The cyberpunk genre and aesthetic is having their renaissance, and the amount of media and content produced within the general “cyberpunk” borders are growing by the minute. The main reason for such a surge in popularity is the fact that the surrounding world is becoming more dystopian per se – like, street monitoring cameras that were just imaginative in the 80s are common today. Furthermore, everyone now carries personal handheld devices with almost unlimited functionality, including tracking all your personal data – how dystopian is that!
On the good side of our cyberpunk development, smartphones can be used to tinker with your physical and mental health as well, including stress measuring. Yes, let’s elaborate on the common problem of modern post-industrial man – stress. Your phone may already know how to measure stress levels with the help of an app like the Welltory – stress check app, in other words – the app that measures stress. Considering the gnarly long-term effects of stress exposure, it is crucial to conduct regular health measurements of the level of stress. And know how to deal with stress and anxiety in general and how to deal with stress at work in particular.
How to Measure Stress with the Help of a Smartphone?
Your best bet is to use professional health assessment technologies available within a certified health tracker app. Your heart rate measurement and blood pressure numbers are the objective basis for stress evaluation. When it’s thoroughly analyzed, and upon the results, health recommendations are given. However, an app for stress – like Welltory, for example – mostly does the brainy job of statistical calculations and following conclusions. It is possible for health apps to smartphone-measure your heart rate and blood pressure with the help of a camera and sophisticated photoplethysmography technology. Still, the numbers gathered this way are far from being precise and are only helpful to grasp a concept of the tech. Logically, you will also need specific hardware to collect your somatic data.
Understanding the Stress
It is essential to understand the mechanism of stress and its biological role. Stress is, in fact, an evolutionary adaptation designed to help the organism to withstand rapidly changing surroundings and to survive in potentially dangerous situations. Obviously, those ancestors who did this best could pass on their successful genes, and others faded away with time.
Sympathetic nervous system
The stress is mediated by the balance of two antagonistic branches of the autonomic nervous system: the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. The sympathetic nervous system regulates “fight or flight” reactions in emergencies – sympathetic impulses make your heartbeats and inhales more frequently and redirect the bloodstream into organs functional right now – brain, heart, lungs, and muscles. Additionally, the sympathetic branch can temporarily block unnecessary impulsion, which explains why people often don’t notice their wounds or traumas until they have already escaped the danger.
Parasympathetic nervous system
On the other hand, the parasympathetic nervous system regulates the «rest and digest» pattern, which helps the body to regenerate and accumulate energy. As a result, heartbeats and breathing are slower, and blood goes to the digestive tract, as well as nervous impulses responsible for peristalsis and synthesis of enzymes.
The chronic stress problem
Your brain autonomically regulates the balance between systems in every given situation. However, when we need the most, stress defensive reactions tend to malfunction in the one environment they were not designed to work in – modern human society and, generally, civilization.
It is presumably due to the fact of constant overimpulsation – cortical neurological centers cannot handle the unbearable amount of data that is caught by our sensory systems every living moment. Simply speaking, this overload is causing your brain to react incorrectly to the outside factors that should be answered. The constant, biologically useless, and baseless stress that disrupts your daily life is chronic stress – a real problem.
Clinical implications of the chronic stress
Chronic stress per se is not an etiological factor directly causing any nosology but, instead, a risks factor whose presence makes other diseases’ onset more probable. Still, an array of symptoms may indicate the constant stress you are experiencing – check them out.
Physical (somatic) signs
First of all, constant stress changes for the worse your heart rate and blood pressure. Stress directly induces tachycardia (increased heart rate) and hypertension (increased blood pressure). At the same time, the neural overload – neural exhaustion – may be the cause of bradycardia and hypotension, though this is a more complicated topic. Additionally, remember the bloodstream stuff several paragraphs above? Stress basically makes your blood abandon quite a lot of systems that are presumably useless in acute dangerous situations – including systems such as digestive, urinary, reproductive, and immune. Their chronic hypoxia makes them dysfunctional and leads to respective somatic problems and increased susceptibility to diseases and neoplasms.
Mental and emotional signs
Constant neural overload and arising somatic problems lead, in turn, to psychiatric conditions such as anxiety and depression, irritability, and memory concentration problems. The overstressed person is also prone to mood swings. They behave compulsively and have trouble thinking when searching for a rational solution to any given task. Due to the reproductive system dysfunction, low sex drive is also common, which creates additional strain should the person be in a relationship and adds another problem to the pile. It is simply a circulus vicious – vicious circle of pathophysiology.
This topic is surprisingly complicated, and no definite answer can be given. There are various stress-reducing methods and advice, but there is no guarantee each one will be effective for you. As such, it is best to try them all.
- Physical exercise may help you contain your “stress” energy and give the muscles the work they have been prepared for;
- Relaxing techniques such as yoga can help you relieve your brain of overimpulsation for it to be able to control stress properly.
- Thorough meditations and reflections of the past may train your brain on how to respond to stress-inducing situations in the future.
Additionally, you may try your best to avoid the situations that are stressful for you consciously. This will work, but this advice is highly debatable, if not to say the least, since many contemporary ethics revolve around the “comfort zone” and the importance of leaving it instead of choosing the easy way. As such, long-term avoidance of the problem instead of dealing with it is undoubtedly a recipe for disaster.