The Impact of Stress on the Mind and Body
By Christina Radziejewski
Systemic failures in many world economies leading to the devaluation of currencies, unprecedented job losses, and the re-organization of governments and businesses, are taking a toll on modern man. In an age of fast electronic communications and unrelenting bombardment from multiple media sources, the human mind is forced to cope with more information than ever before in attempts to keep up and survive.
The stressors of today may be different from those experienced 30 years ago, but stress is nevertheless present, and an unavoidable consequence of life then and now. Stress is prevalent in all facets of life, and has been cited as a major factor in up to 80% of work-related injuries and 40% of workplace turnovers.1
Stress management has become a regular hot topic and the subject of many psychology literature and popular media. Most individuals will experience stressful events that threaten their psychological or physiological well-being at some point in life. Each will perceive and respond to stressors in their own way, eliciting different outcomes.2
What is stress?
The American Psychological Association (www.apa.org) defines stress as “any uncomfortable emotional experience accompanied by predictable biochemical, physiological and behavioral changes.”3
According to Merriam-Webster’s online medical dictionary, stress may be defined as a “physical, chemical, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension and may be a factor in disease causation.”4
We say we feel “stressed” when a deadline looms at work, or at the anticipation of giving a speech at an important meeting. At the thought of the event, our heart may start racing, our palm becomes sweaty, and we take shorter breaths. We may start pacing, or become short-tempered and irritable.