Stress and Stress Management
The word stress has nowadays become synonymous with most people. But is it that everyone is undergoing some stressful situation or is it just a misuse of the word? At times one is left to wonder whether people know the meaning of stress or they just use it to describe everything and anything that puts them on their toes.
The concept of stress has been overly criticized for its lack of precision (Leher et al, 2007). The word stress dates back to the 14th century and was derived from the French word destresse which in turn derives from the Latin word strictus meaning compressed. (Leher et al, 2007).
Stress refers to our body’s way of responding to any type of demand. When a person is stressed up the body releases hormones in the form of chemicals into our blood stream. It is this then that manifests itself as the various signs of a stressed up person. Prolonged stress that is unaddressed leads to depression. This is the extreme level of stress where one becomes overly withdrawn. If untreated depression may cause death. This may not be necessarily through getting sick, but depressed people tend to have some suicidal tendencies.
Research has shown that eighty percent of the visits to the doctor are stress- related (Rubenstein, 1999). These checkups range from rashes to more serious issues like migraines and high blood pressure. However, with the rocketing cost of living in the 21st century, the situation is understandable. The pressure to put food on the table and settle bills on time is wearing the toll on human beings.This paper will address the main causes of stress, the major symptoms and how to manage stress before it causes rather adverse effects.
Causes of Stress
Events or situations that cause stress are referred to as stressors. More often than not we conclude that negative events causes stress, however even some positive events may also cause stress.Work overload is one major cause of stress especially in today’s world (Davis et al, 2008). However it is how an individual responds to this work pressure that may cause them to develop stress. Too much expectation from your boss, unsupportive colleagues at work is just some of the causes of work related stress.
The second major cause of stress is the rising cost of living. Actually, though not documented this way, the factor can be considered as the major cause of stress. Meeting competitive business demands drives one to the edge (Rubenstein, 1999). Unlike earlier days there exists nothing like free time or leisure time. All this has been occupied by hard work to make ends meet.
Another common cause of stress is relationships. This is not necessarily between spouses, but even between children and their parents as well as their peers. It is common for parents to be in conflict with their teenage children and this is listed to be a major cause of stress for both.
Stress may also be caused by events (Various, 2007). These events are such as birth, marriage, death among others. It is common for women who have just delivered to undergo post delivery stress and for some they tend to dislike their children at that time. In the event of the death of a loved one, stress is bound to occur.
Lifestyle may also be a major stressor. This especially for those who like living beyond their means so as to impress their peers. Another category is of those who are fashion sensitive: lack of enough resources to finance this kind of lifestyle causes stress.
Stress in itself does not kill. However, if left unchecked it may result to worse situations. Prolonged untreated stress leads to depression. Most people who are depressed tend to be suicidal.Secondly and the major symptom of stress is headaches that may culminate to migraines. Most people visit the physian with these symptoms especially if it has been prolonged.Stressed people also tend to develop rashes. These rashes are also referred to as hive. Factors acting on the immune system cause the release of histamine and this result in vessel dilatation, itching, hives, or a stress rash. The skin may also become overly dry due to anxiety and stress.
Other symptoms of stress include wet palms. This is normally associated with anxiety which causes stress. Waiting for results of something, for example examinations may cause one to be overanxious thus leading to stress.Moreover, urinating many times more than one’s normal might be an indicator of stress. This is also associated with other diseases that are known to cause stress such as diabetes. Other more fatal symptoms of stress include high blood pressure, lack of concentration and being easily irritable.
As has been illustrated earlier most situations causing stress can be avoided or managed altogether. Just by relaxing a stressed out person will get hold of their lives again.Learning and utilising relaxation breathing is one of the major ways to manage your stress. Examples of these are Yoga programs as well as massaging sessions.Changing diet also helps to control you level of stress. It has been established that very fatty foods go hand in hand with increasing our levels of stress. To overcome this, people are encouraged to take in more fresh fruits, vegetables and fibre.
Another cause of stress is our inability to let out our emotions. This is especially so with men. Bolting in these emotions causes a myriad of diseases such as high blood pressure or worse still stroke. Allowing ourselves to release our emotions once in awhile may be very instrumental in managing our stress levels. Cry if the situation demands so and laugh as well.A more traditional way of releasing our stress is having a reliable person that you can talk to. It is normally said that a problem shared is a problem half solved. This can be a trusted friend or even a family member. We all need a shoulder to cry on once in a while.As human beings we should learn to control our emotions. Just because you are stressed does not give you the right to go yelling at everyone or kicking things around including the neighbour’s dog.
Finally it is advisable to re evaluate your life. Enlist the virtues that you stand for and do away with the vices. Believe in yourself and your abilities. This especially for those who work in stressful work environments.
As has been established earlier almost all human beings, babies, teenagers and grown ups all experience a stressful situation at one point in their life. There are many reasons that cause stress. Major among them is the kind of lifestyle in the 21st century whereby everything has suddenly garnered value in terms of money; however some of the situations that cause us to be stressed out can be solved without causing much of a fuss.Some of the e major symptoms of a person under stress are recurrent headaches, rashes especially on the face, high level of irritability while others tend to be withdrawn. Prolonged stress which leads to depression can be detrimental to human existence especially due to the behaviour associated with it. Depression takes long to heal and can cause other serious diseases such as stroke.
To comfortably deal with stress, one must understand that most stressful situations are from within not without. This is because situations handled carefully from within alleviate stress. Lack of self esteem and belief in one self are the causes of internal stress.For those who have learnt this are more in control of their lives. Relaxing when the going is too tough might be the remedy to avoiding worse situations. Now that we have understood that stress can be managed and ways of managing this, it is time that everyone took charge and live happy lives.
Rubenstein Lori A. Leyden (1999). The Stress Management Handbook: Strategies for Health and Inner Peae. McGraw Hill, Professional.
Leher m. Paul, Woolfolk L. Robert and Sime E. Wesley (2007). Principles and Practise of Stress Management. Gulford Press.
Davis Martha, Robbins Elizabeth E Shelman and Mckay Mathew (2008). The Relaxation and Stress Reduction Workbook. New harbinger publications.
Various (2007). Stress Management. Global Media.