Stress and health.

Essay by XmasTree February 2006

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Nowadays we hear about stress more and more often. It is becoming an inherent thing in our societies. The growing size of world cities and ever more competitive working conditions are thought to cause stress, anxiety and depression, with a resulting decrease in the quality of life, sleep disturbances, drug and alcohol abuse and poor productivity. Acute stress may suppress immune function, leading to an increased incidence of infections, and chronic stress may predispose to a number of ailments, including digestive disturbances, hypertension and heart problems; jointly, these factors cause a substantial shortening of life expectancy. Consequently, we should be aware of it if we don't want to end up with terminal disease etc.

First of all, the biology of stress is very important because by knowing where the stress begins biologically we can bring it down. When people experience stress "their sympathetic nervous system releases the stress hormones epinephrine and nor epinephrine from nerve endings in the inner part of the adrenal glands [and] pituitary hormone in the bloodstream stimulates the outer part of the adrenal gland to release the stress hormone cortisol" (Myers 1998).

This reaction is also known as "dual-response" system, which is a completely natural reaction causing increased heart rate and higher blood circulation in our muscles. This moment is best determined as a state of shock. However, if stress is a natural reaction why is it harmful? For instance, when we see a car going straight to us our adrenal glands become activated and we prepare for a "fight or flight". We understand that fighting with car would be useless so we run violently by having a narrow escape but after a minute or so we again feel the flow of spirits. But imagine if that state of shock doesn't ever desolate you. Here...