Stress: Causes and Effects Stress is an ongoing dilemma that occurs in each and everyone's life. It is a factor that is undoubtedly apart of daily living. Due to the trivial problems that occur in people's daily lives massive amounts of stress can arise. People perceive and manage stress in many different ways. The causes and effects of stress are numerous and one's ability to manage stress is vital in maintaining healthy living.
First, stress is defined as an unpleasant state of emotional and physiological arousal that people experience in situations that they perceive as dangerous or threatening to their well being (Patel, 14). Stress is a universal feeling to everyone but the word stress means different things to different people. Some people define stress as events or situations that cause them to feel tension, pressure or negative emotions such as anxiety or anger (Patel, 15). Other people may view stress as a process involving a person's interpretation and response to a threatening event. In any case, stress has many facets of how one perceives and responds to the certain predicament that is ailing them. Stressors are anything that causes stress.
Any event, thought, or situation that cause stress is called a stressor (Feldman, 10). Modern life exposes people to many stressor's. Some physical stressor's may include natural disasters, illnesses, and noise. More emotional stressor's can include certain life experiences, such as death of a loved one or a divorce. Day-to-day problems such as taking tests, feeling rushed, and writing papers can also be stressful situations to people. Stress affects the body in many different ways.
Many doctors estimate that stress is involved in more than half of all illnesses (Sapolsky, 21). Stress may cause or prolong an illness or increase its severity. Epinephrine and norepinephrine are hormones that are released during a stress reaction that affect organs throughout the body. As a result from the hormones being secreted, the heart begins to beat more rapidly, muscle tension increases, blood pressure raises, and heavy breathing may occur. This reaction is known as the fight-or-flight response. The fight-or-flight response energizes the body to either confront or flee from a threat.
Heredity, learning, and injuries all play a role in determining where or when a stress related illness may occur in a particular individual (Sapolsky, 22). Stress has been linked to many diseases or malady conditions. Stress hormones that act on the heart, blood vessels, and lungs may contribute to heart disease, high blood pressure, and asthma (Feldman, 17). Diseases of the stomach and intestines are often associated to stress because blood leaves these organs and moves to muscles used in running and fighting. Another difficulty is the prolonging increase of blood sugar can influence the development of diabetes.
Stress also appears to influence the development of cancer. Chronic stress can also interfere with the body's immune system directly through hormonal changes. Glucocorticoids-a hormone that is secreted during the stress response-actively suppresses the body's immune system (Sapolsky, 24). When the immune system is not active, it leaves people more susceptible to infectious diseases. Stress influences mental health as well as physical health. People who experience a high level of stress for a long time-and who cope poorly with this stress-may become irritable, socially withdrawn, and emotionally unstable (Feldman, 18).
People who are "stressed-out" may have difficulty in concentrating and solving problems. When the stress becomes lengthened more serious problems can occur. People under intense and prolonged stress may start to suffer from extreme anxiety, depression, or other severe emotional problems (Feldman, 18). Managing stress is essential to maintain a healthy life. Through understanding how one reacts to stress it can enable people to control or reduce some of their stress reactions. Healthy lifestyle choices increase the body's ability to cope with stress.
People can manage stress by exercising regularly, eating nutritious foods, avoiding nicotine, and reducing use of caffeine and alcohol (Patel, 21). Friendships and other social connections aid greatly in the management of stress. Talking with others helps people to sort through problems and explore possible solutions. Relaxation techniques are another positive way to manage stress. Some relaxation techniques include meditation, hypnosis, and biofeedback training. In conclusion, stress greatly affects the human body both emotionally and physically.
Too much stress can cause many problems in a person's health. Learning to manage stress is fundamental in staying healthy. If one can learn to manage stress effectively, one's life will be healthier and happier! Works Cities Feldman, Robert S. Understanding Stress. Watts, 1992. Pgs.
15-30 Patel, Chandra. The Complete Guide to Stress Management. Plenum, 1991. Pgs. 13-25 Sapolsky, Robert M. Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers: A Guide to Stress, Stress-Related Disease, and Coping. W.H. Freeman, 1993. Pgs.