Stress Essay Stress is the response that takes place when an individual faces particular demand or
threat as well as the demand for survival (Wilson and Raphael 958). The human body has a way
to respond to the threats that arise through the active participation of the nervous system.
Hormones are released including cortisol and adrenaline causing the body to prepare for
emergency action. The symptoms that become evident includes rise in the blood pressure, the
heart pounds faster, the breath quickens, muscles tighten and in most individuals, the senses
become sharper. After the symptoms show, a strategy for protection takes place known as “fight
or flight” (Seaward 7). An individual experience increased reaction time, stamina and strength,
enhanced focus amongst other characteristics that enable an individual to react to the stressors.
Stressors are environmental or chemical aspects that affect the normal functioning of the
body due to the induced pressure. A significant number of stressors are external whereas others
are self-generated as outlined in the table below.
External Stressors Internal Stressors
Significant changes in life
School or work
Family and children
Low levels of flexibility
Hans Selye conducted studies that led to the establishment of three phases of stress
response that were summarized in a model regarded as the General Adaptation Syndrome. The
first stage includes the alarm stage that characterizes the initial reaction to stress (Seaward 13).
The body acknowledges the presence of a stressor and reacts in preparation to respond to the
stress. At this juncture, the body goes through the fight or flight scenario. It is characterized by
the release of hormones including cortisol, adrenaline and others enabling an individual to
perform activities that are enhanced as compared with the normal functioning.
The second stage includes the resistance stage that is characterized by a reduction or the
eradication of the stress (Seaward 13). The body has utilized significant energy that needs to be
recovered. Additionally, the damaged tissues need to be repaired, which demands allocation of
energy. The nervous system begins to produce fewer stress hormones as the body calms down
from the fight or flight stage. Regardless of the body shifting and cooling down, the nervous
system remains alert to ensure that the existing stressors are dealt with continuously to ensure
that normal body functioning is achieved. Lastly, the exhaustion stage is characterized by the
loss of the ability to fight the stressors due to the draining of the energy (Seaward 13). In
addition, there is a reduction in the capacity to combat harmful impact that may result from the
stressors. The exhaustion stage in acute cases can lead to stress overload, which can cause health
Ways to handle stress
As mentioned earlier, the stressors may be from the environment, social engagement, and
internal reasons. Similarly, the strategies of dealing with stress are grouped into three categories.
The first one includes social engagement that encourages a relationship between an individual
with other peers. Companionship allows individuals to feel safe and calm regardless of the
significant potential stressor that exist. Activities such as making eye contact and attentive
listening assists in making someone feel calm and lower the defensive forces such as the fight or
flight. Some of the factors such as blood pressure, digestion, heartbeat, and response time are
noted to function in a normal manner. Remaining calm and in a social setting allows individuals
to act in a normal way also assists in the preparation for stress (Lehrer, Woolfolk and Sime 271).
The latter is achieved since there is no significant energy consumed when an individual remains
calm. For instance, during the examination period, I get nervous especially when the first paper
ends up being tough. Stress arises wondering how the other papers will be like. Some of my
concerns include will they be as tough as the first one, where will I begin my revision, do I need
to change the revision techniques. The examination becomes my stressor and spending time with
my friends help me to relax and prepare for the others with a significant reduction of anxiety.
The other strategy for handling stress and preparing for the same includes ensuring
regular exercise (Lehrer, Woolfolk and Sime 336). During fight or flight stage, people tend to
use energy and muscles to carry out the activities that the body engages in immediately. Regular
exercise will assist the muscles to be ready always to react to a particular situation that may arise
without adequate preparedness. Endorphins are released during exercises that assist an
individual’s mood in relaxing and feel good. Another strategy includes the adoption of AL
Galves notion of saying yes to stress. During the alarm stage, individuals produce hormones that
enable individuals to experience the fight or flight aspect. Galves suggests that individuals ought
to take advantage of the fight or flight scenario to do productive activities as opposed to harmful
ones. The suggestion makes sense since, in the fight or flight stage, some individuals fail to use
the heightened abilities that allow an individual respond to the threat.
Lastly, individuals ought to learn to accept situations and circumstances that they cannot
alter. Such a consideration assists the individual to prevent acute stages of stress thus minimizing
risks of damage that may take place particularly in relation to health. As a conclusion, every
individual faces stressor but dealing with them is relatively personal. Therefore, a person ought
to be prepared to react to stressors and deal with stress as well especially through regular
Lehrer, Paul M., Robert L. Woolfolk, and Wesley E. Sime. Principles and Practice of Stress
Management, Third Edition. New York: Guilford Press, 2007. Document.
Seaward, Brian Luke. Managing Stress: Principles and Strategies for Health and Well-Being –
BOOK ALONE. Burlington: Jones & Bartlett Publishers, 2009. Document.
Wilson, John P. and Beverley Raphael. International Handbook of Traumatic Stress Syndromes.
New York: Springer Science & Business Media, 2013. Document.
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