Bachelors in biology students learn the biological effects of stress on the body

William Woods Undergraduate

Strategies for managing stress

In a medical or biological context, stress is defined as a physical, mental, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension.

In short-term situations, stress can be beneficial to your health, as your body releases hormones that increase your heart and breathing rates and ready your muscles to respond to a potentially threatening situation. It is a survival tactic. However, it is when your stress response continues to fire and stress levels stay elevated far longer than necessary that stress can take a toll on your health.

Many people are aware that chronic stress can have serious emotional and behavioral effects. However, lesser known are the biological effects it can have on the body.

Bachelors in biology students, especially those involved in the pre-medicine concentration at William Woods University, will take courses in human anatomy and physiology to deepen their knowledge of how the body works and how various external and internal factors, such as stress, can affect our biological well-being.

Apart from the brain and nervous system, chronic stress can affect our muscles and joints, heart, stomach, pancreas, intestines, and reproductive system. It can cause headaches, stomach aches, heartburn, insomnia, increased depression, high blood sugar, weakened immune system which makes you more susceptible to illness or disease, and it can put you at risk of irritable bowel syndrome, high blood pressure, stroke or heart attack, diabetes, and other medical conditions.

Some warning signs of chronic stress to look out for include:

  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Headaches
  • Depression
  • Insomnia

Strategies for managing stress
William Woods University recently hosted an interactive workshop to teach students various strategies for managing stress. The workshop consisted of various stations including: time management, Yoga Club, meditation, exercise, gaming and more, with experts established at each station to discuss the effectiveness of that stress management strategy.

Bachelors in biology students learn the biological effects of stress on the body

The American Psychological Association (APA) suggests practicing relaxation and breathing strategies, such as meditation, as a helpful way of reducing stress. “Relaxation techniques have been shown to effectively reduce muscle tension, decrease the incidence of certain stress-related disorders, such as headache, and increase a sense of well-being.”

According to medical professional, Joel Kahn, MD, in an interview with INSIDER, other strategies for coping with stress include: socializing with friends, eating a healthy diet, exercising, and getting enough sleep.

Whether you are facing the stress of preparing for final exams next month, feeling the weight of the job search or applying to internships, or are simply overwhelmed by stress in some other area of your life, either personal or academic, the above are helpful tactics that every student should take advantage of when experiencing deep levels of stress. In addition, if you are undergoing extreme stress and would benefit from speaking with a professional, William Woods University offers counseling and health services to all traditional full-time students.

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