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People who live in a state of stress and tension run significant risks of destructive body changes as well as emotional disturbances that may produce profound changes in behaviour.
            Stress implies a physical or emotional exertion or intense effort beyond the normal or usual. Tension is a related phenomenon that reflects nervous anxiety and the body’s reaction to stress.
            Stress is a source of anxiety, tension, apprehension, worry and fear when a person is unable to adapt or adjust successfully to the threatening emotional situation. Emotional reactions due to stress may aggravate pre-existing health problems or they may produce new ones such as peptic ulcers, ulcerative colitis, migraine headaches, asthmatic attacks, heart disease or other disorders regarding love and sex.

Adaptation to Stress

            The body has definite ways of reaching to stressful situations.
            Hans Selye, a leading modern exponent of the significance of stress and body adjustments to this phenomenon, postulates that the body is able to increase its capacities to withstand pressures or strains to a considerable extent. According to Selye, the body meets streets by the discharge of certain chemicals from the adrenal glands. These chemicals, known as corticotrophins, appear to affect virtually every part of the body. Tissue metabolism is altered, blood sugar levels may change, blood capillaries may become more permeable, alterations may take place in the digestive tract, resistance to inflammation may be increased and still other changes may occur.
            If these physiologic reactions of the body are successful in meeting the stress or strain that occurs, then adaptation to the distressing external or internal forces serves to protect the body against damage. When the body changes are unable to increase the capacity of the tissues of the body to withstand stress, individual tissues may be damaged to such a point that human health is impaired.
            It is impossible to live without stress at some level of intensity. This is particularly true of the ambitious person such as the business executive, the aggressive go-getter, or anyone else in whom ambition is coupled with drive and energy. When the body cannot successfully adapt to the fatigue and body changes that may result from stressful situation, injury to health may occur.

The Significance of Tension and Anxiety

            Tension and anxiety are symptoms that a person is under stress. Anxiety is a signal of emotional disturbance and difficulty even though it may be of unconscious origin. Tension and anxiety in themselves do not indicate the nature of the problem other than that it is emotional in origin.
            Anxiety develops only in the presence of conflict which centers around dissatisfaction, frustration, hostility, aggression and other forces of like nature.
            The total personality of the individual suffering from tension and anxiety must be examined as well as the environmental circumstances under which he functions. Some individuals have personalities that are more apt to be involved in conflicts than is true of other people. Sometimes this is because of immaturity; at other times it may be consequence of driving ambition coupled with frustrations that may be arise because of a lack of professional education or other advantages that might enable a person to achieve success in chosen fields.

Mild Anxiety Is Beneficial

            One must not assume that society should provide situations in which there is no stress but only complete security and tranquility. In the first place, it is impossible to achieve such an emotional environment. Even within himself, man can create stressful situations by his interpretations of the emotional environment around him. If he imagines a state of tranquility to be a hazard to him, then a stressful may be created.
            It can be safely assumed that it is impossible to produce a society that creates no anxiety or tension in anyone. Infact, a mild degree of anxiety is probably beneficial to both the individual and to the society in which he lives. This is because when a person in the a mild state of tension he is apt to be in a condition of heightened consciousness in which there is more incentive and desire to accomplish. The person is more apt to have ambition and drive and to accomplish constructive things by hard work, good thinking and strong motivation that a person who is placid, secure, satisfied and, possibly, even indolent in his security and adjustment to his environment. It is only when stress and tension reach high levels and become excessive burdens that they become dangerous to human health in marriage. When the individual cannot make satisfactory adjustments to his problems, further mal-adjustments may occur and the efficiency and productivity of the individual may be impaired.