Stress and its Effects in Today's World

18 December, 2020
Humans have a tendency to normalize the situations they find themselves involved in. For this reason, it's sometimes difficult to identify the impact that the stressful world has on your health.

A lot is said about stress and the devastating impact it can have on your health. You tend to think of a stressed person as someone who’s overstretched, agitated, and always in a rush. However, data shows that many people live in a state of continuous stress they’re totally unaware of. This is because, unfortunately, we live in a world that’s ruled by the clock. Indeed, stress and its effects are an unavoidable part of modern life.

Just because you’ve created a way of life that suits you and those around you doesn’t mean you’ll be stress-free. Unfortunately, you’re experiencing stress every day, which then becomes part of your daily routine.

This article talks about the factors that make the world so stressful. This way, you’ll be able to recognize them and know how to act when they occur. Your life may seem perfectly normal to you. However, you might have a tendency to normalize things in your life that are, in fact, anything but normal. This means that you remain unaware of their possible consequences. Indeed, you might be very slowly reaching your breaking point, where you’ll eventually explode and finally take some action.

A woman trying to cope with stress in today's world.

Chemical reactions in your brain

Mild stress levels help improve your cognitive abilities (eustress). Adrenaline is released and activates nerve pathways, which allows you to focus and concentrate better. It’s good stress. Indeed, everyone’s life has a minimum level of stress.

But if you experience intense, frequent, or prolonged stress, you cross the line where good stress turns into bad.

When this happens, the same chemical mix that helps you focus better makes you anxious and possibly even panic. In these types of situations where you need to be alert, your body releases a suitable and necessary amount of adrenaline.

However, if the amount of released adrenaline increases, your body reacts badly. It increases the flow of testosterone, which puts your body in a state of nervous anticipation. Furthermore, if you’re a woman, oxytocin makes an appearance, prompting you to try and protect those around you. Therefore, this adds another element of stress to the situation.

In addition, cortisol that’s released to counteract the excess of adrenalin can be toxic for the hippocampus. All of this can result in a kind of domino effect that might cause chronic health problems. Such illnesses can range from autoimmune disorders to diabetes. Furthermore, when you’re immersed in high stress levels, you find it difficult to connect with others in a healthy way.

The vagus nerve

When you’re subjected to high stress levels over a period of time, your sympathetic nervous system works at full capacity. People around you can be very helpful at these times in relieving your stress.

However, in this stressful world you’re living in, you sometimes have to deal with things like competitiveness, for example. They can make you lose your protective support system against stress.

This support is received when inhibitory signals pass through your vagus nerve to your sympathetic nervous system. Thus, when you’re with people you feel safe with, you don’t experience a continuous state of high excitation.

You’re living in a culture that’s constantly undermining your ways of connecting. Furthermore, it isn’t always easy for you to change your way of life. For this reason, you really need to find a way to balance your response to excess stress.

Recognizing the causes of stress and its effects

There are so many factors in this stressful world that leave you at the mercy of this particular chemical cocktail. Whilst some reasons are quite evident, others aren’t because you might not even associate them with stress.

The most easily recognized stressors are those linked to work. Studies show that more than 70 percent of the population suffer from stress in the workplace. Another stressor that ranks highly is personal appearance. Although this might seem to be quite a superficial factor, in reality, it isn’t. This is because your physical appearance is directly associated with your self-confidence and self-esteem.

Another factor is the social stress you’re suffering from on a daily basis, which is something you might not even be aware of. Indeed, you’re living in a stressful world full of ridiculous political arguments and constant media bombardment. Consequently, when you try to understand a world that’s often totally inexplicable, your stress levels are inevitably going to be strongly affected.

A man trying to cope with stress in today's world.

Major circumstances that cause stress and its effects

As well as all of the above, sooner or later, you’ll come up against events that will challenge your ability to face stress. A major stressor is the loss of a loved one. Dependent on the circumstances, this type of event can also lead to post-traumatic stress disorder.

Indeed, the loss of a loved one in tragic circumstances can leave you totally shell-shocked, and having to face a new reality. Furthermore, when you begin to understand that these things happen and will continue to happen, this may also make you stressed. In fact, just anticipating these types of events can cause stress.

In a similar way, losing a job and suffering financial worries, or even simply living in a society like today’s, can cause stress. You might be worried about not being able to pay your bills or not having contributed enough to get a pension, which makes you stressed and affects your health.

Identify the causes of stress and its effects and take action

What for some people are calming experiences or sources of escape can be a nightmare for others. Take family reunions, for example. Indeed, stress is absolutely subjective and specific to each individual’s personality.

As an example, some people really enjoy going shopping. But for others, it causes them stress due to over-stimulation. Thus, if you’re in a relationship, it’s really important to understand this and not demand that your partner do something that might make them stressed.

Undoubtedly, whether or not you’ve identified your stressors, it’s advisable to follow some kind of stress reduction or prevention program. There are many simple ways to fight it. These can range from practicing meditation to exercising regularly.

However, not all methods work for everyone. Therefore, it’s important to find the one that works for you. There’s no denying that it’s a stressful world. But it’s the world we live in, and it’s easier to try and take care of it than change it.

  • Miller, Lyle H., Smith, Alma Dell y Rothstein, L. (1993). The stress solution: an action plan to manage the stress in your life.
  • Banks, A. (2019). Counteracting the Impact of a Stressful World. Psychology Today
  • Jackson, M. (2014). The stress of life: a modern complaint?. The Lancet Journal.
  • The American Psychological Association (2010). Stress in American Findings.
  • Annu Rev Clin Psychol (2005). Stress and Health: Psychological, Behavioral, and Biological Determinants. US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health Search.