Fight against stress 

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Stress is a natural reaction; it is a set of physical and physiological reactions of the organism, faced with a particular situation, which is said to be stressful. It can affect anyone, usually for a short period. Stress is triggered by situations that represent a "danger" to the individual. These stressful situations can be related by various contexts depending on the age of the person. A situation of chronic stress is however pathological.

Where does stress come from ?

In everyday language, we speak of positive stress ( eustress in English) or negative ( distress ). Stress is different from anxiety, the latter is an emotion while stress is a response mechanism that can lead to different emotions, including anxiety.

To understand how it works, you have to know how to decode the functioning of the adrenergic system (commonly called the sympathetic system ), whose neurotransmitters are adrenaline and norepinephrine.

Adrenaline plays a role in fear, anxiety and stress. It is secreted in response to a state of stress or in preparation for physical activity, causing an increased heart rate, an increase in the rate of heart contractions, an increase in blood pressure, dilation of the bronchi as well as pupils. It responds to a need for energy, for example to face danger.

When the secretion of adrenaline or noradrenaline is increased considerably, or when there is too much of it in the body (even exogenously), it can cause hypertension (arterial hypertension), arrhythmia heart or asthma.

What is chronic stress ?

Originally, stress is a useful reaction that allows us to defend ourselves against external aggressions thanks to certain reflexes. Only sometimes, these beautiful reflexes seize up, leading to exaggerated anticipations and responses. The symptoms of stress then appear, which gradually become annoying, even disabling.

A situation of chronic stress can be considered as being pathological and can lead to digestive disorders, headaches, sleep disorders, anxiety, insomnia, depression, musculoskeletal disorders, cardiovascular diseases, disturbances hormones, etc.

In people with asthma, for example, stress can cause asthma-related symptoms to deteriorate. It is the same for people who are depressed, anxious, or with psychological disorders.

A stressful event causes a chain reaction that begins in the brain and results in the production of cortisol by the adrenal glands. Cortisol then activates in return two areas of the brain: the cerebral cortex so that it reacts to the stressful stimulus (flight, attack, immobilization, compensation…) and the hippocampus , which will calm the reaction. If the stress is too much or if it is prolonged, the hippocampus saturated with cortisol can no longer ensure regulation. Cortisol invades the brain and sets up depression. The affected areas are primarily the hippocampus, amygdala, anterior cingulate cortex, and prefrontal cortex.

How do I know if I am stressed ?

The question is to know if you are stressed a little or a lot, with a risk of falling into chronic stress. Stress sets in very gradually and insidiously, we do not always realize it, until an alert, which sometimes comes from those around him. So take stock by asking yourself the right questions and identify the symptoms of stress . You can then move on to stress management.

Stress generates symptoms in three areas :

  • Emotional : irritation, nervousness, worry, melancholy, problems with concentration, memory, low self-esteem, discomfort, decreased libido, etc.
  • Behavioral : withdrawal into oneself, disorganization, difficult and conflicting social and sentimental relationships, tendency to addiction (high consumption of alcohol, tobacco, caffeine, sugar, medication, drugs, etc.)
  • Physical : fatigue, insomnia, dizziness, increased heart rate, headaches, digestive disorders, lower back or neck pain, feelings of tightness, unusual sweating, appetite disturbances, etc.

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