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Stress refers to an internal mental state of an individual that may occur due to various physical demands of the body arising from the changes in environmental and social conditions that are potentially harmful to the human body. The stressors causing alterations in the adaptive capacities of the human psychology and the physical being. In many instances, stress is negatively regarded. However, the impacts of stress on an individual may be positive or negative depending on the opportunities for change that result from positive stress. Negative stress is manifested when a physical or psychological change in the environmental or social conditions surrounding an individual deprives the person of the required spirit for activating peak performance. Stress coping mechanisms vary from the nature of stressors on an individual. Coping is not only necessary in the event of negative stress but also in the event of positively stressing situations that result in pleasant changes. Imperatively, stress has adverse impacts on the health of an individual if not well managed.
Types of Stressors
Stress may result from physical injury or infections on some parts of the body due to various environmental hazards. This causes the body to alter its responsive mechanism to accommodate the new physiological state of the body. Such changes force the body initiate defensive mechanisms to prevent the changes from completely altering the basic body functions. The process of defining the corrective mechanism results in the body stress. There also different types of stress resulting from physical activities that result in various forms of environmental pollution such as noise, air pollution, and even climatic changes (Wethington, Glanz, & Schwartz, 2015). Moreover, frustrations and conflicts resulting daily activities related to work, family, financial, and health issues are also common causes of stress. Once each of these types of stressors is induced on the human body, the result in internal alterations that initiate the body responses for coping. Apart from the body responses, people have also developed various mechanisms of coping with stress depending on the factors causing stress.
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Impacts of Stress on Health
Low levels of stress do not necessarily have harmful outcomes on an individual since the significantly contribute to increased performance when properly managed. However, high-stress levels are harmful to both physiological and psychological health. This is due to the associated behavioral changes that impair someone’s ability to function efficiently and make the appropriate decisions on issues of critical importance to the mental and physiological health of a person.
Impacts of Stress of Physiological Health
Stress resulting from the alternation of the normal body functions due to physical injury or changes in the environment negatively affect the physiological health of an individual. When such stressors persist for a long period of time, they result in body disorders that cause deterioration of physical health. Stressors affecting the physiological being result reduced body immunity that creates an environment for body disorders such as ulcers, high blood pressure, breathing problems, heart diseases, chronic fatigue, and hormonal imbalances (Park & Lacocca, 2014). If someone experiencing high-stress levels does not respond appropriately to address these body disorders, it may result in serious health complications.
In many cases, stress does not result from the alteration of the normal biological body functions. The stressors, in this case, results in the mental disturbance which damages the psychological health through anxiety and depression that results in the behavioral change on an individual. A shift in the mental state of a person may be caused by various factors which may be environmental or social related issues. The impacts of these changes on the psychological health causes increased levels of nervousness, tension, hopelessness, and irritability on the person (Lovallo, 2015). These forms of mental disturbances negatively affect the ability of an individual to think rationally and focus on productive activities. This causes individuals to indulge in drug abuse as they try to cope with stress.
There a variety of ways through which someone can cope with stress depending on the type of stressors. The two main mechanisms of coping with stress are the instrumental and emotional coping. Instrumental coping is concerned with focusing on the stressor and developing mechanisms to find a solution to the problem causing stress. On the other hand, emotional coping mechanism adopts a different approach that focuses on alleviating the impacts of the problem instead of tackling the problem firsthand. However, there more specific approaches that can be used effectively to manage or eliminate stress in the long-term. These mechanisms are mainly activities that focus on ensuring a healthy state of body and mind. These include engaging in physical exercise, allowing sufficient time for relaxation, and adopting behavioral self-control mechanisms.
Coping with stress is among the most pertinent issues affecting the modern society. This is due to the diversification of stressors, especially when dealing with the usual work, social, financial, and family pressures. More people are seeking better coping mechanisms to avoid the health impacts of the stress on their daily activities as well as the financial consequences. Imperatively, the increase in lifestyle diseases such as high blood pressure, depression, anxiety, and heart issues are some of the health issues related directly to stress. Therefore, it’s important for people to adopt the best coping mechanisms especially by doing regular physical exercise, having enough rest, and adopting behavioral control mechanisms.
- Lovallo, W. R. (2015). Stress and health: Biological and psychological interactions. Sage publications.
- Park, C. L., & Iacocca, M. O. (2014). A stress and coping perspective on health behaviors: theoretical and methodological considerations. Anxiety, Stress & Coping, 27(2), 123-137.
- Wethington, E., Glanz, K., & Schwartz, M. D. (2015). Stress, coping, and health behavior. Health behavior: Theory, research, and practice, 223.