In contrast to real-life physical danger to our wellbeing and safety, we also have a stress-response to perceived psychological dangers. Our body responds physically to emotions and thoughts that pose a threat to our sense of self-worth. We fear failure, humiliation and/or embarrassment; this causes stress.
Stress can make you feel paralyzed, which can lead to avoiding what really needs to be done.
The type and intensity of emotion experienced under stress is influenced by past experiences and perceptions of the situation (see section on Factors that Influence Severity of Stress: self-concept) .
Anger, fear and anxiety are common emotional stress reactions, resulting in different behaviours. For example, anger (frustration) can result in a destructive reaction (such as attacking self, with negative critical thoughts, or others with hurtful behaviours). Fear can result in panic and, in turn, the body and mind freezes. You are restricted from responding in an organized manner. Psychologically you feel paralyzed and inhibited from taking action. This can lead to procrastination and other avoidance mechanisms which increases your stress. Anxiety is usually a reaction to a vague or non-specific threat, such as a sense of pending doom or failure. The feeling of anxiety can spread throughout the person's whole being and affects thoughts and behaviour generally.