What events provoke stress responses? How do we respond and adapt to stress?

Events that provoke stress can range from mental triggers like knowing you have a big test coming up to physical triggers like an injury. Stress comes from events or thoughts that make you feel frustrated, nervous, or angry.

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Stress is normal. While a person might desire a stress-free life, stress is a normal psychological and physical reaction to the various demands of life; therefore, stress isn't something that should be feared or even necessarily avoided. Stress is your body's way of preparing itself for a challenge or demand, and in short sequences, stress can be a good thing. It helps you prepare for a big test. It helps give you a boost of motivation to meet a deadline. It can help save your life from some kind of physical danger. You might experience stress when starting a new job, losing a job, having problems with a coworker, etc. In each of those cases, the body experiences stress in response to a stressor. It's when a person remains stressed after the stressor is removed that becomes a problem and can damage a person's overall health and wellness.

When your body is being stressed, the body reacts by releasing hormones that make your brain more alert. Muscles become more tense, and heart rate increases. All of these body responses prepare your brain and body to protect itself against the stressor, and different people experience the same stressor differently. Having to write a big final paper might cause one person severe amounts of stress while another person might find the writing somewhat relaxing; therefore, different people respond differently to stress. Often a person's response to stress is a result of his or her previous experience with stress, stressors, and stress management.

Learning stress management strategies is key to handling stress. Sometimes, removing the stressor is an option. If work is stressful, changing jobs can be a solution. Exercise is a good stress management technique because exercise releases a lot of hormones that combat stress. Mediation exercises are also effective at managing stress. Adapting to stress is often finding tactics that manage the stress rather than finding ways to never be stressed.

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