Stress: Causes, Effects and Treatment

What is Stress?

Stress can be defined as a physical response to anything that poses a threat to the body. This response normally takes place when the body senses danger. The body usually reacts to danger through a process known as “fight or flight.” While stress usually occurs in dangerous or high risk situations, stress can also be positive. Positive stress can be seen as a motivational tool that can help the body perform better under stress, increase concentration and increase alertness.While some stress may have positive effects on the body, majority of stress has negative effects on the body.

Causes of Stress

There are four causes of stress.

1) Environmental Stress – Response from things around you. Noise, crowds, pressure from work and family. 2) Survival Stress – Common response to danger. Fear of physical harm. Triggers the “fight or flight” response. 3) Fatigue & Being Overworked – Builds up over a long period time. Caused by working too hard or too much at work or at school. Lack of time management can also cause this type of stress. Lack of rest or relaxation. 4) Internal Stress – One of the most important types of stress. Caused by people making themselves stressed. Worrying about things that we can’t control or putting ourselves in stressful situations.

Effects of Stress

Stress causes the nervous system to release stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. The release of these hormones causes the heart to beat faster, tightening of the muscles, and an increase in stamina. Stress also the body cognitively, emotionally, physically and behaviorally.

Cognitive – memory problems, inability to concentrate, anxious thoughts, and constant worrying

Emotional – moodiness, irritability, feeling overwhelmed, and sense of loneliness

Physical – aches, nausea, chest pain, and loss of sex drive

Behaviorally- Eating more/less, sleeping too much/too little, isolating yourself from others, and neglecting your responsibilities.


There are several treatment techniques that be used to combat stress. These techniques can not only get rid of stress, but relax the mind as well as the body.

Relaxing the mind

Writing- Writing for 10-15 minutes each day is known to reduce stress. Writing about the things that cause your stress can greatly reduce the effects of stress on the body.

Show your feelings – Crying, laughing, talking and expressing anger can reduce stress.

Get a hobby – arts and crafts, gardening, taking care of pets, etc. are great hobbies that reduce stress.

Meditation – Meditation helps you focus on the present and not on things that may be contributing to your stress.

Relaxing the body

Exercise – Exercising regularly is one of the best ways to reduce stress. Walking, household chores, stretching and doing yoga can help relieve stress


“Stress Management – Ways to Relieve Stress” Stress Management Center Web MD.

“Understanding and Dealing with Stress” Mountain State Centers for Independent Living.

“Understanding Stress: Symptoms, Signs, Causes, and Effects”

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