Stress happens when we find ourselves in a situation that we struggle to cope with, the pressure of these situations causes our bodies to react mentally and physical. These changes to our bodies trigger our fight or flight response. A survival response that releases hormones in the body that are crucial for us to survive. Stress can present itself mentally and physically. The body can suffer from shortness of breath leading to anxiety or panic attacks. Other symptom's could appear in the form of headaches, stomach upset, tension in the muscles, sleep disturbances, sweating and loss of appetite. Normally once the situation that raised our stress levels has passed our hormone levels will return to normal and we will continue with life as normal. However if we find ourselves constantly under stress then our hormone levels will remain high and our bodies will continue to show signs of stress. This is when we need to take control as it begins to become unhealthy stress.
If a person is able to recognise the triggers of stress they would be able to learn how best to manage it. This is in all cases even when experiencing positive stress we still need to be able to manage it. Stress management training would be beneficial in giving a deeper insight into what stress is, what causes it, the triggers, the signs and symptoms of stress and how to deal with them. Learning techniques such as breathing and relaxation exercises and practising them regularly will help to bring stress levels down. They can be used any time, in the morning, on a lunch break, at night and before, during and after any stressful events a person may encounter.
Stress is often thought of as negative but it is important to remember that stress can also be a good thing. There are a number of factors where stress can be positive. Positive stress (eustress) can increase our motivation, it is only short term, it is within our ability to cope, it can improve and enhance our performance and although we may feel nervous it can also make us feel extremely excited about something (Mills, Reiss, Dombeck, 2008). A prime example is studying for an exam, some people start studying early, the stress motivates them to get an early start and try to learn as much as possible before the exam. Others wait until the last minute and then cram as some people work better under pressure. However in both cases stress is a key motivator as long as this is kept under control and does not develop into unhealthy stress. If it begins to become unhealthy it is important to recognise this and manage this in a healthy way. Stress can also be a positive factor in physical performance (Knowlton, 2015) . The release of adrenaline speeds up the heart rate and metabolism, because of this release of adrenaline our reactions and reflexes will increase (fight or flight). In situations such as sporting events this release of adrenaline can be used to increase speed and fight tiredness. Although as stated before positive stress should be short term and if it continues could cause long lasting affects on the body. There is a long list of things that we consider to be stressful; moving house, getting married, having a child, changing jobs, but once done these things are considered as exciting positive life changes. All these things are stressful at the time but it is not unhealthy stress and is normally well within our ability to cope.
So if a person can recognise the triggers that cause stress and have the correct knowledge then they can learn how to manage stress on a day to day basis reducing negative stress and increasing positive stress. Stress is more often that not seen as a negative thing however stress in some circumstances can be a positive thing and if recognised can help people to achieve goals, increase their motivation and manage certain situations more successfully.