Stress Response In Various Situations

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A common definition found for the term stress would be a specific response by the body to a stimulus, as fear or pain, that disturbs or interferes with the normal physiological equilibrium of an organism’. My interpretation of this definition is, stress is the body’s physical, emotional or mental response to demands which are placed on us that we feel are threatening. Although everyone experiences different degrees of stress, all humans deal with some form of stress and/or stressor in their life. Due to their own perception, each person defines stress differently and responds accordingly.

Our society sees stress as a part of everyday life, we can see evidence of this in human evolution, the species that best adapted to the environment and its changes were those that prevailed, continued to evolve, and we can find today. Psychologists, scientists, and health associations publish books and give lectures to communicate ways to manage and beat stress. In other cases, some people go to therapists and psychiatrists when they have stress. Due to that, each human is extremely different, I do not understand how these methods could be effective. I don’t believe that works for one person will work nearly the same for the next. However, I strongly believe that stress is necessary as it balances out another aspect of life.

Coping with stress truly depends on the person to know what type of stress have, why was it caused, and how to combat it. Eustress is the type of stress that is good for the health, is caused by changes in a person’s life that give a good outcome, for example, if a couple is expecting a baby their lives will definitely change, but they are happy with the event and anxious of what will happen. In other words, Eustress is the type of stress that motivates people to make some changes to get a desirable result. On the other hand, Distress is a kind of “bad” stress that may lead to health and psychological problems. Many external experiences and events can cause stress; catastrophes, life changes, strains, and everyday hassles are the major causes of stress for a person.

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Another type of stress is Catastrophes or Catastrophic events are experiences, traumas, or events that create huge amounts of stress to persons, it can be unexpected, unpredictable, and it can even be life-threatening. A good example of a catastrophic experience is the terrorist attack in the World Trade Center; it created a feeling of threat and stress on a large scale among Americans. Trauma could be a physical or sexual assault, which causes stress and feelings of insecurity for a long period of time. Everyone experiences different situations in which result in a different coping mechanism as well- revisiting the notion that I don’t believe therapists, etc. are effective.

According to Professor of psychology Richard S. Lazarus, stress is defined as, ‘stress is experienced when a person perceives that the demands exceed the personal and social resources the individual can mobilize’. Although I do not feel as if I’ve reached the point of true self-actualization, I do realize that not all stress is bad, as it comes in negative or positive forms. Positive stress can encourage us to pursue situations we find a challenge, for example, giving us the extra encouragement to work harder to hand an essay in on time. Stress becomes negative when it is prolonged, this type of stress can incapacitate us and prevent us from living a normal life. Negative stress comes when we are given situations, we feel we cannot cope with for a prolonged period of time. Meanwhile, positive stress is being in a situation, we feel is a challenge, but believe we can cope with.

When encountering a stressor, the first response is the ‘fight or flight response. This natural, instinctive response clues us into possible dangers, threats, and high-energy situations. Stress is something that affects many people every day. Life is full of hassles, deadlines, frustrations, and demands. For some people stress is so common it is a way of life. Stress can be very harmful and or helpful. It could help motivate you to meet a deadline and perform a task under pressure. Stress can also be very harmful, such as memory problems, moodiness, aches and pains, and eating more or less.

Without stress, we wouldn’t experience the astonishing rewarding feeling that we do in return. I feel that self-actualization is the key to learning how to manage and beat stress. When an individual is said to be truly happy, then they see the stress responses they feel in a more positive, rewarding manner. I believe that stress is the fuel in which ignites the fire behind evolution. While the common definition of stress is agreeable, it should be refined to include that stress is a decipherable response every living organism continually experiences throughout its life span.

Most would say that stress is situations or experiences we go through. However, I firmly believe that stress is so much more than just an experience, or time period that one must face. I would define stress as a never-ending task of picking and choosing battles, choosing how to react in fight or flight situations.    

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