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Psychological and Emotional Aspects of Stress

Contributing to chronic stress and its problems is the fact that your body responds the same way to stressful thoughts and emotions as it does to any other kind of stress. So worrying, imagining or anticipating difficulties, going over past upsets and traumas, holding onto upsetting emotions, and generally dwelling on negative or fearful thoughts add to the stress load on your body. As Dr. Sapolsky pointed out, zebras don’t get ulcers because they don’t ‘stress’ about things. They experience and respond to stress only when a stressful event is actually occurring.

Stress in turn affects your emotional and mental state. The emotions most commonly associated with stress states are fear and anxiety with acute stress; moodiness, irritability and anxiety with stress overdrive; and depression with adrenal fatigue. Recent research has been exploring the direct effects of chronic stress on the areas of the brain and neurotransmitters central to emotion, cognition and memory.

Their findings indicate that prolonged stress enhances emotion in favor of memory and cognition, and actually causes physical changes in the brain. This means that previous stress influences the way you perceive, feel about and react to current stress.state and hormones, including stress hormones.

Your emotional state affects your brain chemistry and activity, which in turn affects your perception of stress. This very complex interrelationship loop of emotions and stress is not yet clearly understood but what is clear is that your emotions influence your experience of stress just as much as stress influences your emotions. Emotions are created by chemical and neural activity in different parts of your brain in response to your perceptions, thoughts and memories, and influenced by your behavior, current emotional state and hormones, including stress hormones. Your emotional state affects your brain chemistry and activity, which in turn affects your perception of stress. This very complex interrelationship loop of emotions and stress is not yet clearly understood but what is clear is that your emotions influence your experience of stress just as much as stress influences your emotions.