Reducing Stress Through Intentional Measures Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

stress conjures up different things for different people, yet stress is a universal: everyone experiences stress throughout their life. Stress can be both good and bad depending on how it impacts the person who is experiencing the stress, and what other variables are present in the person's life at the time. Stress can result from positive happy events in people's lives, such as when a new baby is born. Stress can also result from negative contexts or conditions over which people do not have control. Some types of stress and some ways of responding to stress are associated with higher levels of disease. Naturally, on the flip side, some ways of responding to stress actually serve to reduce the stress and the negative impact that the stress has on the individual person. Regardless of what people would like to believe or deny, stress impacts every aspect of people's lives: emotional, physiological, mental, and interpersonal relations.

Stress researchers talk about the locus of stressors. That is to say that experts recognize that stress can come from within or without a person, and it can occur in association with something from the past as well as things that are occurring in the present. Complications and difficulties arrive in people's lives in a steady stream. Whether or not they are able to deal with the stressors has a lot to do with whether they have developed sufficient coping skills and whether they are psychologically, physiologically, and socially prepared to address the challenges they face.

Interestingly, people are biologically equipped to deal with stress indifferent ways -- some of which are less successful or healthful than others. Genetic makeup can predispose people to high or low levels of stress, depending on their physiological responses, such as adrenal gland activity, blood pressure, and heart rate. Sustained or chronic stress is harmful to the body and can lead to the onset of chronic and debilitating disease, as well as substance abuse. Cognitive processing also impacts how people respond to stress, as everyone conducts either spontaneous or planned appraisal of threats in the environment. When life events are experienced as overwhelming for whatever reason, an individual's ability to think, concentrate, remember, and problem solve may all be impacted. Everyday interpersonal relationships can be sources of major stressors in the lives of people. Stressful interpersonal relationships can occur in the home and in the work environment, as well as just about any place in the community. Indeed, any environment is susceptible to disaster -- both manmade and natural -- which can produce situations that are excessively stressful.

Stressful situations are often characterized by one or more attributes that form a risk constellation with additive power. In other words, the more of these stressful attributes that coalesce around a life event, the more stressful and impactful an individual can experience the situation. These attributes are generally common knowledge, although experts may refer to them in more technical language, and they include: Ambiguity, difficult timing, life transitions, low controllability, and low desirability. The way that people perceive stressful events, and the biological and psychological reactions that are triggered by stress are highly variable across people. Some stress can be motivating and encourage people to step up to the mark or come through in a tight spot. Indeed, low to moderate intermittent stress is a key motivator for some people.

Contemporary science has established the connection between the mind and the body, such that a clear connection is knowns to exist between the impact of mental states and emotional conditions have on the functioning of the body. Everyone has the potential to develop certain diseases or conditions as a result of their genetic predispositions. The probability of actually contracting the disease or developing the condition is highly related to the way that people respond to the inevitable stressors in their lives.

Some serious diseases, such as chronic heart disease, are impacted by chronic stress at a cellular, endocrine, and physical level. The endocrine system is highly reactive to stress as it is tied to the fight or flight system that is based on evolutionary survival physiology. Personality types are associated with the ebb and flow and intensity of emotional responses to stress. As such, patterns of behavior have…

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