being in school revising for exams. Those who started reviewing early may experience little or no stress. Those who incur fear are those who wait until the last minute when they start cramming as quickly as possible. In this case, those who experience stress are the ones who learn significant lessons and thus can plan, prepare or fix the problem.

Cognitive enhancer

People who feel eustress experience more success in their exams. In this case, they may have improved intelligence. Though it may sound incredible, stress can be a cognitive enhancer thus boosting mental prowess and helping people in their academic and professional capacities (Lupien et al., 2004, p.434). In fact, stress enhances the brain to stay focused. Fear is a standard way of dealing with dangerous situations, for instance, escaping from predators. Moreover, it helps one to focus on the issue at hand. Furthermore, studies have shown that stress increases memory and recall (Khansari, 1990, p.171). In this case, when one is revising for an exam, he or she may remember what is learned due to stress.

Physical enhancing

Apart from improving brain function, stress can as well increase physical endurance and performance. Stress enhances the release of adrenaline thus speeding heart rate and at the same time metabolism. Besides, this can lead to an increase in reactions and reflexes. As such, this may act as a painkiller thus enabling better endurance. If one is in any danger, this may be helpful in running for long (Lovallo, 2015, n.p). However, today it might help in sporting events and physical confrontation. If an athlete is having a bit of stress, it may be beneficial to him or her. The hormone released may be helpful in fighting fatigue and tiredness.


In conclusion, one can state that stress can result in a problem and at the same can be beneficial. Fear may have several health issues such as heart issues and production issues. However, it results in motivation and cognitive and physical enhancers.

References list

de Frias, C.M. and Whyne, E., 2015. Stress on health-related quality of life in older adults: The protective nature of mindfulness. Aging & mental health19(3), pp.201-206.

Dhabhar, F.S., 2014. Effects of stress on immune function: the good, the bad, and the beautiful. Immunologic research58(2-3), pp.193-210.

Donald, J.N., Atkins, P.W., Parker, P.D., Christie, A.M. and Ryan, R.M., 2016. Daily stress and the benefits of mindfulness: Examining the daily and longitudinal relations between present-moment awareness and stress responses. Journal of Research in Personality65, pp.30-37.

Gu, J., Strauss, C., Bond, R. and Cavanagh, K., 2015. How do mindfulness-based cognitive therapy and mindfulness-based stress reduction improve mental health and wellbeing? A systematic review and meta-analysis of mediation studies. Clinical psychology review37, pp.1-12.

Khansari, D.N., Murgo, A.J. and Faith, R.E., 1990. Effects of stress on the immune system. Immunology today11, pp.170-175.

Lovallo, W.R., 2015. Stress and health: Biological and psychological interactions. Sage publications.

Lupien, S.J., McEwen, B.S., Gunnar, M.R. and Heim, C., 2009. Effects of stress throughout the lifespan on the brain, behaviour and cognition. Nature reviews neuroscience10(6), p.434.

McEwen, B.S., 2008. Central effects of stress hormones in health and disease: Understanding the protective and damaging effects of stress and stress mediators. European journal of pharmacology583(2-3), pp.174-185.

Raposa, E.B., Laws, H.B. and Ansell, E.B., 2016. Prosocial behavior mitigates the negative effects of stress in everyday life. Clinical Psychological Science4(4), pp.691-698.

Schönfeld, P., Brailovskaia, J., Bieda, A., Zhang, X.C. and Margraf, J., 2016. The effects of daily stress on positive and negative mental health: Mediation through self-efficacy. International Journal of Clinical and Health Psychology16(1), pp.1-10.

Shankar, N.L. and Park, C.L., 2016. Effects of stress on students’ physical and mental health and academic success. International Journal of School & Educational Psychology4(1), pp.5-9.

Slavich, G.M., 2016. Life stress and health: a review of conceptual issues and recent findings. Teaching of Psychology43(4), pp.346-355.

Stults-Kolehmainen, M.A. and Sinha, R., 2014. The effects of stress on physical activity and exercise. Sports medicine44(1), pp.81-121.

Vaessen, T., Hernaus, D., Myin-Germeys, I. and van Amelsvoort, T., 2015. The dopaminergic response to acute stress in health and psychopathology: a systematic review. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews56, pp.241-251.

Yeager, D.S., Johnson, R., Spitzer, B.J., Trzesniewski, K.H., Powers, J. and Dweck, C.S., 2014. The far-reaching effects of believing people can change: Implicit theories of personality shape stress, health, and achievement during adolescence. Journal of personality and social psychology106(6), p.867.



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