Stress is a natural, human response towards pressure when facing any uncertain or challenging situation. It stimulates a surge of hormones released by a part of the brain called hypothalamus. The hormones are namely adrenaline and cortisol. Experiencing stress is completely natural and a sign of existence. Stress increases alertness and activates the ‘Fight or Flight’ instinct. Stress can have critical effects on mental and physical health. It also affects the social life of the individual. But, it can be controlled with effective training and can also be used in favor of the concerned individual.
Types of Stress
Episodic Acute stress.
stress that is experienced on some particular situation, i.e. it is not repetitive, is classified as acute stress. This type of stress is experienced when facing a challenging situation or pressures that are short term. Acute stress cannot be considered to be negative in nature because, it increases excitement, alertness and brings out the’ fight or flight’ instinct.Acute stress can increase productivity, for short term, or even increase the joy or thrill factor experienced in an activity.
Emotional Symptoms: Emotional imbalance may be experienced by the subject. Some of such signs can be anxiety, anger, short term depression and irritability.
Physical Symptoms: Physical symptoms such as upset stomach, irregularity in bowl actions, shortness of breath, dizziness, headache may be experienced by the affected person.
Episodic Acute Stress
Acute stress that is experienced in more frequently is termed as Episodic Acute Stress . This is a result of too much expectations and demands of an individual. Episodic Acute stress is usually observed in individuals who tend to be more competitive in nature, are aggressive, demanding and sometimes frequently tensed.
Longer periods of depression, irritability, anxiety and emotional imbalance.
Heart related problems.
Frequent physical irregularities (similar to acute stress).
Chronic stress is exactly opposite of acute stress. Here, stress is deep rooted and is experienced in a very high frequency. Chronic stress can cause serious health and social problems. Martial problems, unwanted career, relationship conflicts, trauma, heart issues. Chronic stress seems never ending and can be fatal sometimes. Chronic stress can also cause clinical depression. It has the potential that can convert a sane person into a psychopath.
All time Irritation.
Frequent feelings of fatigue.
Does Stress Affect Men and Women Differently? How? Why?
Yes, gender is an important factor that affects human health in multiple ways. Stress affects men and women differently. Males and females tend to react differently towards stress. Females are almost twice as likely as men to suffer from stress and anxiety. Which even affects females’ health to such an extent that their health issues are more serious than kidney and heart related health problems.
Effects of Stress on Men:(HOW)
Men tend to react in differently than women when suffering stress or anxiety. Some of the symptoms are substance abuse, aggressive behaviour, hypertension, increase in proneness towards infectious deceases. The frequency of these symptoms is highly observed in males when comparing with females. Although males are less likely to suffer stress or anxiety in short term, in long term males are the ones that are prone to stress. The reason for this is men are less likely to talk about stress than women. Males find stress as a weakness and an indirect insult to their masculinity in whole.
Effects of Stress on Females:(HOW)
Females suffer stress more frequently than men. Some of the symptoms of stress in females are such as anxiety, depression, persistent pain, headaches, autoimmune deceases. The frequency of short term stress is much higher in females than males. There are multiple reasons for this such as money, budget of the household,well being of children etc. But, in long term women are less likely to suffer health problems linked with stress. The reason being women are more emotional and do not hesitate talking about stress or anxiety or depression.
Why Does Stress Affect Males and Females Differently?
The main reason is a biological one. Males and females release different types and quantities of hormones when stress is suffered by either of them. There are three major hormones which play a vital part in differentiating the responses by different sexes towards stress. These are Adrenaline, Oxytocin and Cortisol. Both the sexes secrete oxytocin but in different quantities. In males the when adrenaline and cortisol is secreted the oxytocin is also secreted as a defence mechanism. But, that oxytocin itself gets attacked by testosterone- male hormone- an thus is unable to defend the male from adrenaline and cortisol. On the other hand female body does not defend the oxytocin and thus oxytocin helps defend female body from adrenaline and cortisol. Thus women tend to be more comfortable when talking about stress because oxytocin stimulates the feeling of trust. Therefore women suffer short term stress while men can suffer from chronic stress.
Does Stress Affect One’s Communication Skills? How? Why?
Stress surely affects one’s communication. It can create Emotional communication barriers between the person suffering from stress and the other party involved in communication. Stress leads to irritation, anger and frustration which affects an individual’s way of communication. It can also lead to low self-confidence, low energy levels and decreased concentration. Stress also leads to less social interaction, marital problems, conflicts in friendship, sexual problems etc. Stress causes insomnia which again reduces energy levels and concentration and thus affects the overall communication. Monetary and work pressures often become a barrier while communicating with near and dear ones. A person suffering from stress tends to avoid socialization and may thus restrict chances of communicating efficiently.
Stress is suffered when a person is not comfortable with the environment or faces any dangerous or challenging situation. At this point of time an individual becomes vulnerable and then the discomfort is experienced at various levels. Thus these situations create a sense of alertness that affects the communication skills of the individual which results into poor or sometimes no communication at all.
Classic example of any job interview can be observed. It can be a challenging situation for individuals, the reason being it is subjective in nature, and thus the fight or flight instinct comes into action. The alertness increases, shortness of breath, increase in heartbeats, precipitation also increases. Thus overall communication- body language and verbal- is affected in acute stress.
Presentation can also be challenging for some individuals. They might experience stress and can go blank while presenting. They might sweat a lot and stammer a lot. The overall point of the presentation might get lost due to lack of efficient communication.
Work pressure has a potential to cause stress and make an individual anxious. He or she might get hyper tensed when trying to meet a particular deadline. This can lead to irritability, anger, frustration and headaches.
Stress due to health problem of certain close one can also have its negative impacts on personal life of the stressed individual. This can again lead to alertness and hyper tension.
If a demand is not fulfilled at the time expected then this can also lead to acute stress. Here individual might get aggressive, frustrated and angry. This can be experienced in our day to day life, example- I expected my food to arrive 10 minutes after I placed the order, the serving took 15 minutes. This is a potential situation where an individual can experience stress if he/she has scheduled everything to the last minute.
Continuous work pressure can convert acute stress into chronic stress. Excess of work has the tendency to keep an individual under pressure which, if continues to be long term, can lead to the suffering of Chronic stress. This has the potential to bring psychological and heart related health problems.
Stress over sudden death or health issues of a near and dear one for a long period can also lead to conversion of acute stress into chronic stress. Example: diabetes, cardiac problems and irregularities, cancer etc.
Financial position of the individual can also lead to conversion of acute stress into chronic stress. These financial crisis are long term in nature and make the person anxious and worried all the time. This also leads to insomnia and heart related problems. Change in dietary habits and depression can also be symptoms of chronic stress.
Marital problems also stress individuals and can cause depression and other psychological problems. Trying hard to maintain the marriage can be stressful sometimes for both the individuals. It can lead to anger management issues and anxiety.
Caring too much for someone and worrying about their well being all the time can convert acute stress into chronic stress. Over-thinking leads to restlessness and can cause insomnia, anxiety and physical problems. Over-thinking mostly is redundant and is a result of giving too much attention to things that do not deserve it. But, this is not understood by the individual in these care-giving cases.
What Can Be Done to Ensure That Effective Communication Channels Continue to Function Smoothly Even During High Stress Situations in the Professional World? Give 5 Strategies That are Relevant to the Indian Context.
To answer the question mentioned above is not a big deal but, when the implication part of the solution comes in, that is where people fail to imply it efficiently. Stress has to be kept under control which will result into a calm mind. This calm mind can help communicate efficiently without falling prey to any emotional barriers. There will be less frustration and anger which will support the communicator to communicate normally instead of aggressively. This will prevent conflict and help in communication. Calm mind will also facilitate focusing on the concerned issue rather than hitting around the bush or loosing concentration. Thus it all comes back to keeping a calm mind and possessing the patience to do so. deep breathing, counting backwards, taking a quick break from work can help in controlling stress.
5 Strategies That are Relevant to the Indian Context
Exercising can be a great stress buster. Exercising is underestimated in India. This dose of daily exercise can be a outward channel for the negative energy, which makes itself home in an individual. Thus the refreshing feeling that is experienced after exercising leads to calmer mind and pumped up body which prepares an individual for upcoming stressful situation or pressure.
Spending time with people that matter to the individual can also be great stress buster. India is a country where joint families are still a common thing. Spending time with the family or friends can be a calming activity. This gives them a boost of confidence and homely feeling. This helps them be calm and deal with challenging situation with more confidence and calmer mind which gives a positive outcome overall.
Talking about stress. This is the most important strategy that an individual must follow at any cost. Opening up about psychological problems and stress is not so common in India. Practising such habits will again provide an outward channel for the negative energy to escape. This will also give a rough idea to the people around the concerned individual about the phase the individual is going through. This will lead to less external pressure which will help reducing the stress.
Engage in hobbies. Hobbies are a huge part of an individual’s life. Those are the activities which gives him/her nothing but pure pleasure. These activities which gives joy to the individual helps calm down and feel free of world pressures and challenges. These activities makes us feel good about ourselves which has a positive impact in our lives and helps in facing stress with something positive.
Meditation. Meditating is a very powerful tool when it comes to stress management. It trains us how to concentrate our resources- mental or physical- in the right direction and be sane when things do not turn out in our favour. Meditating can be handy tool at stressful times by helping us focus on the real issue rather than panicking. It helps us keep calm and thus there is less aggressiveness when stressed.
When the Situation is Normal
N/A Known to Self Not Known to Self
Known to the peer
Not known to the peer
When Communicating Under Stressful Situation
N/A Known to Self Not Known to Self
Known to the peer
Not known to the peer