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Discuss how physical and mental stress can have good/ bad effects on the body

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Introduction

Both physical and mental stress impose a degree of strain on the body; however stress can be perceived as either facilitative or debilitative for health. ?Stress arises when individuals perceive that they cannot adequately cope with the demands being made on them or with threats to their well-being.? Lazarus, R.S. (1966). According to McEwen, Sterling and Eyer, the human body has biological systems that are associated with managing and adapting to stress. These systems can be perilous to health when their activity is prolonged for longer than they are required. An additional definition of stress based on the assumptions postulated by Bruce S. McEwen can be accepted as: ?any factor, acting internally or externally that makes it difficult to adapt and that induces increased effort on the part of the person to maintain a state of equilibrium,? (Humphrey, 1992) ...read more.

Middle

The reaction involves the hypothalamic-pituitary- adrenal axis in which the release of catecholamines prepares the body to cope with stressful stimuli. Physiological changes induced through stress enable the body to react at peak efficiency. For example, increased cardiac output, blood pressure, ventilation rate and stimulation of glycogenolysis provide an increased flow of oxygenated, glucose rich blood to the brain and skeletal muscles, preparing the body for the means to react to danger. The fight or flight response can be perceived as advantageous for survival whenever a high level of performance is required. However, other forms of stress responses can cause illness to health. The strain induced upon the body by individuals suffering from mental health disorders, such as emotions of anger have been linked to increased blood pressure and greater risk of myocardial infarction, according to Suarez et al. ...read more.

Conclusion

1997). Hence, there is a strong correlation between mental stress and its detrimental influence on the cardiovascular system. In conclusion, this essay addressed some of some of the explanations to the reasons why stress in the form of mental and physical strain can pose both maladaptive and beneficial effects on health. It was discussed that stress in the form of exercise has various advantageous health outcomes, such as reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, enhanced prefrontal cortical blood flow and increase in hippocampal volume to name a few. On the contrary, the negative effects of prolonged mental stress on the body have not gone unnoticed. The rising concerns of obesity, CVD, infectious disease and mental health disorders has led to growing research, the development of which could lead to potentially, new treatments of previously untreatable cases of mental stress. ...read more.

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