Stress and the human body

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Stress and the human body

  1. 1. STRESS Main Learning Objectives: • To understand what STRESS is all about and how it affects your BODY • To appreciate the IMPORTANCE of Stress both to self and others.
  2. 2. What is STRESS? Stress is the emotional and physical strain caused by our response to pressure from the outside world.
  3. 3. Definition of STRESS by HSE 'The adverse reaction people have to excessive pressure or other types of demand placed on them.' - HSE
  4. 4. WORRY is STRESS
  5. 5. The EXPERIENCE of Stress • Regardless of age and gender, STRESS is present from the day we are born • Regardless of time, place and circumstances, STRESS can strike anyone in any type of occupation BUT STRESS is manageable.
  6. 6. Positive Stress Positive stress adds anticipation and excitement to life, and we all thrive under a certain amount of stress.
  7. 7. PRESSURE Pressure is part and parcel of all work and helps to keep us motivated. But excessive pressure can lead to stress, which undermines performance, is costly to employers and can make people ill.
  8. 8. STRESSORS affecting QOL
  9. 9. STRESSORS and the BODY
  10. 10. Physical and Physiological Reactions to STRESSORS Two of the Body’s Systems are involved: 1. Autonomic Nervous System 2. Endocrine System
  11. 11. HOW does the Body react when faced with a THREAT? • Your heart speeds up • Blood flow to your brain and muscles increases up to 400 percent • Your digestion stops (so it doesn't use up energy that's needed elsewhere) • Your muscle tension increases • You breathe faster, to bring more oxygen to your muscles
  12. 12. “Fight or Flight” Response This biological stress response is meant to protect and support us. It’s what helped our stone age ancestors survive the life-or- death situations they commonly faced. But in the modern world, most of the stress we feel is in response to psychological rather than physical threats.
  13. 13. “Fight or Flight” Response The “fight-or-flight” stress response involves a cascade of biological changes that prepare us for emergency action. When danger is sensed, a small part of the brain called the hypothalamus sets off a chemical alarm. The sympathetic nervous system responds by releasing a flood of stress hormones, including adrenaline, norepinephrine, and cortisol. These stress hormones race through the bloodstream, readying us to either flee the scene or battle it out.
  14. 14. “Fight or Flight” Response • Heart rate and blood flow to the large muscles increase so we can run faster and fight harder. Blood vessels under the skin constrict to prevent blood loss in case of injury, pupils dilate so we can see better, and our blood sugar ramps up, giving us an energy boost and speeding up reaction time. • At the same time, body processes not essential to immediate survival are suppressed. The digestive and reproductive systems slow down, growth hormones are switched off, and the immune response is inhibited.
  15. 15. MENTAL Symptoms of STRESS • Tension • Irritability • Inability to concentrate • Feeling excessively tired • Trouble sleeping
  16. 16. PHYSICAL Symptoms of STRESS • Dry mouth • A pounding heart • Difficulty breathing • Stomach upset • Frequent urination • Sweating palms • Tight muscles that may cause pain and trembling
  17. 17. Stress related Disorders/Diseases • Stress can cause chronic fatigue, digestive upsets, headaches, and back pain • Stress can affect the blood cells that help you fight off infection, so you are more likely to get colds and other diseases • Constant stress can increase blood pressure and can increase the risk for stroke • Stress can increase the danger of heart attacks • Stress can make an asthma attack worse • Stress triggers behaviours that contribute to death and disability, such as smoking, alcoholism, drug abuse, and overeating • Stress can lead to diminished sexual desire and an inability to achieve orgasm • Stress makes it harder to take other steps to improve health, such as giving up smoking or making changes in diet.
  18. 18. Why tackle work related Stress? 1. To reduce sickness absence 2. To benefit your business
  19. 19. The Positive Effects of Tackling Stress • Employee commitment to work • Staff performance and productivity • Staff turnover or intention to leave • Staff recruitment and retention • Customer satisfaction • Organisational image and reputation.
  20. 20. Use STRESS to your advantage One can use it as an impetus to achieve success. If approached positively, stress can help us evolve as a person by letting go of unwanted thoughts and principle in our life. Very often, at various crossroads of life, stress may remind you of the transitory nature of your experiences, and may prod you to look for the true happiness of life.

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