What is stress?
According to Sarafino, stress is a combination of emotional and physical tension in one’s mind and body. It can appear as a response to any traumatic experience one can endure and slow-burning out from work or studying. It comes with a feeling of frustration, anger, or nervousness, and it is a body’s way to react to some demand. There are several types of general stress: time stress (when one is missing an important deadline or lacks time to spend it on closest ones); anticipatory stress (which includes fear for the specific event in the future like approaching public speaking); situational stress (when one is stuck in a scary situation with no control over it like making a mistake in class or parting with one’s partner); encounter stress (which includes meeting someone new, like a new student).
As I researched the theme of stress, I took a few detailed questionnaires (Psycom, “Am I Too Stressed?” and Greater Good Magazine “Stress and Anxiety Quiz”), both of which showcased a rather high level of stress and anxiety in my life. I cannot say that surprised me because I experience high levels of stress, especially time stress and anticipatory stress (I tend to worry a lot about finances in these troubled times, especially what happens if I were to lose everything) and situational anxiety.
How to cope with stress?
If to talk about general ways to manage stress, one of the most popular tricks to cope with overwhelming emotions is Social Support (Sarafino & Smith, 2017). It refers to help from the outside (one’s family, partner, friend, or organization). I use this support, and it usually comes from my family and closest friends. I am very reserved when it comes to dealing and talking about my problems; however, my nearest and dearest can always aid me when I feel blue. This helps significantly, although it does not cancel all the stress immediately and forever. What also helps is to engage oneself with positive emotions and situations, like try to cuddle one’s pet, or have a pleasant walk outside (Seaward, 2017).
What is more, some people are getting help not from their closest ones, but faith. For some people, it is an excellent mechanism to cope with stress and negative emotions. This, however, does not include me, because I tend to manage my problems myself.
Moreover, it is good to engage in exercise because physical activity is proven to reduce stress levels and increase dopamine levels, which means that a person will have less depression and anxiety. It is a great way to cope with some troubling and contradicting emotions because while one is exercising, they tend to forget about the things that troubled them. However, if the problem is chronic, it is best to consult the doctor, who can prescribe drugs to manage overwhelming anxiety. Moreover, the doctor also tends to prescribe various sessions of relaxation, which help to calm one’s nerves. Although I never visited the doctor with these problems, I usually make myself a relaxing bath to calm my nerves and reach peace.
What are the effects of physical and mental stress on the person?
First, on the shirt-term, a person can experience headaches, chest pain, fatigue, high blood pressure, increased or decreased appetite, and sweating. If to talk about mental problems, a person can experience high levels of anxiety, resulting in emotional outbursts, irritability, sleep deprivation, etc.
As for the long-term effects of chronic stress, everything is even scarier. First of all, if one had constant issues with one’s health, these issues will worsen significantly with the appearance of stress. Prolonged stress can also cause several other problems such as heart problems, digestive issues, skin problems, troubles sleeping, eating disorders, memory problems, lack of concentration, depression, or even suicide (McEwen, 2017). Therefore, if some person is stressed all the time it is not right, they have to seek help, and people around them have to aid in those troubled times.
McEwen, B.S. (2017). Neurobiological and Systemic Effects of Chronic Stress [PDF file]. Web.
Sarafino, E.P., Smith, T.W. (2017). Health Psychology: Biopsychological Interactions. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.
Seaward, B.L. (2017). Managing Stress. Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.