Environmental Stress in Psychology - How Environmental Stressors Affect Our Health?

In psychology, environmental stress is defined as emotional, behavioral, cognitive, and negative subjective psychological responses to environmental stimuli. 
Environmental stressors are stimuli and factors in our environment that cause stress and strain. Some common environmental stressors are climate change, anthropogenic, ergonomic, biological, chemical stressors, etc. 
In environmental psychology, most research focuses on how various environmental stimuli and stressors cause psychological consequences and how they affect our physical and mental health.
Let's explore what environmental stress is in psychology and how environmental stressors affect our health.

Environmental Stress in Psychology: How Environmental Stressors Affect Our Physical and Mental Health

Environmental Stress in Psychology
Environmental Stress in Psychology

What is Environmental Psychology?

Environmental psychology is an intrinsic branch of psychology, arising from data, information, facts, and theories arising from many other fields of science such as: social psychology, political science, architecture, anthropology, ethics, and others.

Some refer to environmental psychology as a specialized branch of psychology, interested in studying the relationships between behavior and the environmental content in which this behavior occurs, and includes behavior, external events, and implicit events.

What is Environmental Stress in Psychology?

Stress is defined as a condition, variable, or circumstance, which hinders the normal functioning of a person. 
Stress is a multi-faceted process that occurs in reaction to events or situations. In aviation, the source of stress that comes from the environment is known as environmental stress

An interesting feature of stress is the wide range of physical and psychological reactions that occur to different people for the same phenomenon. 
Trends in pressure are greatly influenced by human factors, for example, population growth increases the demand for housing, energy production, and food, etc. 
Indicators of environmental pressure reflect the impact of human activities on the environment and they lead to the appearance of environmental problems.

 In general, environmental stress psychology focuses on how people’s mental wellness responds to physical, biological, and chemical stressors. These stress factors can be exposed to natural disasters, pollution, climate change, electromagnetic radiation, or noise. 

Environmental stress causes both short-term and long-term health effects on the body and mind. The response of the body ranges from a short-term fight-or-flight response to long-term changes to our health. 
There are many sources of stress in life, some are overt and some less obvious. If you’re trying to live a healthy life, you need to know all the inputs, including how your environment affects you. 
Here, we will discuss environmental stress and its effects on the body and mind.

How the Body Responds to Stress

We face hundreds of environmental stressors daily. When we face stressor, our body reacts in predictable ways. If it is an immediate threat – we spot a venomous snake –our body prepares itself via what scientists call the fight-or-flight response. 
This subtle stress response can be even more harmful to our health than acute threats because it comes without fanfare. 
We may experience an unpleasant feeling of anxiety or may think nothing much about the chemical factory at the end of our street, but these constant stressors have serious impacts on our health, longevity, and mental wellness. 
Because the stressor is constant, we may not realize the long-term effects and the importance of removing it from our lives.

Short-Term Exposure to Stress

Short-term exposure to stress can affect our emotions, reduce our problem-solving ability, and cause other short-term psychological disturbances. 
During a fight-or-flight response, our body releases a series of catecholamine stress hormones. These hormones cause our body to react in several ways: our breath rate increases, our stomach gets nervous, our heart races, our hands shake and our palms get sweaty. 
If the threat is severe enough, we might even lose control of our bowels. In contradictory form, contact with some short-term stressors - event stressors also - can help the body in a strong immune system. 
In these accelerated, sudden hazards, the body redirects "killer T-cells" to the skin, where they promote the immune response. 
The immune system regularly gives negative feedback for short-term acute stress. The exception is when conditions that triggered the fight-or-flight response of the body become regular occurrences, such as domestic violence.

Long-Term Exposure to Stress

Long-term exposure to stress such as environmental stressor can cause blood sugar and depress the immune system and may affect our heart, metabolism, and mental health. 
Some of these are exposed like legacy chemicals that accumulate in people’s bodies because they are omnipresent throughout the world. 
Chronic stress reduces the ability of the body to fight infection and keeps the normal process of cell replacement. They can even change our DNA, shortening telomeres that protect against cell damage.  
Regular contact with stress causes the body to produce cytokines, which reduces the immune response. 
Cytokine production contributes to a high chance of autoimmune disease, allergic, and critical illness. 
Constant contact with stress can lead to mental illness, including anxiety, depression, and schizophrenia. 
Other long-term exposures are very unique which belong to an individual’s location, like living next to a railroad track or surviving a natural. 

What to Do about Environmental Stressors?

environmental stressors
How to reduce environmental stress

Environmental Stress Management Tips

While we may not be able to eliminate certain environmental stressors, most people can reduce their exposure to them. Here are a few ways to reduce the impact of different types of environmental stresses we face.

Climate stressors: We can counter climate stress by taking positive action to make a difference, staying prepared for weather events by keeping emergency supplies on hand, like water, candles, canned food, a gas camp stove, and a first aid kit, reducing our footprint, eating less meat, as the meat has a very high energy footprint, and counting how much energy we use.

Major disturbance stressors: Research has shown that spending time in nature, meditation, exercise, and good nutrition can have profound impacts on our resilience in recovering from a major disturbance. 
The survivors of natural disasters or other painful situations give time to recover themselves, seek external help and join self-care.

Anthropogenic stressors: Research indicates that spending time in nature and including more nature in our life – even houseplants or nature artwork in our home and office – can reduce our stress. 
We should create spaces and times where and when we can enjoy complete quietude, reclaiming our power over the noisy world. 
If we cannot move away from a noisy highway or railroad, we should get white noise generators or small fountains that play the sounds of nature while we rest.

Ergonomic stressors: Chiropractors can do wonders for ergonomic stressors, but it is best to be proactive rather than reactive, minimizing stressors where possible. 
We should see whether our company might improve the workplace environment. Also, we should take time in our workday to stretch, or try a standing desk and meditate during our 15-minute break, closing our eyes and imagining ourselves in a beautiful natural setting with a smile on our face.

Energetic stressors: We should take a vacation from technology – or take regular breaks from it and turn off our phone at least a couple of hours before bedtime or, at a minimum and turn down the light brightness. 
In cases where we cannot move away from energetic stressors, we should engage in regular stress-relieving exercises to build our physical and mental resilience.

Chemical stressors: The chemical and toxic metal detox can help our body eliminate toxicants, ensuring the organs work more efficiently. We should buy organic food, use natural beauty products and cleaners, and avoid exposure to harmful chemicals whenever and wherever possible. 
Also, we should create a healthy home environment with good insulation, use air filters, and buy products that minimize the use of furniture, sheets, and other products created with organic materials, without flame retardants or containing chemicals.

Biological Stressors: We should wash our hands regularly and thoroughly with soap and hot water to minimize exposure to germs and keep our body as healthy as possible by eating a well-balanced, nutritious diet – ideally plant-based. 
Also, we should build our body’s natural resilience and boost its detoxifying abilities by performing a whole body cleanse or cleansing the colon or liver. It is very helpful to spread kindness, smile often, and forgive. 
We should find ways to laugh – a comedy show, a funny movie, or a great friend with an awesome sense of humor and laugh hard and often. These small acts can change our lives and improve our health.

Physical environment stressors:  We should always become aware of our environment and take a break from our cell phone at night, as mentioned before. 
If we live in a locale with minimal light at night, we may need to increase our exposure to light, perhaps through a daylight therapy lamp, or take natural supplements that reduce anxiety and depression during the winter months. 
Also, we should purchase yellow-tinted glasses to reduce the impact of the glare from our computer screen on our bodies, especially our eyes.

Some species of wild plants are adapted to live in a dry desert environment with seasonal rains in low quantities and high air temperature most days of the year. 
In addition, the relative humidity of the air is very low and the soil water stress is also very low most days of the year. 
So why can these plants live in such environments with dryness in most months of the year, while other plants die if found in such conditions?


Humans are now sensitive to multi-dimensional environmental stressors, although humans have played an important role in making these environmental stressors. 
We hear a lot about environmental pollution due to the dissemination of gases from combustion processes emitted from works, cars, vessels, etc. 
Some of these gases produce respiratory problems and if they increase the volume they then turn into toxic gases, and some of these gases interact with humidity in the atmosphere, which produce acids that return to Earth with rainfall. These acids cause harmful effects on fish, for example, roam the roots of trees and harm them. Naturally, these losses eventually reach the human and finally cause stressors.
The Scientific World

The Scientific World is a Scientific and Technical Information Network that provides readers with informative & educational blogs and articles. Site Admin: Mahtab Alam Quddusi - Blogger, writer and digital publisher.

Previous Post Next Post