Stress Management Essay
Stress is a large part of every day life. Stress is has many definitions and there are many ways to manage stress. Most stress occurs at our busiest moments; school, work and home. Those are the most common places for stress to build. Nevertheless stress is unavoidable.
How do people know that they are stressed? The body responds to stress negatively. Many biological changes take place which include but are not limited to the following: muscles tension, breathing heavily, dry mouth, sweats, tremors, dialating of pupils, response are not clear and there are many more (Wagner& Taylor). These changes can cause health problems if experienced to frequently. The body often becomes worn down making it more susceptible to becoming sick. Depending on how serious the stress, can determine the severity of its impact.
For example, an individual may have a stressful week at work, and contract a virus, and end up with a common cold. Reducing stress may help the body recover faster, and may even keep a person healthier (Palmer).
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The brain, nerves, and central nervous system interpret stress in our lives. Some factors effect the way people live and determine how stress is interpreted by their immune system, and what side affects stress will have. Nourishment is important because the immune system needs enough to weaken viruses (Palmer). Exercise is vital because it can relieve tension and keep the body healthy. However moderation is the key. Heavy exercise with no break can harm the body and wear it down with similar effects as stress. Personality is an important factor because that is the trait that helps individuals cope with stress. Easy going personalities are usually able to deal with stress better.
People with this type of personality don’t let as much upset them and reason better when faced with stress. Hostile personalities usually become angry more quickly when faced with stress (Pope).
There are several side affects that occur from stress. Insomnia is another factor that stress may bring on. This occurs when a person is disrupted with thoughts and questions that drive them crazy and cause an inability to sleep. Chronic pain, headaches and backaches can be stress induced when under pressure. The muscles in these areas become tense under stress. Heart problems are the most common side affect. The pain felt in the chest is tension caused by an oxygen shortage to the heart. Heart attacks occur due to high blood pressure and can be fatal.
Some behaviors that people take part in to reduce or cope with stress may also bring on heart problems. Stress can also hurt emotionally as with depression (Russel). Depression is another side affect from stress and that is a serious disorder to deal with. Pressures of life may really get to an individual making them feel down. Some of the symptoms discussed previously may be a sign of depression resulting from stress. Symptoms of depression may include diet, sleeping problems, headaches, body aches. Individuals who are depressed should seek counseling. (Palmer).
There are several different ways to manage stress. Not every way of managing stress is right for every person, because everyone’s reaction to stress is different. There is no right or wrong answer. One way is by practicing a simple breathing exercise. They calm down an individual and help them relax. There are many different techniques for breathing that can reduce stress.
Stress counselors can recommend a certain technique for a each person. Relaxing and breathing work together. Relaxing may include doing something enjoyable, such as taking a walk, listening to music, picking up a hobby, reading or simply sitting or lying down in peace and quiet.
Moderate exercising is another way of reducing stress, but it is important to remember not to over do it. Exercising doesn’t necessarily mean running the mile. It could simply mean stretching (Pope).
Biofeedback is also a way of managing stress. This involves monitoring specific areas of the body with an electrical device that is hooked up to an area of the body. The device makes a noise, and the pitch of the sound is determined by how relaxed the individual is (Palmer).
Eating well will help for managing stress. Healthy foods keep the immune system strong, as well as limiting the amount of caffeine that is consumed daily. Caffeine speeds up the heart and metabolic rate which can add stress. Quitting smoking is also an excellent alternative to reducing stress. Cigarette smoking has a similar effect that caffeine has on the body (Pope).
Individuals that are under stress should not turn to harmful stress relievers such as smoking, drinking or unhealthy eating. These unhelpful stress management strategies may seem like they are relieving stress, but instead they are hurting the body, which leads to more stress. Problems with work, relationships, school, and life in general should be dealt with accordingly. By using healthy strategies in moderation or seeking counseling a person can determine what works best for them in dealing with stress. By identifying stress, its causes and side affects managing stress will eventually become easier.
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Cause and Effects of Stress in Children
Stress is a response to a factor or situation that negatively affects the physical, emotional, or psychological existence of a person. Stress is good in small quantities as it motivates a person making him/her more productive. However, too much stress is detrimental to a person. Stress can interfere with the general life of a person. Most people assume that stress only affects adults. However, statistics indicate that stress also affects children.
Children face intense pressure from their environment. Continuous stress in children is harmful to their activities, health, and development. There are a number of causes and effects of toxic stress in children. Stress can be caused by both negative and positive situations. Children living in abusive environments, both physical and emotional, experience stress. Arnold wrote that children who are bullied are in continuous state of depression. They, therefore, alienate themselves from their colleagues. Parents who constantly beat their children are also causes of stress. The fear that is manifested in children disorients them. They will not be able to talk about what they feel to anybody but rather keep to themselves. Events such as accidents, loss of loved ones, and rejection are also causes of stress in children.
Social change patterns in children cause many stressful situations. Children at puberty yearn for freedom. This creates tension between them and the parents, who are constantly monitoring and regulating their activities. In the same stage, children will constantly be in need of money. Lack of money causes stress in children as they are not always able to buy whatever they may need. They will compare themselves with other children who are in comfortable financial positions. Such children are always anxious and worried of where and how they will get money. Stress in children is not only caused by what happens in their own lives but also by what happens in their parents’ lives.
The greatest effects of stress are experienced by the brain. The brain controls all the stress mechanism in the body making it the primary stress organ. Johnson stated that the vulnerability of children’s brain is caused by the fact that they are constantly growing and developing. Constant stress in children disrupts brain development and compromises its normal function. Research has indicated that children experiencing stress have smaller brains. Toxic stress impairs the connection of brain circuits resulting in development of a smaller brain. Prolonged period of stress in children affects their nervous and immune system. Stress hormones are released when a child is exposed to stress. Cortisol hormones, which are released as a result of stress, suppress the body immune system. This leaves a person vulnerable to diseases and infections.
Depression, alcoholism, eating disorders, and chronic diseases are also linked to childhood stress. Psychological effects of stress include changes in personality, aggressiveness, and irritability. Children under stress are likely to experience frustrations and isolation from friends and family. They spend more time on their own and lack motivation. Children may also have difficulty in concentration thereby affecting their academic performance.
Children under extreme stress exhibit change in behavior. They may be more disobedient, fight often, stutter, and cry often.
In conclusion, stress in children has many causes and effects. The notion that stress only affects adults is wrong. Too much stress, often referred to as toxic stress, is detrimental to the life of a child. Toxic stress affects the physical, emotional, psychological, and social aspects of a child. Even though every child reacts differently under stress, it is clear that stress affects the neural system and the health of a child. Children under stress tend to develop negative characteristics like irritability and disobedience. Research has indicated that there are number of causes of childhood stress which are interrelated. Social change patterns, abusive environment, and stress in parents are just some of the cause of childhood stress.