General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS) is the process of how your body responds to stress. The best way to understand GAS is to understand the different stages of stress and how our body responds to each. It occurs in three stages, and each stage has its own characteristics.
Stages OF General Adaptation Syndrome
During the three stages of GAS, your body undergoes certain physiological changes. These changes can have a long-term negative effect. The three stages are:
Alarm Reaction Stage
This is the first stage of GAS. In this stage, your body sends a distress signal to your brain. In response, the brain releases the hormones adrenaline and glucocorticoids causing a ‘fight or flight response of the body. This ‘fight or flight mode gives you a burst of energy and helps you protect yourself in the most dangerous and stressful conditions. During this stage your body exhibits
- elevated heart rate
- rise in the blood pressure.
- dilated pupils
- flushed skin
- heightened senses
When in this stage your body tries to oppose the changes that occurred during the reaction stage. It involves the parasympathetic nervous system of your body. It occurs once the stress is over. The production of the hormones adrenaline and cortisol is reduced. However, the body stays in an alert mode to easily switch back to the reaction stage if the stressor persists. In this stage, your body only tries to recover from the shock it received in the alarm reaction stage. The body may show
- poor concentration
When your body has been through a prolonged period of stress you experience the exhaustion stage. Now if the stressor persists your body is too tired to fight it out. This is the most dangerous stage as your body is defenseless and prone to health issues. Your body might show
Any kind of stress, physical or emotional, can trigger General Adaptative Syndrome. Some of these are
- Losing a loved one
- Getting fired from your job
- Going through a breakup
- A demanding job
- Exposure to extreme temperature conditions
- An accident
- An injury
Managing The General Adaptation Syndrome
At some point or other, you all undergo stress. You need to learn and manage prolonged stress so that your body does not reach the exhaustion stage. It is in this stage that your body immunity is low and you are vulnerable to developing high blood pressure, heart diseases, or stroke.
There are several ways to manage stress, some of these are:
Identify your stress factor: The first and foremost thing is the identity of is the reason for your stress, job, relationship, memory, or travel.
Write down your feelings: This technique to maintaining a journal is often overlooked. However, it is one of the most effective methods of coming to terms with your stressors and coping with them.
Eating a balanced meal: A healthy meal can help you fight the stress factors while on the other hand, an unhealthy meal leaves you unequipped to handle the stressful conditions.
Exercise: A regular routine of exercise helps to lower stress levels and helps you to feel rejuvenated.
Breathing exercises: When in a stressful condition taking deep breaths helps you to relax and cope faster.
Meditation: Daily practice of mindful meditation helps to relax not just the mind but also your mind thus enabling you to keep stress at bay.
A Word from H2FCare
You all are different individuals with different coping mechanisms but, all go through stress at some point in life. Take out time to understand your body and prepare it, so never reach the exhaustion stage.