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This paper defines the word “stress” and offers either negative and positive effects or impacts of stress on individuals. The paper examines the various types and causes of stress and offers an insight on how destructive stress can be controlled or handled. Furthermore, this paper explains the negative impacts that occur as a result of stress and presents the reader with various ways through which stress can be avoided. The paper indicates the fact that stress does not only have negative impacts alone but also has positive impacts as well through explaining both the positive and negative impacts of stress on individuals.

In conclusion the paper gives the way forward on what should be done to avoid the negative impacts of stress and gives reliable advice that individuals can use. The paper explains all relevant points regarding stress by giving all the relevant evidence regarding stress. 

Stress is known to emanate from various things and, thus, is known to cause many problems in the life of an individual. Since times immemorial, stress has been known to affect human beings under different circumstances and situations. Stress, according to psychology, refers to an unpleasant state of psychological and emotional arousal which is experienced in situations or environments which they perceive to be threatening or dangerous to their well-being. A recent survey conducted confirmed that over 76% of individuals said that they did experience notable signs of stress. The stress management can be both confusing and complicated since there are different types of stress. The main three types of stress include - chronic stress, episodic acute stress and acute stress. Each type of stress is characterized by its own duration, symptoms and treatment approaches. In almost every society, almost each and every individual has some form or type of stress. “Stressors” are usually known to cause stress. Therefore, such stressors can be either emotional or physical, externally or internally generated. As a result, stressors can be situations, people, events or demands which someone perceives to be the major stress source in an individual’s life. Even though there are various kinds of stressors, the most common one is change. Change may occur due to loss of a loved person, injury or illness, career change and lifestyle changes (Blonna p. 5).

Stressors or the causes of stress usually vary among age groups.  For instance teens, children and adults can all experience stress but there are some types of stressors which are specific to certain types of individuals or the age factor. The major sources of stress are usually grouped into “catastrophes and crises, daily hassles and major life events”. Some examples of the micro stress may be car problems, misplacing keys, noise and conflicts that arise in interpersonal relationships. All known stress sources emanate from the dynamic creation of large urban agglomerations which brings about population growth, life speed, environmental pollution, crime increase and even high levels of noise.

The prevalence of stress has several impacts and effects on the body. The doctors estimated that stress is responsible for many sicknesses and illnesses in societies all over the world. Stress is also known to cause and prolong sickness and increase its severity.  Stress symptoms can affect an individual’s thoughts, body, feelings and behavior. Stress can have an adverse effect on the immune system since constant stress can worsen the person’s health especially if one has a chronic disease such as AIDS. Stress can affect one’s emotions and thoughts making such an individual become unable to deal with small problems and, thus, make that person loose temper more often becomes frustrated and feel tired all the time.

Pressures and situations known to cause stress (stressors) can be either negative, like, for instance, having an exhausting work schedule, or positive - like buying a house or getting married and even receiving promotion. Stress, whether positive or negative, can affect individuals in various ways. Stress is not always bad since in small doses, stress can help an individual to work under pressure and motivate such an individual to do his/her best. However, when such a person is constantly operating in emergency mode, the body and the mind pay the price.  A stressed individual has difficulty in remembering and concentrating and typically has anxious thoughts. Stress is also responsible for a change in outward behaviors and common signs of stress can include hand wringing, teeth clenching, heavy breathing, pacing and nail biting. Physiological effects or impacts of stress, that is normally associated with emotion of anxiety, include cold feet and hands, butterflies in the stomach and increased heart rates.

Stress is caused when an individual becomes depressed or angry and cannot control the depression or anger. This can make such an individual act differently physically and emotionally, thus, making the body experience many changes. Muscles and vessels in the body become smaller and tightened if one is tense causing the skin to swallow over a period of time. Hives can be triggered through the release of neuropeptides. This causes worsening existing cases of rosacea, psoriasis, and eczema. The body, when under stress can increase bodily secretions leading to body odour, breakups, a decrease in antibody levels, making an individual become prone to cold sores (Stranks 2005, p. 150).

If not well managed, stress can result in wide ranging effects on mood, behavior and emotions. Thus, stress can have various effects on body systems, tissues and organs. There are numerous physical and emotional disorders which have been linked to stress and this includes heart attacks, depression, strokes, anxiety, disturbances in immune systems which results in increased susceptibility to infections and strokes. In addition to that, stress also has direct effects on people’s skin like hive, rashes and atopic dermatitis and these are known to contribute to insomnia and neurological disorders like Parkinson’s disease. It is difficult to name illnesses not affected by stress. The effects of stress heavily contribute towards students’ misconduct in many learning institutions. It happens because many students tend to misconduct themselves as a solution of dealing with stress. Some of the students’ actions of misconduct include smoking, drinking, cheating in exams.    

Stress, which is usually responsible for two thirds of overall visits to the physician, is caused by various external attitudes, perceptions and external circumstances. According to the studies, conducted by Rahe and Holmes (1967) from the University of Washington, on the connection that existed between vital life events and illnesses, it was ascertained that the major causes of stress arose as a result of external environments. By the time the two conducted the study, there were a total of 55 stress triggers and after the list was reviewed in 2006, 63 major causes of stress were unveiled. Various studies determined that most common stressors nowadays are financial problems, workplace stress, personal relationships, irritants and health (Pfaff p.253).

Financial problems are known to be the number one cause of stress in the contemporary society. Being unable to cater for one’s family because of lack of money, piling debts, pending mortgage installments, credit card payments, expensive education, and rising expenditure on health concerns are some of the financial matters that are responsible for stress among many individuals. Stress at the workplace is also a major crux. People may become worried about their next promotion, face bullying and negative boss behavior, failure to reach one’s well deserved goals in career, office politics etc. The prospect of losing ones job and fear of imminent changes are also responsible for causing stress (Adamson 2009, p.1).

Personal relationships which includes moving out or in of elder children in the family, having arguments with children or spouse, change of place as a result of job requirements, attitude of relatives and other personal relationships usually heavily contribute or cause stress. Health concerns of people who are afflicted by hypertension, heart diseases, bad eye sight can become a major cause of stress in such individuals. Moreover, stress can be caused as a result of individuals’ concerns regarding reduction of weight, maintenance of good health, increasing of weight and ability of leading health lives.

Stress can also arise from irritations and annoyances encountered by individuals in their daily lives. Balancing family life and work, not having enough sleep, lacking time to discuss nagging issues, workloads, lack of time to relax and problems arising from commuting to the workplace are some of the irritations and annoyances that can cause stress in people (Fink 2009, p. 467). 

In conclusion, everything should be done in order to avoid stress and one of the best options is developing resilience and never letting stress to bog you down. One should start breaking out of the daily stresses through practicing stress releasing exercises. This will aid in freeing oneself from the main stress causes which affect peoples’ lives daily. In order to relieve stress, some relaxation techniques like progressive muscle relaxation, deep breathing, yoga and visualization makes the body remain physically and mentally healthy. This ensures that stress levels are kept within manageable limits. Meditation, which is an integral part of both Buddhist and Hindu traditions, can also greatly reduce stress. In order to reduce the effects of stress, the use of exercises, massage, guided imagery, music, deep breathing, aroma therapy, self hypnosis and humor should be greatly utilized.       

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