Stress. In case you haven't heard it's getting worse for most of us. And if you don't manage it well, it could either kill you or lead to a variety of debilitating illnesses. Got your attention? Good! Didn't mean to scare you, but you MUST read this. It could save your health or even your life.
A feeling of being stressed is the body's reaction to a threat or a perceived threat known as the flight-or-fight response. The greater the threat, the more severe the stress, the more intense the body's preparation in terms of adrenaline levels. When adrenaline is released into the bloodstream, muscles tighten, the heart races and our pupils dilate. A persistent stressor (war or repeated and imminent threats of terrorism are prime examples) forces the body to maintain this level of readiness over a prolonged period which in turn can lead to emotional and physical exhaustion and a number of unpleasant symptoms (see Do I Need Counseling?).
Stress is a relative term that can be measured in terms of mild, moderate, severe, extreme or catastrophic. A severe stressor for most of us could be a relatively moderate one for someone else, for example, someone like a policeman or a Navy Seal who is trained to deal with dangerous situations.
How resistant are you to stress and how well do you manage it? Let's find out. Take the following stress test.
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