We are all familiar with the word "stress", but there are many myths about it. Some people believe it means an individual is weak and unable to handle things properly. Others think it is an illness. Moreover, stress is an adaptive response. It is the body's reaction to an event that is perceived as emotionally disturbing, disquieting, or threatening. When we perceive such an event, we experience what a stress researcher has called "fight or flight" response (Farrintong).
To prepare for fighting or fleeing, the body increases its heart rate and blood pressure; more blood is pumped out to your heart and muscles and your respiration rate increases. Prolonged stress can cause many disorders, from minor to life threatening. Therefore, stress is divided in to two categories: acute and chronic. Acute stress generally is not very harmful, as long as it does not happen too often and your body has a chance to return to normal. However, it can trigger an abnormal heartbeat and even a heart attack in those with heart disease. Researchers have found that stress activates the body's hormone system, provoking headaches, sleep deprivation and weight loss. Tension may be the first recognizable symptom of stress and is an early sign that the body might not be recovering from acute stress. Muscles are tense, tight and feel "hard" to the touch. A tense mind makes you feel jumpy, irritable, and unable to concentrate. This could be a signal to do something about stress, both for immediate comfort and to prevent the long-term effects of stress. Furthermore, chronic stress can be the result of many instances of acute stress. In people with higher levels of chronic stress, the stress response is longer, contributing to their physical stress. Over time, chronic stress affects the nervous system and the immune system. The body becomes more vulnerable to many illnesses, from colds and minor infections to major diseases such as cancer.