Explain the effect of stress on psychological functioning.
The effect of stress on psychological functioning :-
1. Emotional Effects :- Those who suffer from stress are far more likely to experience mood swings, and show erratic behaviour that may alienate them from family and friends. In some cases this can start a vicious circle of decreasing confidence, leading to more serious emotional problems. Some examples are feelings of anxiety and depression, increased physical tension, increased psychological tension and mood swings.
2. Physiological Effects :- When the human body is placed under physical or psychological stress, it increases the production of certain hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones produce marked changes in heart rate, blood pressure levels, metabolism and physical activity. Although, this physical reaction will help us to function more effectively when we are under pressure for short periods of time, it can be extremely damaging to the body in the long-term effects. Examples of physiological effects are release of epinephrine and nor-epinephrine, slowing down of the digestive system, expansion of air passages in the lungs, increased heart rate and constriction of blood vessels.
3. Cognitive Effects :- If pressures due to stress continue, one may suffer from mental overload. This suffering from high level of stress can rapidly cause individuals to lose their ability to make sound decisions. Faulty decisions made at home, in career, or at workplace may lead to arguments, failure, financial loss or even loss of job. Cognitive effects of stress are poor concentration, and reduced short-term memory capacity.
4. Behavioural Effects :- Stress affects our behaviour in the form of eating less nutritional food, increasing intake of stimulants such as caffeine, excessive consumption of cigarettes, alcohol and other drugs such as tranquillisers etc. Tranquillisers can be addictive and have side effects such as loss of concentration, poor coordination, and dizziness. Some of the typical behavioural effects of stress seen are disrupted sleep patterns, increased absenteeism, and reduced work performance.