Essay on Stress:
I was looking through my wife’s Woman’s Day magazine and came across an article on stress titles “Sick of Stress.” The article discusses what can cause stress, complaints of stress, and how to fight stress. Since everyone has or will experience stress sometime in their life, I felt I should take this opportunity to share my findings as well as gain more knowledge on this subject.
The type of stress that is caused by day to day activities is called chronic stress. This type of stress can cause high blood pressure, problems with the digestive track and make an individual more susceptible to colds and flu. With new research it has been discovered that this type of stress can have a greater toll on one’s health that what was thought previously. This “body/mind connection” takes affect when the brain senses stress and in return stimulates the sympathetic nervous system. From this stress hormones surge forth into bloodstream, triggering increase in heart rate, breathing rates muscle tension, metabolism and blood pressure. This defense mechanism is known as the “Fight or Flight response,” and allows a person to cope by giving you the extra power to confront a difficult situation. When stress is chronic the body remains in a near constant low- level state of alarm.
A major health concern/consequence of stress is heart disease. This is caused by the increase in blood pressure and higher heart rate. According to research, women with chronic or high level stress appear to be more susceptible to dying from heart disease. It has been determined, by research, that woman that have high levels of mental stress have double risk for stroke and heart related deaths compared to those that report low stress levels. Heart attacks for men are an elevated risk but death by heart disease caused by stress is unlikely. A theory to back up this idea is that men are less likely than women to admit that they feel stressed which in return causes data not to accurate. Another health concern of stress is inflammatory disease. When an individual experiences inflammation; the body releases hormones called glucocortoids to assist in “turning off the inflammation.” When the body resists the defense of these hormones such conditions as rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis and cardiovascular disease. To fight this condition is has been determined that a person should have a strong social support because the support can reduce the stress levels and is able to assist in restoring the ability of glucocortoids to respond to inflammation. A third body process that is affected by stress is the healing process. It has been researched and determined that stress slows down the healing process as well as the body’s ability to fight off infection. From the research it is suggested that if an individual is about to have elective surgery and is under extreme stress this individual should reschedule the surgery until stress is lowered. If an individual is able to do this the healing process will be a lot smoother as well as faster. A fourth factor that can be less effective is vaccinations. It has been determined that vaccinations taken while under stress are less effective. This is especially true of meningitis vaccinations. Through research is has been discovered that individuals that have a high level of “life stress” (meaning stress is present and felt in current situation) have lower antibody levels than those who have lower levels of “life stress.” This high level of stress has also been determined to be associated with vaccinations such as hepatitis B, influenza, and rubella. From this research also came the conclusion that stress does affect the body considerably and the amount of stress is important but how one reacts to the stress is the most important. Basically it is a person’s reaction to an event that causes stress, not the event itself so stress is a factor that a person has to learn to cope with for the sake of their health and being.
There are several signs of stress. This article names five of the important signs. The first is sleep problems. If an individual is having problems with falling asleep of restless sleep then stress could be the cause. A second is mood change. If an individual is feeling irritable, worried, anxious or depressed then stress could be the culprit. A third is having more physical complaints. If you are feeling more pain in your neck and shoulder muscles, have more headaches, indigestion, bowel, heart races uncontrollably, and sometimes have elevated high blood pressure then stress is most likely the cause. A fourth is change in behaviors such as using alcohol to reduce stress, caffeine, overeating or using other substances that you normally wouldn’t. The last sign is if you are constantly busy and never take time for yourself. With doing this exercise is lax, a healthy diet is not seen and no activity that you enjoy takes place. With recognizing these signs a person should take the time to make changes and help the body and mind to reduce the stress level.
Now that we have discussed the signs and causes of stress let’s discuss how to fight the stress and win. This article states several techniques to use. For a “quick fix” when feeling stress an individual should used deep breathing. This can be used anywhere and at anytime. Some other things that an individuals could do is take the time to call a friend, take a walk, take a day off from work, get some extra sleep, take up a hobby that is relaxing, learn to meditate. Also television shouldn’t be used to reduce stress since television has a lot of stress causing factors reported, take a mini-vacation if possible and make sure that you are “in-touch” with your body. If these suggestions and ideas don’t change the stress level then other extremes should be taken such as psychotherapy.
I believe that this article is very informative. I can relate too many of the items stated in this article. I know that I have been under great stress this summer with taking a full load at school, kids being home everyday and attempting to get homework done and spending every evening at the baseball field. I know the signs of stress first hand. I have always been one that handles stress with “ease” but have actually experienced some of these signs this summer. I have had trouble sleeping some nights, I have had aches and pains that I normally don’t have, and I have became extremely grouchy which I usually don’t do. I know that my family has seen the difference in me and I can’t wait to get this semester over. When this semester is over I am taking the advice of this article and taking my family on a well deserved vacation. This will be time for us to feel no stress of school work, house work or baseball. I am a strong believer of taking some time and getting away from the stressor so that you can cope better when you are faced with the stressor again. Learning how to handle stress and knowing your body’s style in handling stress is very important in overcoming the stress and ailments that come along with it. When I am stressed I usually don’t like to show it and my wife likes to point this fact out to me. She is frazzled about a situation and I seem calm. I keep the stress to myself and when it becomes to the extreme I release through becoming moody, which I am hardly not, and eventually have “lazy days.” My body knows when to react to the stress. My wife and I have been trying to take sometime for ourselves every evening by releasing the stress of the day by talking a walk alone. This seems to keep us connected as well as letting our bodies and minds receive the stress relief and exercise that is needed. This seems to be working out well but it is hard to squeeze in the time but it has to be done because the reward is great. This article gave my new ideas of how to cope with stress and made me aware of how stress affects the body physiologically. Stress can kill and by reviewing this article I have a better understanding of how stress can actually do this to the human body. This article did give me a better understanding and encouraged me to continue handling stress as I have been.