Mental stress is a mental distress accompanied by worries and anxieties, physiological and behavioral phenomena.
Stress could cause the following symptoms:
An eruption of rage. A tendency to arguments and quarrels. General aggression toward people who are not related to the stress source. Poor mood that can lead to depression. Lack of motivation. Lack of enthusiasm. Indifference. Apathy. A sense of losing purpose in life. Attention and concentration problems. Hyperactivity. Memory problems. Impatience. Loss of self-confidence. Pessimism. Disturbing thoughts. Insomnia. Eating Disorders. Increased smoking. Increased drug and alcohol use. Self-neglect. Decreased exercising. Abrupt cessation of essential activities, such as studying and working. Difficulties in sexual activity and lack of sexual desire. Avoidance of additional objectives and tasks in order to avoid additional stress that may arise as a result of these tasks.
Physiological (physical) symptoms that appear as a result of mental stress
• high blood pressure
• accelerated heartbeat
• breathing problems
• dry mouth
• dilated pupils
• digestive problems (diarrhea)
• suppression of the immune system
• various pains - pressure and pain in the chest, abdominal pain
The process by which the physiological symptoms are created during mental stress
The adrenal gland secretes adrenaline and cortisol hormones into the bloodstream. This elevates the heart rate and blood pressure. Blood flow to the muscles intensifies and an increase in blood sugar begins, as well as: cessation of digestion, the appearance of nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, and lack of appetite.
These physiological changes help the body to reach a state of alert in which it is ready for action in an emergency. In this situation, the body can better defend itself against a physical threat, by attacking the source of the threat or by quickly escaping from that threat. This condition is called "fight or flight". At this point, the body rejects non-urgent actions. Digestive action in the stomach is not necessary at the moment and therefore this activity decreases or stops completely. The immune system is important in the long run. At this moment, however, it is not as important and therefore fewer resources are directed to it. Other actions that are postponed at that moment are: building and strengthening the various body systems, filling up the energy reservoirs in the human body, and regenerating the body's cells.
In the modern lifestyle in Western societies, most of the threats to people are not physical but mental. As a result, the physiological phenomena described above do not help a person to function but could rather do the opposite – disturbing proper functioning. In situations where the person does not have to physically attack or escape the threat of a fast run, he does not need a fast pulse, fast breathing, and increased blood flow to the muscles.
In this state of mental stress with no threat or physical challenge, the person needs to relax, rest, and consider his steps logically. All of the physiological phenomena described actually prevent us from doing so.
Persistent mental stress
Prolonged mental stress causes erosion of the body systems, mental and physical exhaustion. When physiological symptoms such as hormone secretion, an increase in heart rate and blood pressure, and an increase in blood sugar, appear repeatedly over a long period of time, in an attempt to deal with the condition, this causes damage to the function of the glands that secrete hormones. The immune system is weakened and as a result mild illnesses such as flu, colds, fever, and coughs appear first, and later more serious illnesses such as heart attacks- to the point of life-threatening, depressive and mental illness.
The causes of mental stress
• Physical or mental threat
• Overload at work or school
• Loss of control
• Bereavement, grief, divorce, dismissal, unemployment, difficulties at work, and dissatisfaction from various areas of life
• The need to make a decision and choose between alternatives can also cause stress
Treatment and coping
Stress may result in positive or negative results depending on the person’s reaction and the way he chooses to cope with it. Stress can motivate us to take strenuous action, to think positively about the situation and to solve the problem we are facing. Alternatively, for other people or in other situations, stress can cause depression, anxiety, indifference, apathy, and many other damages as described above.
Interpersonal differences in dealing with mental stress
A person who fails in a particular field may think that he is a failure in all areas of life. Others will find reasons or excuses for failure. They tell themselves that in other tasks they can succeed.
Pessimism will cause psychological and physical damages to those under mental stress.
Optimism contributes to mental health and physical resilience.
Some people feel satisfied that they are dealing with difficult situations and manage to get themselves out of them. Stressful situations spur them to be active and enthusiastic. This characteristic helps them deal with stress and with the problems they are facing.
An inclination to anger and aggression in general becomes stronger in stressful situations. With such tendencies, stress can therefore lead to heart attacks and be life threatening.
Ways to deal with stress
• Try to stay calm.
• Try to solve the problem created by systematic, logical thinking.
• Try to stay in a good mood. A bad mood and stressful behavior will make it difficult to find a solution.
• Conversations with close friends and family.
• Receiving love, a warm and positive emotion, improves mood and helps cope with stressful situations.
• When talking to the person in distress, one should try to calm him/her down using positive guidance and optimistic thinking, which can help relieve stress.
• Sometimes, it is also possible to avoid stressful situations by lowering expectations and adjusting them to realty.
• Reduce your level of competitiveness. You do not have to be first in everything, and you do not always have to hurry up.
• A person with positive characteristics who is under stress, believes that with hard work and control of the situation he will be able to cope and solve the problems that cause stress.
• Improving people's level of patience prevents them from getting into stressful situations.
• People who tend to get angry easily will often be stressed and may even be in risk of heart attacks. Therefore, relieving anger can help deal with stress.
• Constant exercise reduces mental stress and helps maintain human health. As the saying goes: a healthy mind in a healthy body.
About 15-30 percent of the population suffer from insomnia. Women suffer from this up to twice as much as men. Older people suffer from insomnia more than the young.
In recent years, with the rise in the standard of living, there has been a marked increase in the consumption of sleeping pills.
In Western countries, the phenomenon of insomnia came in second place in frequency compared to other wellness problems (after the phenomenon of pain, which is in first place).
Insomnia is defined as the difficulty of falling asleep. And as a problem that causes waking up at bedtime at night and a difficulty to go back to sleep afterwards.
The damages caused as a result of insomnia
Insomnia as well as a poor quality of sleep cause a feeling of fatigue and sleepiness after waking up in the morning, and so during the day.
Additional damages caused by insomnia:
· Impairment of daily functioning.
· Difficulties in paying attention and concentrating.
· Difficulties in learning and performing routine tasks in daily life and work. Resulting in difficulties in advancing at work.
· Increased risk of car accidents and workplace accidents.
· Economic damage - loss of working hours and productivity at work.
· Mood swings.
· Impairment of motivation and joy of life.
· Various digestive problems.
· Health damages - insomnia increases the level of the type of protein that causes inflammation and, consequently, an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, various infections, infectious diseases and malignant diseases.
· Insomnia and fatigue can make it more difficult to perform physical exercises and cause problems to the body's heat regulation mechanism.
· Lack of sleep in general, even without insomnia, increases appetite and can lead to obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes.
The causes of insomnia
Stress, pressure, depression and anxiety. 80 percent of those who suffer from anxiety also suffer from insomnia.
The causes of anxiety can stem from: grief, divorce, conflicts and quarrels, unemployment, overwork. Then, one might also suffer from anxiety about not being able to fall asleep.
Diseases that cause insomnia:
· Attention Deficit Disorder can cause insomnia.
· Lung and respiratory diseases - those who suffer from lung diseases struggle to breathe and this causes sleep disorders. Attempts to eliminate phlegm to make it easier to breathe also cause difficulty sleeping.
· Chronic pain.
· Heart failure causes shortness of breath resulting in sleep disorders.
· An enlarged prostate causes waking up at night to urinate. Going back to sleep may then be difficult.
· Neurological diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's.
· Medications - Taking certain medications that have some of the side effects that cause insomnia, such as medications for depression, blood pressure, breathing problems and indigestion. Taking drugs, steroids, symphonic dilators, amphetamines, thyroid hormone.
Other factors that can cause insomnia
· Detoxification from tranquilizer pills
· Night shift work
· Caffeine consumption, smoking and alcohol as well as attempts to quit these materials.
· Changes in the sleeping environment, such as a bed, a mattress, the amount of light, and noise.
· Thoughts and over-excitement over happy events or other significant events in life.
Other factors of insomnia
· Aging - from the age of 65 and up, the incidence of insomnia can reach 50 percent of the age group. With increasing age, the human body loses growth hormone and melatonin, which help in deep, quality sleep. As a result, the quality of sleep is damaged, it is difficult to fall asleep and more likely to wake up several times during the night. Therefore, adults and older people feel tired and drowsy during the day.
· Get enough sleep hours according to your physical need.
· Set regular hours for sleeping and waking up.
· Avoid caffeine, alcohol and smoking in the hours before bed.
· Exercise during the day.
· Avoid sleeping during the day.
· Consumption of relieving herbs - Melissa, valerian, lavender.
· Expulsion of negative thoughts that prevent falling asleep and positive thinking.
The stated above does not constitute a medical advice. Please consult your healthcare provider with any question or concerns you have on your medical condition.