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Stress Management and Prevention

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In the history of humanity, stress has been a common phenomenon that has been an integral part of human survival. Stress has both positive and negative effects in human life. Many people work under certain stressful situations which help them to increase their productivity, however, when stress exceeds certain limits it has adverse effects in both body and mind of individual. According to America Medical Association, stress has been recognized to be leading proxy killer disease in today’s world.

Therefore, the purpose of this presentation is to discuss what is stress, its causes, the types of stresses, effects of the stress and stress management and prevention. Definition of stress From medical perspective stress is defined as physical or psychological stimulus that is capable of producing mental tension or physiological reactions that might lead to illness. However, the widely accepted definition of stress refers stress as a feeling experience when a person considers that the demands exceed the personal and social resources the individual is able to mobilize (Castro, 2003).

Causes of stress There about seven leading causes of stress in contemporary world. Many research studies concur that one of the leading causes of stress in the world is finances. Findings reveal that, many people have major purchases to make like car or home which at times prove to be difficult. A significant number of people in the world are worried due to loss of income or huge debts they have to settle. On other hand collage students find it stressful to pay for their education. Work is another one of the leading causes of stress to many people in the world which is also related to finances.

This occurs due to worries of getting and keeping employment. Where new responsibilities are introduced there is constant worry on how to manage them. As one struggle to climb a career ladder, there are overwhelming demands associated with this. Family is also a leading cause of stress as it has been observed. Family conflict between the spouses and threatening divorces and domestic violence among other family members are sufficient cause of the stresses. Family health is another leading cause.

If there happens that there is a sick family member, or a serious injury to mention but a few may lead to stressful moments in the family. Indeed, the ebb and flow of the entire flow of the family life is nothing but just stress (http://changingminds. org/explanations/stress/stress_causes. htm, n. d). Personal concerns have been identified as top cause of stress and are only indirectly caused by other people. Because each individual has inherent desire to have control over his or her own life, if this control is feeble or lacking in certain areas this elicit stress.

Many people have been found to have stress because they lack control over their own time. Individual would wish to determine when to do what task rather than let others’ demand control such. Personal health and safety is also a top leading cause of the stress. Individual health status can be a source of stress for instance, overweight and obesity that accompany the desire to cut down the weight. To others, stress may be due to personal habit that affects health and need to be changed. Stressfulness among the individual varies with the degree of seriousness and personal outlook on health issues.

Personal relationship cannot be overlooked. In any kind of relationship be it dating, separation, marriage or divorce there is demand on finance, time, and emotion that can easily result to ongoing stress. In connection to this, death of a loved one or close friend can be the most devastating kind of stress. When the parents loose their children or one of the spouse passes on the experience is greatly overwhelming . The effects of stress caused by death may have adverse effects on affected individual’s entire life if he or she is unable to cope with it.

Types of stress There are four other different types of stress. The first one is called eustress. This is type of stress that is of short term in nature and is advantageous as it provide immediate strength. The level of the stress is directly proportional to the amount of physical activity, enthusiasm and creativity. It can be regarded to as a positive stress that occurs when one need motivation and inspiration. It is so commonly experienced by gymnast during competition (Sutton, Baum & Johnston, 2004). The second type of stress is referred to as distress.

It is a negative stress that is as result of constant readjustments or alterations in a routine. It usually creates sense of discomfort and unfamiliarity. Distress is of two types namely acute stress and chronic stress. Acute stress usually short lived and may come as result of things such as work pressure, tight meeting deadlines, minor injury, or increased physical activity. Symptoms associated with this kind of stress include headaches, back pain, gastrointestinal problems, increased heartbeats, muscle pain or general body pain. Chronic stress is the most serious type of distress.

It is a prolonged kind of stress that may stay for more than a week, a month or even years. The main causes can be poverty, stressed or broken families and marriages, chronic illness or successive failures in ones life. To people with such kind of stress they may stay with it until they get used and may even not notice that they have it and can be detrimental to their health (http://www. thehealthcenter. info/adult-stress/types-of-stress. htm, n. d). The other type of stress is called hyperstress. It occurs when a person put in a fix beyond his or her ability to handle the situation.

It is a product of being overloaded or overworked. To an individual who is hyperstress, even little things can evoke a very strong emotional response. The last type of stress is known as hypostress. It is opposite of hyperstress. It results when a person is unchallenged or simply bored. Such kinds of people are found to be restless and not inspired. A good example is an employee who always perform routine job (Christensen, Martin & Smyth, 2004). Effects of the stress Stress affects the body through various ways. The effects of stress can be physical, mental, emotional or behavioral.

Physical effects if stress revolves mainly around neouro-endocrino-immunological pathways. Regardless of the stressor factors, the response of the body is the same. Some of observable physical effects of stress include, palpitation that manifest itself inform of increased heart beat accompanied with increased shallow breathing. There may be tremors, moist eyebrows, tightening of muscles, tense arms and legs, clenched jaw that causes gritting of the teeth. There may be gastrointestinal problems such as constipation, diarrhea, and loss of appetite, hyperacidity and dyspepsia.

Also, there can be irritability and general weakness. Physical effects of stress affects the brain functioning particularly, higher brain centers and hypothalamus which secretes hormone that stimulates pituitary glands which in turn sends signals to other organs and immediate effect is mediated through autonomic system causing release of adrenaline which is a fright hormone. This makes the body to tense and be ready for any emergency. The mental effects of the stress present in various ways that can impair the logical way of thinking and some kinds of mental illness.

It has been found that unsolved emotional stress can lead to mental miseries that may subsequently cause physical illness. Some common manifestation of mental effects are inability to concentrate, inability to make appropriate decisions, low self confidence, frequent anger, irrational fear, panics and compelling emotions and mood swings. If mental stress goes unattended, it can compel individual to resort in alcohol addiction, bulimia or anorexia or abuse of hard drug. Effects of emotional stressed normally occurs when there emotional stress is suppressed without release.

It has been observed that if stress is suppressed for a longer period of time without expressing the emotions it can lead to illness. If the inner emotional conflict are not harmonized appropriately, the feelings are later transferred subconsciously that cause physical illness . For instance if there is emotional stress the effect may manifest itself through headache. Also emotional stress can manifest itself as skin disease like urticaria just an example. This is because there is close link between sensory organ and the brain.

The behavioral effects of stress can manifest themselves through the way an individual acts and behaves when influenced by the stress. When there is continuous and uncontrolled stress the resultant emotional conflict leads to unusual behavior responses to people and events. The feeling of resentment and hurt are underlying of such kind of altered behavior. Some of such behavioral effects of stress are excessive smoking, nervous tics, increased used of alcohol intake or drugs, mannerisms like nail biting, absent mindedness and accident-proneness (http://www. elpguide. org/mental/stress_signs. htm, n. d).

Stress management and prevention Stress management and prevention are vital in today’s world that is full of high pressurizing corporate environment. Statistics from National Institute of Health indicates that about 80-90% of illnesses are caused by stress that either directly or indirectly (Hart, 2008). Living in high levels of stress puts the entire well-being at risk . This is because stress starts causing havoc in emotional equilibrium and then affects the physical health.

This ends up hindering individual ability to think clearly, function effectively and have life enjoyment. Therefore, the main objective of stress management is to restore mind and body back to the balance. The adoption of a positive attitude, learning healthier ways to cope, and also changing the approach to deal with stress can help to reduce it hold on person’s life. It involves taking charge of your thought, emotions your schedule, your environment and the way your handle the problems.

Stress management and prevention involves having a balanced life with time for your work, relationships, relaxation, and have fun and the resilience to hold under the raising pressure and be prepared to meet the challenges without fear. There are about four strategies one can take in managing stress though the list is not limited to only these ones. The first stress management strategy is to avoid unnecessary stress. Even though not all stresses are avoidable and also it not healthy to avoid a situation that need to be addresses, there are several stressors one can eliminate in life.

Learn to say no. This means that avoid taking more than you can handle. Understand your limits and stick to them. This is because if you take on more than you can handle whether in your personal or professional life, this can be a good recipe for stress. It is also necessary to avoid people who stress you out. If you are not able to turn the relationship round just reduce amount of time with such a person (Segal, et al, 2008). Another thing is to learn how to control your environment. For instance if evening news make you anxious, try to turn off your TV.

If it is traffic that makes you tense, take longer but less traveled route. It is also crucial to avoid hot-button topics. Your can cross off those topics that upset you. Learn how to pare down your to do list. By analyzing your schedule, responsibilities and daily tasks, distinguish those which must be attended and those which can be attended some other time and drop those which are not truly necessary to the bottom list or simply eliminate them. The second stress management strategy is altering the situation. Where avoiding the stressful situation is not possible you can alter it.

This call for taking future measures to avoid such situation to happen again. This largely involves changing the way one communicate and operate daily life. Learn to express your feelings instead of bottling them up by communication your concerns in an open and respective way. Contrary to this, resentment will build up and situation may not likely change. Be wiling to compromise. For instance, if it is required of you to change certain behavior, it is good to do so. This acts a remedy because one finds a happy middle ground.

One should not take backseat in his or her own life. Rather be assertive and deal with the problems as you do your best to anticipate and prevent them. There is also the need to have good management of time. Poor time management can lead to stressful situations because it is make hard to stay calm and focused. Planning ahead and proper time management can help avoid stress-inducing pitfalls. The third strategy of stress management is to accept things that cannot change. One cannot prevent or change stressors such as death of loved one or serious illness.

The only best way is to cope with stress in such situation is to accept the things the way they are. Another important thing is look for the upside. If it is your poor choices contribute to stressful situations, reflect on them and learn from the mistake. It is also necessary to share one’s feelings to trusted friend or seek appointment with therapists. This is important because as you express what you are going through can be very cathartic despite that you may not alter the stressful situation. The last strategy for stress management is to adapt to the stressor.

It is possible to adapt to stressful situations and regain your sense of control by changing expectations and the attitude. This requires one to reframe the problems so that one can view the stressful situations in positive perspective. For instance rather than fuming to stagnating jam consider it as an opportunity to pause and regroup or listen to your favorite music (Albarracin, Johnson, & Zanna, 2005). Always look at the big picture. By taking a perspective of the stressful situation, consider if its worth in the long run if not focus your time and energy elsewhere.

Still on the same strategy, learn to adjust the standards because perfectionism is a major cause avoidable stress. Cease setting your self up for failure by demanding perfectionism; rather have reasonable standards not only for your self but also for others. Lastly have a focus on positive. If stress gets you down, take a moment to reflect on all the things you really appreciate in life including your own positive qualities and gifts. This can help you keep things in perspective.

Stress is part of daily life and depending in the type of stress; it can be advantageous or have adverse effects to one’s health. Though stress is one of the leading proxy killer diseases in the world, many people do not know or admit that they have stress in their life. Because living in high stressful situation can put entire well-being of an individual at risk, stress management and prevention strategy is imperative. Adoption of a positive attitude, learning healthier ways to cope with stress and changing the approach on how to deal with stress can help one to have ability to reduce stress to take hold in life.




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