Stress is a form of body’s response to a threat or a demand. When an individual senses a threat, be it real or just an imagination, the defense system of the body reacts in an automatic and rapid process that is commonly known as ‘fight-or-flight-reaction’. This form of reaction is what is referred to as stress. Folkman (2013) defines stress as the feeling of being under too much emotional or mental pressure. Manageable stress is good for a person since it enable him/ her to remain focused and improve his/ her relationships, quality of life, and productivity, however, if left unchecked, it can lead to depression that makes the person unable to cope with events in his/her environment. In instances when the body is functioning clearly, stress response enables one to remain alert, focused, and energetic. In emergency situations, stress gives one extraordinary strength for defense purposes which can actually save the life of an individual. However, beyond a certain point, where an individual is unable to cope, stress causes depression leading to major changes in moods.
Causes of Stress
There are various causes of stress among individuals. Firstly, fear and uncertainty are the most renowned of these causes (Gomathi, Ahmed, & Sreedharan, 2013). When people are not sure about the outcome of an event that they have no control of such as election results, interviews, court cases among others, they have a tendency to get stressed. Secondly, perceptions and attitudes can lead to stress. Perceptions have to do with how one views things while attitudes relate to reactions towards things. Negative attitudes and perceptions always lead to stress, and the vice versa is also true for positive attitudes (Gomathi, Ahmed, & Sreedharan, 2013). Lastly, adverse effects of change in the environment that one lives also lead to stress. These changes include job management, divorce, and loss of a loved one among others. The psychological effects of change leads to stress before an individual copes.
Signs of Stress
There are various ways to know if a person has stress. Physical signs include a headache, fatigue, and difficulty in sleeping, difficulties in concentrating, stomach upsets, and irritability (Noyan, & Cohen, 2013). Other adverse effects of stress include depression, high blood pressure, abnormal heartbeat, heart burns, and loss of weight.
Various techniques can be used to manage stress such as taking deep breaths, diverting nagging thoughts, taking a break from stressful activities, and socializing and engaging in healthy interactions. One can take deep breaths in order to calm down the nervous system (Seaward, 2013). Secondly, one can divert the nagging thoughts to positive things instead of the occurrences that lead to stress (Seaward, 2013). Moreover, one can take a break from a job or anything that results in stress. Lastly, it is important to find time to socialize and engage in healthy interactions with friends which relieves these emotions (Seaward, 2013).
Cohen’s Stress Test
After conducting a stress test, I found out that my score is 8 out of 40, that means my stress levels are manageable. According to Noyan and Cohen (2013), scores above 30 are beyond a manageable level. Therefore, affected individuals should seek help from psychologists, friends, and family members.
Time in College When I was Stressed
Once after failing to submit my assignment in time, the lecturer decided to award me a zero mark. I had a build-up of stressful emotions since I did not want to fail in the course. Additionally, I had not performed very well in my other assignments and thus was counting on the lately delivered paper to improve my grade. As a result, my stress levels started rising beyond the normal levels.
Managing Stress in the Future
To manage such stress in future, I will focus on the positive side of the problem than on the negatives ones. Moreover, I will take a break from environments that are stressing. Lastly, I will consider interacting with friends to relieve the emotional pressures through interactive conversations.
In most cases, stress is unavoidable. However, various measures can that help individuals to trigger control over emotions can be taken to mitigate its effects. Once we adopt proper stress management routines, we can easily cope with stress. This management will diminish cases of illnesses, low productivity, poor quality of life, and strained relationships that thrive as a result of stress.
Folkman, S. (2013). Stress: appraisal and coping (pp. 1913-1915). NY, New York: Springer.
Gomathi, K. G., Ahmed, S., & Sreedharan, J. (2013). Causes of stress and coping strategies adopted by undergraduate health professions students in a university in the United Arab Emirates. Sultan Qaboos University Medical Journal, 13(3), 437.
Noyan, I. C., & Cohen, J. B. (2013). Residual stress: measurement by diffraction and interpretation. NY, New York: Springer.
Seaward, B. L. (2013). Managing stress. Burlington, MI: Jones & Bartlett Publishers.