With the rising level of competition in the modern world, high economic and social standards, people are faced with a serious requirement to put in more effort to sustain life. These challenges can cause a state of stress that can be determined as a reaction of the human body to the influence of external factors, any difficulty, trouble or threatening situation. Sometimes stress provokes a motivation needed to do something, but in most cases the organism loses its power and the ability to deal with problems.
According to the National Health Interview Survey, about 75% of the population experience stress every two weeks (Aldwin, 2007). However, the amount of stress varies in different individuals. Therefore, the sources of stress must be learned in order to apply the right method of stress reduction. They may be divided into two general categories: external and internal stressors.
The first group includes movement to a new place, new job, the death of a beloved one or divorce, everyday money troubles, the need to fulfill one’s obligations by a certain date, family relationships, and restlessness. The internal sources of stress are created by one’s personal life values, beliefs, thoughts, feelings or worries. Low self-confidence, fear of change, constant worrying can all be the causes of stress. Thus, the stressors may be produced by a person or a situation.
Conflicts at home and in the workplace are the most important stressors in our everyday life. Family remains the heavy stressor that is presented by unsettled issues or arguments, the health of the family members and even relocation. Another top ranking factor is work. People worry about their performance and proper compensation, their demanding directors and official duties, deadlines and hectic work schedule.
Stress disturbs the balance in life both psychologically and physiologically. Some of the key effects include heart diseases, stroke, and high blood pressure as well as other illness. Stress is also responsible for destroying the immune system that protects one from diseases and infection (Lazarus, 1998). It is linked with development of alcoholism, drug and cigarette addiction, obesity and even predisposition to suicide.
Physical symptoms include nausea, constipation, loss of sex drive, aches and pains. Nausea is a sensational feeling that makes a person feel throwing up. Constipation refers to a situation when one has a reduced bowel movement as a result of stomach disorder. On the other hand, this disorder may arise from the brain as a result of stress and, in consequence, hinders the proper functioning of the digestive system.
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Loss of sex drive is the reduction of the urge to have sex with a partner. When the mind is stressed, the body is stimulated to do the same. Hence, one’s libido becomes low. Aches and pains are feelings that hurt and cause considerable discomfort to a person. They reveal mainly in the muscles and joints (Smith, Segal & Segal, 2011).
Emotional symptoms are connected with the mood and temperament. They declare themselves through depression, short temper, moodiness, and isolation. Depression is an emotional condition when one feels sad or gloomy. The mind loses its focus and drifts into solitude leaving the person in depression. Short temper is the condition when the person reacts to a stimulus in the fastest manner, but in a negative way.
Moodiness is the unpredictable state of a person’s mood. As the result of stress, the mind becomes unsettled, and the affected person is unable to make a clear decision. Isolation is the state when an individual chooses to detach himself/herself from other people. Stress lowers one’s self-confidence and, thus, makes them feel less worthy than others.
Behavioral symptoms consist of alcohol and drug abuse, peculiar sleeping patterns, loss of appetite, and irresponsibility. Many people in stress try to get out of the situation by using alcohol or drugs, but their problems still remain. Some people spend much time sleeping in order to keep their mind away from the stress or sleep very little due to the inability of the brain to be fully relaxed and fall asleep.
Being a mental discrepancy, stress affects the physical need of the person to eat; it takes down the urge of taking food. Finally, it influences one’s health, because the body’s immunity against diseases becomes lower. Stress also makes people irresponsible for their actions.
Cognitive symptoms contain restlessness, pessimism, memory lapse, and lack of concentration. A stressed person tends to think in a negative way all the time and sees all plans as certain to fail. Stress also makes the individual suffer from memory lapse, when one is not able to recall everything that has been said or done. While affecting the psychological status, stress leads to lack of concentration as one thinks about the same problem all the time (Smith, Segal & Segal, 2011).
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The mechanisms of stress are researched in detail and are quite complex. They are related to the endocrine, nervous and circulatory systems. It was established that severe stress affects one’s health. Nevertheless, the effective methods of therapy have already been developed.
Many people are used to coping with stress by using anti-depressants, drugs and alcohol. It seems to be easy and fast, but in fact is does not help to relieve stress. Many people do not think that they may become dependent and no longer be able to get rid of stress without the help of professionals.
Coping with stress in a positive manner is the right way toward success. It is advisable to learn healthy ways of dealing with stress in order to avoid any mental health risk. Stress can be managed in the following ways: the raising of self-appraisal, regular exercises, healthy nourishment, favorable environment or adaption to the stressors (Lazarus, 1998).
The muscles are relaxed after physical activity, and thus, relaxed body will transform to relaxed mind. This will cause reduction of stress in the mind. Regular physical exercises results in reduced production of stress hormones as well as other petrochemicals that increase stress. Having enough sleep and relaxing mood can also assist in control of stress to a certain extent.
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The healthy diet boosts the immune system and guards the body against diseases. Some foods are also health threats, as they cause coronary diseases, hypertension and diabetes that put pressure on the brain, too.
Favorable environment protects one from unnecessary stresses. One can share the tribulations with other people and seek advice in a tough position from close friends or relatives. Some stressors cannot be avoided as they are a part of life. Thus, the best solution is adaption to them and training to live with them, because the effect of stress on the mind can be reduced by viewing stressors positively.
Consequently, health management is one of the best methods of stress reduction.A healthy lifestyle is an indispensable part of any stress-reduction program that enacts changes in one’s life. The researchers recommend spending less time at the computer, leading more active social life, active communicating, regular exercising and having enough rest to neutralize the causes of stress (Aldwin, 2007).
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To reduce stress successfully, experts have proposed several stress management techniques that are particularly essential in ensuring good health. To cut down on stress, the individual may engage in activities such as regular exercises to relax the body. A balance between work and resting time should be considered.
Furthermore, diet is extremely crucial in boosting one’s health. A balanced diet including vegetables and fruits supports effective regulation of stress. Communication with people about the stressing issue tends to minimize the intensity of stress.
Other effective stress reduction techniques include meditation and prayer, as one’s mind becomes pacified and relaxed during this period. Stress can also be managed by eliminating the abuse of drugs and having a moment of meditating daily sessions to control blood pressure as well as the heart rate. Practically, meditating helps in keeping the body healthy (Smith, Segal & Segal, 2011).
To conclude, it is obvious that stress is a part of human life and, therefore, it cannot be avoided by any means. Nevertheless, people in the human services occupation are at a higher risk of stress, as they have to deal with different people with different behaviors.
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The researches confirm the existence of both negative and positive effects of stress. On the one hand, it makes one stronger and forces to make progress, overcome new challenges at work, and improve relationships. On the other hand, stress can lead people to depression, imbalance, and frustration. Some of the changes include anger, hostility, communication difficulties, aggressive behavior and decreased efficiency in carrying out chores. Chronic stress mostly results in serious psychological and physiological problems.
The first thing in stress reduction is the determination of its causes and effects. Knowledge about stress reduction is a main tool against suffering from stress. Getting rid of stress determines an individual’s well-being. That is why stress management techniques are very influential in everyday life. With the acquired knowledge, one is able to avoid the common stressors or cope with them. Otherwise, when one understands that he/she cannot cope with stress, the help of professionals is needed.
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