With today being the day after “Tax Day”, many people are probably feeling the effects of the dreaded tax filing deadline. Many others may attribute their stress to what they feel is the overload of their daily responsibilities and routines.
What is psychological stress?
Psychological stress describes what people feel when they are under mental, physical, or emotional pressure. Although it is normal to experience some psychological stress from time to time, people who experience high levels of psychological stress or who experience it repeatedly over a long period of time may develop health problems (mental and/or physical).
The National Institute of Mental Health states stress can be defined as the brain's response to any demand. Many things can trigger this response:
Change – The changes can be positive (marriage) or negative (divorce or illness), as well as real or perceived. Other changes are extreme, such as exposure to violence, and can lead to traumatic stress reactions.
Recurring, short-term, or long-term events – like commuting to and from school or work every day, traveling for a yearly vacation, or moving to another home.
How does the body respond during stress?
The body responds to stress by releasing stress hormones that increase blood pressure, speed heart rate, and raise blood sugar levels. Long term stress can cause:
increased susceptibility to viral infections
Ways to cope with stress are:
Maintain contact with friends and loved ones that can offer emotional support
Learn about relaxation stress management techniques
Seek counseling from a healthcare professional