Stress: Background

Stress is really nothing but pressure or tension. In itself, stress is not unhealthy. You even need a certain amount of tension to perform and function properly. A good example of this is the stress you feel before an exam, job interview, presentation or performance. This tension allows you to react alertly and gives you a certain degree of concentration.

What do you notice?

Stress puts your body in a certain state of preparedness. To respond alertly, an extra amount of adrenaline is produced. In such situations, you may notice the following:

  • Your blood pressure and your heart rate rise;
  • Your breathing becomes faster and shallower;
  • Your muscles feel tense;
  • Your throat seems to be closed and your voice is getting higher;
  • Your hands are getting colder and your face looks paler;
  • At the same time you are warm and sweat breaks out.

The blood supplies as much oxygen and energy as possible to your muscles, heart and brain to be able to respond alertly and as quickly as possible. Once the event is over, in normal circumstances the felt pressure will drop again and the body will recover.

Work versus Private

A day of hard work is healthy in itself. You feel tired but satisfied. But a prolonged and frequent voltage causes a (too high) load. Moreover, stress does not only have to be caused by the work situation. You can also get quite tense due to private circumstances. Think of the enormous burden on informal care. Work stress and excessive stress in your private life influence each other. Private stress can cause you to perform worse at work. Stress is one of the major causes of absenteeism.

Signal function

However, if the stress lasts a long time, is quite intense and occurs frequently in succession, the body will at some point no longer be able to recover sufficiently. Then tension complaints arise. These complaints have a clear signaling function. Take these stress signals seriously! The sooner you recognize these signals and eliminate their causes, the smaller the chance that you will experience long-term, unhealthy stress or end up in a burnout.