What is Psychological Stress ?


Stress is both Physical and Psychological.

What is physical stress and what is psychological stress?

Physical stress arises as a result of our body response to physical stressor like work, noise, an illness, exercise etc while psychological effects of stress may occurs when our mind perceives an inability to cope with a "challenge" of some kind.

Very Often, the physiological and psychological reactions to stress will tend to interact and react with one another to produce additional stress.

Basically, there are 5 different components of psychological stress and these include:

1. Pressure

This is a common complaint In today’s busy lifestyle where we are often faced with an internal or external demand to complete a job, task or activity within a limited time frame.

2. Frustration:

When we can’t complete or accomplish a task assigned to us or when we can’t get what we wanted, frustration sets in.

3. Conflict

Arises when we have to make a decision or choice between 2 alternatives

4. Threat

When you felt the presence of an impending danger, you felt threaten

5. Loss

Especially for people who have been traumatized, stress may appear in the form of loss to these people. They often feel they have lost their safety, their hope for the future, and a sense of control over their own lives. They may hesitate to trust others and sense that their own identity and personal power has been diminished.

More often than not, a given situation often triggers several forms of psychological stress at once and you will tend to experience psychological stress in more than one form. For example, when you are given a task to perform, you may be faced with the pressure to complete it in a short period of time but you may also feel the threat of what’s going to happen to you should you not be able to accomplish the given task in time. This may in turn lead to frustration.

Psychological stress also usually goes hand in hand with physical stress. If you are sick, you are unable to do things you normally can do and this may cause you to experience a feeling of frustration.

Likewise, prolonged psychological stress can cause physical changes in our body like chronic muscle tension, which in turn can lead to headaches or other physical problems. Under the influence of prolonged psychological stress, these physical effects may continue for a sustained period of time causing imbalance of functioning in the body that in turn can lower your body's natural defenses and make you more vulnerable to disease.

The psychological symptoms of stress present themselves in many different forms.

The following are signs and symptoms of psychological stress that you should watch for. Keep in mind that not everyone experiences the same symptoms, and it is not uncommon for a person to only begin exhibiting symptoms months or even years following the event.

Emotional symptoms

• Anger
• Anxiety
• Compulsive and/or obsessive behaviors
• Depression, despair and a feeling of hopelessness
• Emotionally numb
• Feeling a loss of control
• Feelings of fear
• Irritability and resentment
• Isolates oneself from regular relationships and routines.

Cognitive symptoms

• Feeling distracted
• Increasing lack of concentration
• Indecisive

Physical symptoms

• Chronic pain that is unexplained
• Increase or decrease in eating difficulties
• Lack of energy
• Sexual dysfunction
• Trouble sleeping

For more details on, check out the section on “Types of stress”