What Is Stress? Identifying the Causes, Effects, and Dealing with Them Essay
What is stress? Identifying the causes, effects, and dealing with them. Stress is present in everybody. It occurs daily in people’s lives. “Who’s not stressed? That’s just life. Life is stress,” says Kathleen Hall, founder of the Stress Institute in Atlanta (Jayson, 2012). Stress is a body condition that occurs in response to actual or anticipated difficulties in life (Rice, 1987). “The most current definitions state that stress is the mental and physical response and adaptation by our bodies to the real or perceived changes and challenges in our lives” (Donatelle, Rebecca 73) .
There are many causes of stress and many different ways to handle stress. Most of our stress results from work and trickles down into our lives and cost us a lot to get our live back on track; the most common way of dealing with stress is by exercising. What is stress? Identifying the Causes, Effects and Dealing with them. Stress is present in everybody. It occurs daily in people’s lives. “Who’s not stressed? That’s just life. Life is stress,” says Kathleen Hall, founder of the Stress Institute in Atlanta (Jayson).
Stress is a body condition that occurs in response to actual or anticipated difficulties in life (Rice, 1987). “The most current definitions state that stress is the mental and physical response and adaptation by our bodies to the real or perceived changes and challenges in our lives” (Donatelle, Rebecca 73) . There are many causes of stress and many different ways to handle stress. Most of our stress results from work and trickles down into our lives and cost us a lot to get our live back on track; the most common way of dealing with stress is by exercising.
Stress can also be harmful to one’s health, both physically and mentally. Stress is the combination of psychological, physiological, and behavioral reactions that people have in response to events that threaten or challenge them. Stress can be good or bad. There are two main types of stress, which are distress and eustress. “Unfortunately, stress and distress are used all too often as though they are interchangeable terms. Perhaps this is because the commonsense view of stress is weighted to the negative side. In fact, Selye introduced the terms distress and eustress in order to avoid this dilemma (Rice 18).
Distress is the bad stress. It is much the same as a state of anxiety, fear, worry, or agitation. Distress is a negative, painful experience and is something to avoid. On the other hand, there is a good stress, eustress. Eustress is pleasurable and satisfying experiences that people encounter. “Participation in a wedding ceremony, anticipation of competing in a major sports event, or performing in a theatrical production are examples of eustress” (Rice). Eustress can heighten awareness, increase mental alertness, and can sometimes lead to superior cognitive and behavioral performances (Rice).
Selye once said, “Complete freedom from stress is death. ” There are two factors present in stress, which are external and internal. Stressors are present in external stress, and are the situations or events that cause stress as an external stimulus. For example, stressors may be linked to too much work, too little money, too many creditors, the arrival of a baby, or the excitement of a new job (Rice). The factor in internal stress is the emotional part of stress which occurs inside the body. Internal stress is usually the psychological part of stress. Emotional reactions are likely to be more volatile, marked by increased irritability, explosiveness, and displacement and displacement of anger and frustration” (Rice 20). When someone talks about suicide or breaking down, these are signs of the _____?? In defensive armor, reflections of the strain that they accumulate while enduring stress. The term strain is best used to refer to the effect of that pressure within the person whereas the term stressor is best used to describe the forces bearing on a person. (Rice). Obviously, strains are a part of internal stress, and stressors are a part of the external stress.
There are many causes of stress called stressors. There are five main stressors which include biological variables, environmental circumstances, life situations, behaviors, and cognitive activities. The biological variables affect a person’s physical state including illness and physical extortion. Natural disasters, poverty, overcrowding, and noise pollution are examples of environmental circumstances that cause stress. Life situations that cause stress include the death of a loved one, moving, losing a job, or just being in a group of strangers.
Behaviors that may act as stressors include smoking, drinking, drug abuse, and poor eating habits. Making good grades, being competitive, or repeatedly trying to accomplish a goal are examples of cognitive or thinking activities that cause stress. Stressors may not affect everyone the same way. Some people can handle stress very well and others seem to display many signs of stress. These people do not feel in control, and they want to avoid coping with the situation (Rice). Thousands of people seek medical or psychological help for emotional distress. One out of three marriages end in divorce.
Sixteen out of one-hundred thousand Americans commit suicide because they have not found lasting happiness. “According to a survey conducted by the American Academy of Family Physicians, eight percent of business executives, sixty-six percent of teachers and secretaries, forty-four percent of garment workers, and thirty-eight percent of farmers suffer from work-related stress” (Rice 6). Most stress is caused by the way people think about and interpret the events taking place around them. Stress affects the body physically by setting an alarm reaction inside the body.
During this reaction, different chemical substances and hormones are put out into the body in increased amounts. At first, a little area of the base of the brain called the hypothalamus receives signals from other areas of the brain. The different signals stimulate the release of adrenocorticotropic-releasing hormone. This hormone acts as the pituitary gland causing it to release ACTH into the bloodstream. This then travels to the adrenal glands above the kidneys. The adrenals release hormones called glucocorticoids, which give immediate energy and suppress the activities of the body’s immune system.
During this time the adrenal glands are releasing other hormones. Adrenaline is the most important hormone because it increases blood pressure and the heart rate. The stage of resistance occurs in the body if the stressor is prolonged. The physical resistance to the stressor is at its peak during this stage, but resistances to other stressors tend to be normal. This is why people with a lot of stress catch colds and the flu easier (World Book Encyclopedia, 1997 Psychological assessment of stress has a long scientific history. Self-report measures have contributed to the understanding of clinical psychiatry and mental health.
There are some assessment tools that help human stress research. They are stressor scales, cognitive/affective correlate scales and psychological symptom scales. The stressor scales are the most widely used tools. Stressor scales ask patients questions to indicate whether or not they have experienced various stressful life events. The cognitive/affective correlate scales are the precursors to the activation of the triggering mechanisms and the subsequent physiological mechanisms of mediation. Psychological symptom scales are used to measure the effects of stress response on mental health as a target organ.
These also can address physical health issues (Everly and Sobleman, 1987). When talking about stress, there are three personality types. They are type A, type B, and Type C. Type A personality traits include aggressiveness and competitiveness. These people always want to be the winner in everything they do, they never exercise, and they work all of the time. People with Type B personality traits are easy going, have no stress or worries, and are laid back. The last personality type is Type C. This includes all of the type A, but they are always confident and never are affected but sickness.
Stress has both emotional and physical symptoms. A person who is easily aggravated, aggressive or edgy has emotional symptoms of stress. They also have behavioral signs and either overeat or under eat. According to Donatelle, a person with physical symptoms of stress might experience a pounding heart or excessive sweating. These people have a tendency to catch colds frequently and have migraine headaches. Grinding of the teeth is another physical symptom of stress (77). If a person experiences three or more of these symptoms for a prolonged time, they need to aware of their condition and seek immediate attention.
Stress management is a very broad subject and there are many ways to approach it. Stress management used to involve smoking, drinking, taking tranquilizers, or overeating. This was a way of treating their symptoms instead of finding the source of their stress. Whether a person chooses to confront a stress factor or walk away from it, the body still reacts the same way. Automatically a person’s heart rate and blood pressure increases to give the muscles more blood. Their pupils dilate so they can see better, and their senses of smell, touch, taste, and hearing become more acute.
Stored sugars and fats are released into the bloodstream to provide quick energy. (USA Today 1994). There are two types of people when it comes to stress. Those who handle stress by meeting it head-on and those who try to ignore it. There are many stress reduction therapies that focus on getting in touch with a person’s body or feeling. These are biofeedback, meditation, and breathing exercises. Measuring a person’s heart rate, blood pressure, and muscle tension with electrical equipment is biofeedback. This shows how stress affects these functions in a person’s body.
They can see the results and learn to control their blood pressure during stressful events. Meditation is when a person focuses on anything but what is bothering them in order to block out stressful thoughts. Breathing exercises also help the person to relax and forget about what is bothering them. Another way to handle stress is to modify one’s lifestyle. This can mean lightening one’s load or breaking down big tasks into small ones to do each day. (Arbettur, 1992). Stress has become an enormous problem that people have to face every day; even physicians face stress from their job.
As a result, the American Medical Association (APA) suggested seven things we can do to de-stress ourselves and feel happy. According to McDonnell, they said; 1. “Exercise,” suggested one European ophthalmologist and all heads nodded in agreement. 2. “I call a friend and invite him to go out for a martini and conversation with me after work,” said an Asian colleague. Others liked this idea. 3. “A 2-day trip to the beach or the country,” said another. The consensus was that this was very effective, but often a challenge for busy ophthalmologists to schedule. 4. “Go out for an excellent dinner with a spouse [or significant other]. Everyone approved of this suggestion. 5. “Go dancing,” said a South American professor. All the diners said they approved of this suggestion, but I had the sneaking suspicion that few were doing it. 6. “Go to the movies,” came next. When asked what category of movie was most effective, the answer was romantic comedy. 7. “Read the chief medical editor’s column in Ophthalmology Times,” someone finally suggested…. This might help us deal with the stresses and uncertainties we face, be happier, and better appreciate how lucky we are…. It is important that people know how to treat and deal with stress.
If they do not, they can end up having mental and physical problems in the future. According to Sharon, Jayson, and TODAY USA, “Americans’ stress level is down for the first time in five years and its lowest point since 2007”. It is proven that The United States spends over one-hundred billion dollars a year on stress related diseases. People just need to learn how to control their stress, and accept stress and accept stress as a daily part of their life. If people take effective actions to free themselves from stress, it could save the country money which ac be directed to more pressing issues. “The USA’s average stress level in 2011 was 5. on a 10-point scale, down from 6. 2 in 2007, says the survey by the American Psychological Association. But that doesn’t mean we’re not feeling stressed. 39% of those surveyed say their stress rose last year; 17% say it dropped; and 44% say it stayed the same. ” (Sharon, Jayson, and TODAY USA). All of us need to understand the importance of maintaining a healthy equilibrium between work and our own personal life. Giving in to the demands of a stressful job can only serve to create additional health problems such as heart conditions, high blood pressure, dependency on over the counter, illegal, or prescription drugs.
It will also contribute to other problems such as lack of sleep, isolation, and sometimes depression. “Granted, stress can be deadly and none of us escapes it. But that doesn’t mean that we are all doomed” ( Cowley, 1999). Coping with the daily stressors we face, and doing so as a member of a group of family, friends, coworkers, or neighbors can help us to maintain a healthy level of stress and will certainly reduce the risk of health problems associated with major stress in our life. This will in turn help us to be successful in our careers because we will achieve a healthy balance of work goals, family goals, community commitment, and a sense of well-being.
Arbetter, Sandra. “ Handling Stress: the Balancing Act. ” Current Health 2, Oct 1992. v19 p7. Print. Bibliography Rice, Phillip L. “Stress and Health. ” Montery, CA: Brooks/Cole Publishing Company, 1987. Print. Cowley, Geoffrey. “Stress-Busters: What Works. ” Newsweek, June 14, 1999. p60. Print. Donatelle, Rebecca J. “Access to Health. ” Pearson Benjamin Cummings, San Francisco, CA. 2012. Print. Everly, George S. Jr. nd Sobleman, Steven A. “Assessment of the Human Stress Response. ” New York: AMS Press, Inc. 1987. Print. McDonnell P. “Dealing with stress. ” Ophthalmology Times [serial online]. April 15, 2010; 35(8):4. Available from: Health Source – Consumer Edition, Ipswich, MA. Accessed December 4, 2012. Sharon, Jayson, and TODAY USA. “Yeah, we’re Stressed but Dealing with it. ” USA Today n. d. : Academic Search Premier. Web . 4 Dec. 2012. USA Today. “Stress can be managed. ” USA Today. April, 1994. v122 p11. Print. World Book Encyclopedia. World Book, Inc. a Scott Fetzer company Chicago. 1997. v18 p927. Print.