The definition of general adaptation syndrome is the stages that the body goes through in response to stress and physiological changes. There are three stages to general adaptation syndrome: alarm, resistance, and exhaustion. The more stages your body goes through, the greater risk of long-term negative effects. When there is prolonged stress, this would impact physical and mental health
First, it would initiate the body’s initial response to stress -- fight-or-flight response. This is where the body's sympathetic nervous system (which regulates the function of the heart, stomach, bladder, intestines, and muscles) is activated by the sudden release of hormones which stimulates adrenal glands and trigger the release of certain hormones, e.g adrenaline, noradrenaline
The physical symptoms of this stage include increased heart rate and breathing rate, dilated pupils, trembling, pale/flushed skin etc. Most of the symptoms disappear in the second stage and reappear in the third stage
This is when the body is repairing after the initial shock of stress. When the stressful situation is no longer present, it is said to have overcome stress. However, if a stressful situation continues, the body will not return to normal functioning levels and continue secreting stress hormones, causing heart and blood pressure to remain high.
The symptoms that responded to prolonged stress include disturbances in the immune, digestive, cardiovascular, sleep, and reproductive systems, headache, sleeplessness, depression and poor concentration.
This is when prolonged stress leads to exhaustion, which drains physical and mental resources and the body can no longer cope with stress.
The symptoms in the stage of exhaustion are fatigue and extreme burnout. The effects after exhaustion include a weakened immune system, increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes etc. and mental health disorder, e.g depression, anxiety
All of us have different stressors, whether it is distress or eustress.
Daily stress: This includes pressure at school, at work, at home and in daily life
Sudden change in life: divorce, illness, death
Traumatic experience: Abuse, war
B. Eustress (positive stress)
E.g stress of exam —> some of the students may feel more motivated
There are some stress management skills that can be adapted into daily life in order to control our stress. This includes diaphragmatic breathing, guided imagery, mindfulness
and progressive muscle relaxation