Reviewed by Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Take the Stress Quiz First! Before reading this FAQ, challenge yourself and
Test your Knowledge!
Q:Stress is usually thought of as a negative experience, but it can be a positive one. True or False?
A:True. Stress in small doses can be beneficial for us in terms of increased energy and mental alertness. This type of stress is considered good. For example, feeling mildly stressed when carrying out a project or assignment often compels us to do a good job, focus better, and work energetically.
Q:It is possible to eliminate stress. True or False?
A:False. Eliminating stress from life is not only impossible, it is unrealistic. For people prone to the negative effects of stress, stress management is important for physical and mental well-being.
Q:Chronic stress is constant and persists over time. True or False?
A:True. According to the American Psychological Association, chronic stress is constant and persists over an extended period of time. Chronic stress can become difficult for the body to manage and can be psychologically and physically debilitating.
Q:The hormone known as cortisol helps the body manage stress. True or False?
A:True. Adrenal glands manufacture the hormone cortisol as well as adrenaline, both of which help the body manage responses to stress and convert sugar and fat to energy. Excess cortisol is secreted during times of physical or psychological stress, and the normal pattern of cortisol secretion (with levels highest in the early morning and lowest at night) can be altered.
Q:Physical symptoms of stress may include what?
A:Headache, gastrointestinal disturbances, sleep problems, muscle tension, muscle ache, muscle pain, and fatigue. Common physical signs and symptoms of excess stress can include sleeping problems, gastrointestinal disturbances, muscle tension, muscle aches, muscle pain, fatigue, and headache, including migraines. Emotional and behavioral signs and symptoms can include nervousness, irritability, anxiety, changes in eating habits, loss of energy and enthusiasm, and depression.
Q:Stress is an unnatural reaction. True or False?
A:False. Stress is a natural, normal part of life. It is important to note that the experience of stress varies greatly among the individual. What constitutes overwhelming stress for one person may not be perceived as stress by another.
Q:Chronically stressed people are more likely to do what?
A:More likely to develop addictions. People under chronic stress are more likely to develop addictions and have a greater tendency to engage in unhealthy behaviors such as overeating, smoking cigarettes, and excessive use and abuse of alcohol and drugs.
Q:What are endorphins?
A:Painkillers and neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are messengers that transfer information between nerve cells. Endorphins are neurotransmitters produced by the body to control, suppress, or diminish the perception of pain. Endorphins also trigger a positive feeling in the body, similar to that of morphine. The body's natural pain-control response helps us deal with stress.
Q:A stressed person can stimulate endorphin release by what activity?
A:Exercise. A stressed person can stimulate endorphin release by regular activity and exercise. Studies on the cause/effect relationship between exercise and stress strongly suggest that physical activity helps the brain cope with and respond to stress. In terms of stress management, physical activity as simple as a daily walk is a small but powerful weapon against stress.
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