Stress – How does the body react?

Stressed woman at work


Everybody’s had it, but nobody wants it. Mental or physical burdens create stress – this is a natural body function of every human being. In general, stress increases the willingness to perform when you are in an assumed or real dangerous situation. If you are feeling stressed and want to know why stress occurs and what can help against it, then you should definitely read this blog post.

Stress symptoms and function

The word stress is generally seen as a negative response of the body that occurs through a state of overload. Typical symptoms that show up asstrong feelings and body reactionsare:

  • Strong palpitations
  • Faster/flat breathing
  • Tense muscles in areas like neck, shoulders and back
  • Sweating
  • Dry mouth
  • Strange feeling in the stomach
  • Shaky hands and knees
  • Feeling of inner restlessness and nervousness

Quite unpleasant symptoms – but stress is also a helpful companion of humans. In terms of developmental biology it is designed to put the body in a state of increased reactivity and thus helps to cope with specific situations. The brain serves as a control center for the release of stress hormones. As a result, the body is supplied with adrenaline, breathing speeds up, the pulse increases sharply and the muscles are better supplied with blood. In a figurative sense, this means that the organism is ready to react. After the danger/situation has been overcome, the body functions normalize in the so-called relaxation phase.

Health consequences of persistent stress

The relaxation phase mentioned above is extremely important in order to avoid any health consequences. When the body does not have time to rest, the effects of stress are reflected in many areas of the body:

  • Weakened immune system –> Susceptibility to infectious diseases increases
  • Digestive problems –> Stomach ulcers possible
  • Chronic high blood pressure –> increased risk of heart attack
  • Increased blood sugar and cholesterol
  • Muscle tension –> leads to head and back pain
  • Possible states of exhaustion (e. g. depression, burn-outs)

Tips for coping with stress

Stress is subjectively perceived differently by every person. This means that a certain stressful situation can stress one person, while another person can cope with the situation without any problems. Nevertheless, there are plenty of tips that you can generally follow to avoid stress.

Demands on yourself

Each person is responsible for his own actions, including providing for recreation and balance. Other people’s opinions and appreciations are important, but you don’t have to depend on them. When striving for perfection, you should shift down a gear – to high demands on yourself can stress you.

Preventive measures

If possible, you should try to identify upcoming problems in advance and counteract them with appropriate preventive measures. Show your courage, discipline and patience for change when you realize that a situation is going in the wrong direction.

Setting/planning intermediate goals and praising oneself

Everyone rejoices in the recognition and praise of others, but this should not lead to dependence. Set intermediate goals for your tasks. When you reach them, praise yourself! In this case, the phrase “self-praise stinks” does not apply. After each day, you can think of three things you’ve done that make you proud. This helps you develop positive thoughts and sleep better.

Making plans

This is about prioritising. Think about what is bothering you in everyday life and what is the reason for it. Afterwards, you can create plans, mind maps or even lists that help you avoid or cope with these stresses. Step by step!

Take breaks

The human body needs rest, relaxation and tranquility. Stress prevention and management is impossible without breaks. Don’t wait for someone to give you a break or just take a break when it’s less stressful at work. Organize and demand your breaks, you owe it to your hard-working body.

Movement/recovery/relaxation in everyday life

Bring variety to your everyday life. Sportive activities, recreation and relaxation provide the necessary contrast to your everyday work. Those who sit a lot in front of their PC at work should include exercise in their free time. Those who exercise a lot at work should rest and relax at home after work.

Mistakes are normal

Nobody’s perfect, and you don’t have to be that too. Don’t let yourself be stressed by mistakes and lower your perfectionism – your body will thank you.