Stress Has a Positive Effect on the Body? I don't think so. (What is…
Stress Has a Positive Effect on the Body? I don't think so.
My Overall Opinion
I think that in all aspects of physical stress, the negative effects outweigh the positive effects. There are certainly physical benefits to stress, however. Stress is a necessity, and often times the daily stress encountered is not the type of stress that will result in many of these consequences as well. Stress seems to majorly affect those who think badly of it, although the effects are still present in those who think otherwise,.
Moderate stress may elicit a short immune response, actually boosting the immune system.
Physical Strength ("Fight of Flight" response)
Dilation of Coronary Arteries
Dilation of Bronchial Tubes
Accelerated Heart Rate
Increase in Force of Heart Contractions
Increased Rate of Metabolism
Increase in Gastrointestinal Motility
Increase in Rate and Depth of Respiration
Decrease in Salivation
Dilation of Pupils
Lowering of Immune Response
These problems, related to
stress, may lead to very serious life threatening Illnesses such as: Heart Attacks, Kidney Disease, and Cancer.
Chronic Muscle Tension
Increased Blood Pressure
Additionally, stress hormones can clog arteries, increase plaque, damage blood vessels, and restrict blood flow, all jeopardizing heart health.
Chronic stress impairs brain health by weakening the excitability of nerve cells and by accelerating the deterioration of the hippocampus.
Carnegie Mellon University study shows for the first time how psychological stress is associated with the body losing its ability to regulate the inflammatory response, resulting in a continued tissue destruction and development of many age-related disorders.
My Opinion on the Symptoms
I think that the negative physical effects of stress much outweigh the positives, with even life threatening diseases and tissue destruction associated with repeated stress.
College Students' Interviews (Research Study)
Participants listed some negative physical health effects of stress, such as: Increased Heart Rate, Tremors, Appetite Changes, Gastrointestinal Problems (Stomach Cramping and Pain were recurring issues), Sleeping Problems.
Students had differing effects of appetite, with some saying stress removes the interest in eating, while another student says that it makes them more hungry.
“I just can’t get to sleep no matter what and the exhaustion and sleeplessness makes it worse for me the day after. Also, I lose complete interest in eating and feel as though I’ll be sick if I do.”
Stomach cramping and pain was a recurrent theme
One student said that stress gave him a better ability to perform, and isn't affected negatively by stress at all.
My Opinion on the Interviews
I think that these student interviews are very effective at showing the real world perception of stress. Most of the issues listed were negative, while some students did think positively of stress. Less students overall thought of stress as bad, however those that did suffered negative consequences from it.
My Overall Opinion
Mental stress is very prevalent among students and young adults, and still seen even in many adults and kids. The mental side of stress depends heavily on your perception of stress as good or bad. Stress can be (and is supposed to be) an effective natural motivator for people to get things done, but it can get out of hand for some and affect their behavior.
Under certain conditions, the stress hormone cortisol appears to boost the brain’s receptivity to learning
Following a stressful period, individuals with compulsive disorders such as alcoholism, gambling, overeating, and smoking increase in the negative behavior or undergo a relapse.
Perceptional-Attitude Changes in individual personality
Chronic States of Depression
People are often driven to take prescription drugs to deal with their stress rather than more long-term solutions.
Stress doesn't seem to have many direct mental symptoms, and they mostly rely on what a person's perception of stress is. Daily stress can take a mental toll, but mostly on those who believe it can. Chronic stress will result in negative behavioral influence in anyone, however. Interestingly enough, under certain conditions a stress hormone appears to boost learning capacity.
College Students' Interviews (Research Study)
60% of participants believed that their ability to manage stress was either effective or mostly effective
Among those that could effectively control stress, they reported it as a motivational factor in their lives.
A small group of students felt "driven to excel" while under stress.
Students listed many negative mental health effects of stress, naming: Irritability/anger management difficulties, Depressed mood, Anxiousness/nervousness, Hopelessness, Concentration difficulties, and Social isolation
One participant said: “stress has a negative impact on several aspects of my life.” This trend continues through many of the student's negative quotes.
Worry was also a common theme. Multiple students reported that their constant worrying predisposes them to stress, and once it is experienced, they do not effectively manage it.
40% of respondents reported that their ability to cope with stress was not effective, or only partially effective, in managing stress in their live.
These interviews clearly demonstrate that mentally, those who perceive stress as bad are more likely to be influenced by it in a negative way. Less people overall think this way, however those who do think stress is bad are mentally effected. Those believing stress motivates them, and "drives them to excel" are more able to control stress, and don't have any mental negative effects
High School Juniors' Interviews (Research Study)
49% of students reported feeling a great deal of stress on a daily basis.
31% reported feeling somewhat stressed.
26% of participants reported symptoms of depression at a clinically significant level.
Participants had a relatively high GPA, 3.54 among girls and 3.34 among guys.
48% (about half) of those surveyed reported doing at least three hours of homework a night, with girls 40% more likely to report three or more hours of homework a night than boys
Grades, homework, and preparing for college were the greatest sources of stress for both genders
Students noted that demands they were given did not always feel appropriate to their developmental levels
“School, homework, extracurricular activities, sleep, repeat—that’s what it can be for some of these students,” says Noelle Leonard, PhD, a senior research scientist at the New York University College of Nursing (NYUCN).
This study was perfect in gathering more information on how stressed high school students are, what types of people were the most easily stressed, and what stresses them most. A shocking 26% of the participants reported symptoms of clinical depression, and this can be tied to the large amount of stress reported among them.
What is Stress
When a person first encounters or experiences a stressor, the body part that first notices the stimulus passes the signal to the brain. The messages passes through the reticular activating system to the hypothalamus and thalamus. When the hypothalamus experiences the stressor signal, it also activates the two main stress pathways, the autonomic nervous system, and the endocrine system.
The result of this signal stimulates the pituitary gland, which then orders the release of several hormones into the body.
Aldosterone - Increases blood pressure
Cortisol - fuel for the "fight or flight" response, increases blood sugar for energy
Constant non-life threatening stressors trigger the release of adrenaline as well as other stress hormones, which over time, does have devastating consequences on your health.
The thought process of the person in response to the stressor is very important in how it affects them. What might be perceived as a stressor to one person may not be to another.
In a large US study, people with high stress levels had an elevated mortality rate if they also believed that stress greatly affects health.
“fight or flight response” isn’t doing the best job now because in our daily stress “there’s no one to slug and no place to run”
Alternative highs that can help cope with stress
Composition and Writing
Painting and Sculpture
Hobbies and Games
Many participants in a study reported that maintaining contact within their social network of people allowed for active communication about potential stressors, which they felt lessened the intensity of stress experienced. Also, many students reported that healthy self care behaviors (healthy eating, exercising, mindful activities) were used to prevent stress from occurring.
Coping Strategies Survey (mean age 18.33)
Behavioral Disengagement (20.2%)
Emotional Support (24.7%)
Instrumental Support (33.6%)
Positive Reframing (42.2%)
Active Coping (50.2%)
Substance Use (1.1%)
Research says stress may have a positive side. “There’s good stress, there’s tolerable stress, and there’s toxic stress,” says Bruce McEwen of Rockefeller University (expert on stress)
Situations we typically perceive as stressful, like a confrontation, pressure to perform, or a long to-do list are not the toxic type of stress that’s been linked to cardiovascular disease, autoimmune disorders, severe depression and cognitive impairment.
An estimated 75 to 90% if all visits to primary care physicians are now related to the negative effects of stress.
Over-burdened accumulation of stress hormones is called the “allostasis load”. This term represents the wear and tear caused by repeated bouts of stress.
The distribution of responses to a poll among 100 students was as follows: 38% of the stressors were intrapersonal, 28% environmental, 19% interpersonal, and 15% academic. Of the responses for interpersonal sources of stress, 100% were daily hassles. Daily hassles accounted for 88.2% of the environmental stressors. Daily hassles were responsible for 77.3% of the intrapersonal stressors, and 67.2% of the academic sources of stress. Overall, 81.1% of the identified stress sources could be classified as daily hassle.
The dynamic relationship between the person and environment in stress perception and reaction is especially magnified in college students.
The pressure to earn good grades and to earn a degree is very high
Other potential sources of stress include excessive homework, unclear assignments, and uncomfortable classrooms
Academic requirements, relations with faculty members and time pressures may also be sources of stress
Relationships with family and friends, eating and sleeping habits, and loneliness may affect some students adversely