Stress Definition, Causes, Stressors, Stress Management, Dangers of Stress

What is stress, what are the common stressors and what are some of the best ways to manage stress? This work will introduce you to stress and stress management; give you the common stressors as well as what stress management is and how you can manage your stress effectively.

Introduction to Stress and Stress Management

This introduction to stress and stress management or insight on stress and stress management, you are going to learn more about stress and understand why it is there in our lives. You will also know the dangers of excessive.

Why Stress, is it important?

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Stress is a way in which our bodies react to pressure or change. Stress affects the way in which our bodies work. In these harsh economic times, stress is at an alarming level and many of us find it difficult to avoid stress. Stress comes from all angles, work, school, family, relationships and many other things.

Stress is important for the growth of the human spirit. It is when we are under certain pressure that we attain some virtues such as bravely and courage to face challenges. Nevertheless, when stress goes to the extreme, it can take a toll on our health and wellbeing.  It may seem hard to avoid stress; however, there is so much you can do to control stress.

Dangers of Excessive Stress

It is worthwhile to mention in this introduction to stress and stress management or insight on stress and stress management that excessive stress can interfere with your productivity and reduce your physical and emotional health. The consequences of excessive stress are painful and at times fatal. When the limit of adequate stress has been surpassed, or bodies start weakening and lowering its level of immunity, thus making us more prone to contract diseases.  Getting ways to manage stress is not about making huge changes to every aspect of your work life or rethinking career ambitions. Rather, stress management requires to focus on the one thing that’s always within your control: you.

Furthermore from this introduction to stress and stress management or insight on stress and stress management, it should be clear that most of us have the impression that stress comes from outside sources while in the reality, stress starts from within. When we are stressed, our bodies react in the same way that we have trained them to. This explains why different people react differently when feeling stress. So people cry, others remain silent while some engage in vices such as smoking and alcoholism.

Stress Management

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The final part of this introduction to stress and stress management or insight on stress and stress management worthwhile mentioning is managing stress is all about taking charge: taking charge of your thoughts, your emotions, your schedule, your environment, and the way you deal with problems. The ultimate goal is a balanced life, with time for work, relationships, relaxation, and fun plus the resilience to hold up under pressure and meet challenges head-on. Stress management starts with identifying the sources of stress in your life. This isn’t as easy as it sounds. Your true sources of stress aren’t always obvious, and it’s all too easy to overlook your own stress-inducing thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.

To conclude our discussion on the introduction to stress and stress management or insight on stress and stress management, some people are not aware that they are stress; you might be one of these people who cannot identify when they are stressed. Do you want to know whether the frequent headaches, back pains and stomach upsets could be caused by stress? Read through this book to have a better understanding of stress, its causes and how to effectively reduce and control it to a better and happier life.

What is stress – the definition of stress

Everyone talks about stress, no one takes time to say what is stress in its real sense. Now you have a chance to know what is stress. Of course, the term stress is so common in today’s world; nevertheless very few of us really know what is stress.

Before we look at what is stress, most of us associate stress with headaches, back pains and other symptoms. What we fail to understand is that headaches and back pains or even lack of sleep could be caused by other bodies’ disorders other than stress. You may fail to have any of these symptoms but still be suffering from stress, so what is stress?  Stress is a feeling that occurs when our bodies react to particular events such as environmental demands or pressure. It’s the body’s way of rising to a challenge and preparing to meet a tough situation with focus, strength, stamina, and heightened alertness. This is actually what is stress and not what many people assume what stress is.

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Going on with this discussion on what is stress, whenever the human body experiences stress, the body responds activating the nervous system and specific hormones. The adrenal glands produce adrenaline and cortisol hormones into the bloodstream. These hormones are responsible for speeding up of the heart rate, breathing rate, blood pressure and metabolism of the body. These reactions are referred to as stress response and adjust back to normal when the stress factor comes to an end. Stress factors are events that provoke stress.

Now you know what is stress, it is worthwhile to go the extra mile and look at causes of stress in humans. This will enhance your understanding on what stress is. Stress in human beings is mostly as a result of interactions between persons and their environment that are alleged to be straining or exceeding their adaptive capacities and threatening their well-being. The element of acuity indicates that human stress responses reflect differently depending on personality, as well as differences in physical strength or general health of an individual.

To sum up the definition of stress, the risks that can be caused by stress should also be discussed. Risk factors for stress-related illnesses are a mix of personal, interpersonal, and social variables. These factors include lack or loss of control over one’s physical environment and lack or loss of social support networks. People who are dependent on others (e.g., children or the elderly) or who are socially disadvantaged (because of race, gender, educational level, or similar factors) are at greater risk of developing stress-related illnesses. Other risk factors include feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, extreme fear or anger, and cynicism or distrust of others.

How to understand and identify stress – understanding and identifying stressors

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Understanding and identifying stressors or how to understand and identify stress is very important although it could be challenging for many people. For you to be able to solve a problem, you need to first identify the problem so as to look for the best solution to the problem this is why you need to learn on understanding and identifying stress or how to understand and identify stress. We all experience stress due to many reasons. For you to have a better understanding of stress or know more on understanding and identifying stressors or how to understand and identify stress you need to identify the stressors. Stressors can be classified into twelve categories:

Emotional stressors

In understating and identifying stressors, the first type of stressor you should be aware of is emotional stressors. Emotional stressors include fears and anxieties (such as worries about work, relationships, marriage, school as well as certain personality traits such as perfectionism, pessimism, suspiciousness, or a sense of helplessness or lack of control over one’s life that can distort your thinking or your perceptions of others. These stressors are very individual and come from within us. When there is a change in your family relationship such as divorce, financial problems, coping with unruly teens and many other such factors can be referred to as emotional stressors.

Social stressors

The other stressor you should look at in order for you to understand and identify stress is social stressors. These stressors arise as a result of our interaction with other people such as in dating, parties and public speaking. Most people are tense during their first date or during a public speech. I remember during my first date. I was so tense and took almost three hours dressing up. I just could not find the right outfit for this occasion. You just do not want what I did during my first date because it was embarrassing. This was due to the social stressor of fear of the unknown. If this stressor is not solved it may cause you so much embarrassment.

Change stressors

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Human life is full of so many changes. It is hard for one to avoid some of these changes. Some of these changes moving in a new home or geographical region, getting a new job, change of weather or climate or having a baby. Change is always accompanied by either negative or positive effects. A baby may bring joy to your family and act as a bond to you and your spouse; however, a baby may also be the cause of breaking of your family especially if you and your partner were not prepared for the baby.

Chemical stressors

Nevertheless, in understanding and identifying stressors, the chemical stressors identification is paramount. These stressors occur when a person uses drugs. When one starts using alcohol, nicotine, or caffeine, you will experience stress since your body is not used to these foreign chemicals.  Stress also occurs when one becomes addicted to these drugs and when they need to stop taking them arises. An alcoholic or a smoker finds it hard to carry out his or her day to day activities without taking the drug. This is because stress occurs in his body due to lack of the chemical

Work stressors

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Work stressors are caused by the pressures of performing in the workplace. They may include tight deadlines, an unpredictable boss, or endless family demands.

Decision stressors

They occur while having to make important decisions in life such as the choice of a career or a mate.

Phobic stressors

They are caused by situations where you are extremely afraid of situations, such as flying in airplanes or being in tight spaces.

Physical stressors

It is a situation that occurs when you overtask your body, such as working long hours without sleep, depriving yourself of healthy food, or standing all day. They may also include pregnancy, premenstrual syndrome, or too much exercise.

Disease stressors

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They are the products of long- or short-term health problems. These may cause stress by preventing you from being able to leave your bed which can be triggered by stress such as herpes flare-ups, or be aggravated by stress such as migraine headaches. Disease stressors can also be associated with acute pain or chronic pain.

Environmental stressors

Such as noise pollution, a lack of space, too much heat, or too much cold may also cause stress.

Unless you understand the above categories stressors, it is not easy understanding and identifying stressors or how to understand and identify stress. It all begins with identification.

Stress has real, clear physical symptoms that can help you identify stress and understanding and identifying stressors or how to understand and identify stress should not be a big challenge to anyone.  You may think that mental stress will express itself exclusively in the mind, but this isn’t the case.  There are a lot of physical symptoms that go together with increased stress.  If you think about it for a moment, you will comprehend that it is very easy to locate a stressed person when you see one.

Generally, in understanding and identifying stressors or how to understand and identify stress, you should know that stress can be associated with a lack of sleep, incapability to sleep, or oversleeping.  Neck pain, back pains and stiffness are also indications of stress.  Headaches have also been found to be related to stress, to the point that you can hear people saying:  “He has a stress headache”.  Try and think of the sort of headaches you are having; some of them may be related to stress.

Finally, in understanding and identifying stressors or how to understand and identify stress, the other conditions associated with stress are heartburn and gas, stomach pain and cramps, constipation and diarrhea.  Hair loss has also been found to be related to increased stress levels.  Skin problems might also indicate stress, in some cases causing them and in others making them worst.  Additionally, diseases like psoriasis and eczema tend to greatly turn bad under stress. However, everybody reacts differently to stress.  The way one reacts to stress determines whether the stress causes negative or positive effects and important in understanding and identifying stressors or how to understand and identify stress.

What Is Stress Management?

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What is stress management? This is a common question to people who do not know the meaning of what stress management is. Stress management is a process that involves a range of techniques and psychotherapies that are aimed at controlling the level of chronic stress. Roughly this is what stress management is. It is important to emphasize here while we are trying to understand what stress management, something about chronic stress is. Chronic stress is dangerous and can affect your personality and your productivity at work, school or your day to day activities.

Going on with our discussion on what is stress management, you will realize that most stress management techniques involve some self-help processes and activities to reduce stress and provide positive feelings of being in control of one’s life and promote general well-being.

Great Steps on Stress Management

Looking further into what is stress management, how effective various techniques of techniques are depending on you. Managing stress is all about taking charge. Taking charge of your thoughts, your emotions, your schedule, your environment, and the way you deal with problems are great steps of managing stress. The ultimate goal is a balanced life, with time for work, relationships, relaxation and fun.  The flexibility to hold up when under pressure and meet challenges head-on is also a good self-help technique to help you manage stress.

Finally, on what is stress management, stress management helps you know how to handle any form of stress that may come on your way. It helps you get prepared with different tips, techniques and activities that help you cope with stress.

Through stress management, you will be able to know if you should change the situation that acts as a stressor or you should cope with the situation since it cannot be changed or avoided. Some stressors are very minor and can easily be handled.

Stress Management – How to Manage Stress and How to Control Stress

After identifying the source of your stress, you now need to choose a healthy way to manage stress. There is so much information on stress management. The internet has become a great source of information. Nevertheless, the availability of this information has lead to the confusion of many people who are going through stress. There is two classifications of managing stress, healthy and unhealthy ways. Our focus will not be on the unhealthy ways on how to manage stress. We shall focus on the healthy ways on how to manage stress or the healthy ways on how to control stress.

Unhealthy Ways and Strategies on How to Control Stress and Manage Stress

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Most people end up using unhealthy strategies of managing stress. These strategies may temporarily reduce stress but they cause more damage to your body in the long run. These unhealthy strategies include:

  • Smoking
  • Drinking too much alcohol
  • Overeating or under eating
  • Withdrawing from friends, family and activities
  • Using pills or drugs to relax
  • Sleeping too much
  • Procrastinating
  • Taking out your stress on other people, pets or things

To identify some of the unhealthy strategies used to manage stress, you need to consider the fact that any strategy that does not improve your emotional and physical health is an unhealthy strategy of managing stress. Some of these strategies cause your addiction and dependence on the process. Strategies such as smoking and taking alcohol may be harmful to your body and may cause addiction. I do not want to convince anyone to go for the above ways or strategies on how to manage stress or control stress. I prefer only the healthy ways on how to control stress.

Healthy Strategies and Ways on How to Manage Stress – Healthy Ways to Control Stress

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There are other healthy and safe ways to manage stress. These strategies to manage stress in a healthy and safe way require you to either change the situation or change your reaction towards the situation.

For instance, the first healthy way on how to manage stress is to avoid the stressor. Generally, there are four choices you could make when you want to control stress in a healthy way. You can choose to avoid a situation that causes you to stress, alter or change the situation to fit your ability, adapt to the situation, or accept the situation and learn to live with it. These are the four main strategies of stress management or ways on how to manage stress.

From the above four strategies or ways on how to manage stress, it should be clear that not all of them can be applicable al the time. Your choice of these four steps is fully dependant on the stressor. In a situation where the stressor is beyond your control such as suffering from a disease such as cancer, you cannot change or avoid the situation all you can do is adapt or accept the situation. The best way to handle situations that are above your ability is by accepting. I have been through a similar situation and I can assure you that accepting a situation gives you a sigh of relief and it feels as if a burden so heavy has fallen off your shoulders.

Illustration on How to Manage Stress and How to Control Stress

Some years back, I lost someone who was so dear to me. I felt like the entire world was crumbling, everything lost its meaning and I felt so much emptiness in my heart.  After being bedridden for months being in a critical condition, I felt desperate and only wished for the best. Unfortunately, death occurred in a situation when I was under so much stress. This was a big blow to me, after several months of losing a part of me, I was devastated and stress started taking control over me. My health was deteriorating; I had lost so many pounds until one day when I started thinking of my life and felt I needed to make some changes. I had a full life before me and so many people who depended on me and would be greatly affected if anything bad happened to me.

After thinking for some time, I felt that there was no need of suffering from stress due to a situation that was beyond me. Death is a situation that cannot be changed or avoided. What helped me is accepting the situation and learning to live with it. This is what I would advise you to try. It may not be easy to accept but if you take a step of trying to accept the situation, you will feel relieved and have a healthier and happier life free of stress.

Going on with our discussion on stress management – How to manage stress and how to control stress. We should look at another illustration on how to control stress and it is work stress. Work stress and family stress can be easily changed or avoided. Most people have constrained relationships with their boss at work or with their spouse which causes them stress. Time management is very important if you want to have a good working relationship with your boss. If you manage your time wisely you will not have problems with completing the work before the deadline. This is a simple strategy on avoiding stress pressures from work.

Finally on how to manage stress and how to control stress, let us look at family stress. Family stress can be avoided by being open and talking about your problem with your spouse when there is a misunderstanding. Adapt, accept, alter and avoid are the key things in any successful stress management process.

How to effectively create and maintain a healthy mental outlook to keep stress at a Minimum

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To start our discussion on how to effectively create and maintain a healthy mental outlook to keep stress at a minimum, with the increase of the possibility of contracting major ailments such as chronic and degenerative diseases, people are intensely searching for the therapy that may help them maintain a healthy mental outlook to keep stress at a minimum. When we experience physical symptoms of any ailment, we try as quickly as possible to find the right medicinal resources to soothe ourselves and to restore our health. We approach a variety of health professionals especially if it is a severe illness. Sophisticated equipment becomes available to us in order to find a cure. However, we fail to understand that health does not only encompass the physical dimension but also our mental and social well being. True health mental outlook depends on you.

Furthermore, it should be clear in this article on how to effectively create and maintain a healthy mental outlook to keep stress at a minimum that our state of health involves the physical, social and mental state. Any factor that either negatively or positively affects any of these states greatly affects our lives. What we see, listen to or what we read whether attentively or superficially has either a negative or positive effect on us. We are what we eat and what we think ourselves to be. The majority of the health problems that we experience are brought about by the interpersonal situation of our daily life or from events that happen in our life.

Nevertheless, I would wish to mention in this article on how to effectively create and maintain a healthy mental outlook to keep stress at a minimum, stress can also be caused by some nagging concerns about your job, health, finances, or family members. Talking about what’s on your mind to people you trust, like friends, family, or co-workers makes you feel f good just to get your feelings out into the open. Do not be so proud to admit when you need assistance. You can get moral or emotional support from people who you trust.

Another great way of managing stress and maintaining a healthy mental outlook is by being prepared for difficult situations, managing your time well, and solving problems quickly can help you avoid unnecessary stress.  Set reasonable targets and be realistic about your capability. This way you will avoid setting high targets that you cannot achieve which will cause you so much disappointment. Make sure you resolve issues before they get out of hand. Whenever you are concerned about a situation whether it is at work or at home, deal with it early to keep it from becoming more serious. Problems are always easier to handle before they develop into calamities.

Finally on our discussion on how to effectively create and maintain a healthy mental outlook to keep stress at a minimum, stress affects each one of us; both adults and children, nevertheless our levels of stress vary. It is impossible to fully avoid stress but it is possible to keep stress under control by setting realistic expectations, learning how to keep problems in perspective, and enjoying relaxing breaks from the daily demands of life.