Truly, change is the only constant but to some people, depending on their environments or daily routine, STRESS is. It is almost impossible to get a ‘NO’ answer to the question: Was your day stressful? Stress is arguably that companion everyone has in today’s society. One who lives in urban areas is no stranger to stress. Let’s take Lagos for example; it has become a cliché amidst Lagosians that “if you can survive in Lagos, you can survive anywhere” which is as a result of the regular hustle and bustle city lifestyle.
Stress is the human body’s natural response to any change in the environment that requires an action, reaction, or adjustment to what’s normal. How a person handles it very much defines stress for that person. So everybody at one time or the other must have come across the word STRESS either theoretical or practical but the truth is, what do we really know about stress?
Here are interesting facts about stress:
1. Three-fourths of the human population undergo stress in varying levels in a 2-week period. The working population is particularly subject to emotional, physical, and mental stress.
2. Stress is one of the main factors causing insomnia and other sleep disorders. When stressors are present, the body naturally heightens its response system, thus, leading to wakefulness.
3. Laughter is usually the best natural medicine. It lowers levels of cortisol, adrenaline, and epinephrine, which are stress-aggravating hormones; and it releases feel-good hormones, such as, dopamine.
4. Chewing gum eases, not only the jaw, but stress as well. Ancient Mayans and Greeks chomped on resin gum; stress sure had been around a long time.
5. Stress causes chest pain, high cholesterol, cardiac problems, depression, and a host of assorted problems. It is not the culprit that causes grey hair; but it does cause hair loss.
6. In the 1930s, Hans Selye, an endocrinologist, first used the term stress in an organic framework. He used the term in his study with animals which, he concluded, had similar responses to stress as humans, e.g., hypertension, lingering back pain, and chronic abdominal problems.
7. Stress triggers blood vessels to close, thereby reducing profuse bleeding from a flesh wound. The term stress means to draw tight, which originated from the Latin word stringere.
8. A stressor, the stimulus that causes stress which can be real or imagined, can affect a person in a short term (acute) or over long periods (chronic).
9. Highly stressed women have a higher tendency for suicide, particularly working mothers who lack substantial support and understanding from others, than most women with moderate levels of stress.
10. In the UK alone, approximately 5 million people are stressed in their jobs. Among the jobs considered most stressful are: commercial airline pilot, photojournalist, surgeon, and advertising account executive.
11. Bringing up a family in a highly developed and urbanized city – where everyone has to put up with the high costs of living, rising crime rate, traffic congestion and air pollution, is highly stressful.
12. According to an opinion poll, the major cause for stress in nearly all countries surveyed is money. The less stressed are: Russia, France, and Italy.
13. Stress poses a great threat for diabetes and heart attack by altering blood sugar levels. This can cause fatigue, impulsive mood changes, and hyperglycaemia.
14. Reaction to stress makes the blood thicker and more viscous which can lead to a blood clot. Powerful hormones, intended for urgent situations only, flood the brain and can kill healthy brain cells.
15. Through generations, stress has effectively enhanced human survival because of its specific traits that jog your wakefulness and develop bodily functions.
16. Cocoa and chocolate, which are rich in antioxidants, have been are known to reduce stress.
17. Extremely loud noises can cause acoustic stress that can spark off a spell of Long QT Syndrome – a heart disorder that has caused nearly 3,000 deaths in the U.S. annually.
18. Chinese stress balls or Baoding balls are believed to alleviate stress because they apply force to pressure points on the hand.
19. Hints of posttraumatic stress disorder has been recorded in Homer’s Iliad during the Trojan War when Achilles bemoaned of being emotionless and hinted of suicidal tendencies and rage.
20. Stress is interconnected with the topmost causes of death globally: accidents, cancer, heart disease, suicide, lung disorders, and cirrhosis of the liver. Stress makes us physiologically ready for an emergency. For that short moment, it is helpful. Ability to control this natural reaction is beneficial. Just don’t let it fly off the handle.
By now, you must have been able to pick one interesting fact and way to reduce stress. So, do have a stress-free day.