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Living a Stress-Free Life

Essay by   •  January 16, 2012  •  Research Paper  •  2,020 Words (9 Pages)  •  2,186 Views

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Running head: Stress

Living a Stress-Free Life

Is it possible to attain a stress free life? Is this a reasonable question to ask? A stress free life seems unimaginable and unattainable. We listen to our doctors whom give us loads of information relating to stress and tell us how to successfully balance your work and home life so that your life can be free from stress, but is there any real way to overcome stressors. If you were to ask 10 people what their definition of stress was I am sure you would get 10 different answers from all 10 different people. The reason for this is because stress varies from person to person and how each person copes with it also tends to vary.

To understand stress and how it impacts our physical and mental lives, we must educate ourselves on stress, the effects of stress, the causes of stress, the symptoms of stress and how to manage and cope with stress. Stress can be very debilitating and could impact various aspects of our everyday lives if it is not dealt with and managed effectively. I have been through various bouts of stress throughout my life and I have found different ways to combat it which will be explained later in this research paper.

As part of my research, I will define stress, the effects of stress, the cause of stress, the symptoms of stress and how to manage and cope with stress, as well as my own personal experience relating to stress. The ideal solution for everyone is to understand stress so when we are faced with situations that may cause us anxiety we are able to work effectively through it. The more knowledge we have regarding stress enables us to help ourselves as well as combat the situation.

What is Stress?

How each individual defines stress could be all comparative to how they function in their daily lives. According to Santrock (2006), "Stress is defined as the response of individuals to stressors, which are circumstances and events that threaten them and tax their coping abilities" (p. 114). Stress can be physical, mental or emotional. Stress can alter and disrupt your life often to the point that you no longer can handle daily activities effectively.

Stressors can be minor hassles such as being tied up in a traffic jam on your way to work; major lifestyle changes can be relocating to a new town and starting a new job, or a combination of both. Identifying the stressors in your life and being able to let go of the anxiety is the best way to manage stress.

One of the major stressors that I deal with on a daily basis is balancing my work, home, school and family life. It is very challenging to be a full time employee, wife, and mom as well as the many other hats that I have been trained to wear everyday. I have learned to balance my work and home life by telecommuting from home once a week and exercising. Telecommuting from home allows me to focus without distraction on my work and improves my productivity. The constant busyness of the work day and the constant interruptions while in the office are often very stressful. Working at home eliminates such interruptions. It also enables me to be there for my children when they arrive home from school and to assist them with homework and other school related things. It really has been a tremendous benefit for me to be able to telecommute and has eliminated a big part of the stress I feel on a daily basis. I also try to commit to walking at least 3 miles or more a day on the treadmill or the walking trail. Exercising clears my mind, relaxes me and reduces the stress that I sometimes am overwhelmed with. I am also able to maintain a reasonable weight and it promotes a healthier lifestyle for me.

Listed below are some of the common stressors that can affect people at all stages of life:

* Illness, either personal or of a family member or friend.

* Death of a friend or loved one.

* Problems in a personal relationship.

* Work overload.

* Starting a new job.

* Unemployment.

* Retirement.

* Pregnancy.

* Crowds.

* Relocation.

* Daily hassles.

* Legal problems.

* Financial concerns.

* Perfectionism. (Heart Disease and Stress, 2005, para.7.)

The statistics on stress and its effects on the body, mind, and emotions are staggering. According to Rozman (2005), "The American Institute of Stress notes that 75 to 90 percent of visits to primary care physicians are for stress-related complaints. A Harvard study shows that people who live in a state of high anxiety are four and a half times more likely to suffer sudden cardiac death than non-anxious individuals. In 2002, people in the United States bought nearly $17.2 billions worth of antidepressants and antianxiety drugs for stress- related ailments" (p. 1). What I found to be very surprising in my research on this topic is the detriment that stress can cause to your physical body and your mental state of mind.

I can recall that my first bout with stress was when I was about twelve years old. My brother and I who is one year younger than I were playing out in the neighborhood park. It started to get dark and we decided that it was time for us to start making our way home through the tough streets of New York. Once we reached our corner, one of the neighborhood thugs approached my brother and me and demanded that he give him his bike. We both stood their like mannequins frozen with fear unable to speak a word. The bully had us blocked in all directions so we couldn't go in front, in back or around him. Basically, the only thing that we could do was stand there listen to him berate us or give him the bike in hope that he would go away quickly and be satisfied. As he continued to badger us, we began to cry loudly. Shaken with fear, my brother hurriedly jumped off his bike and we both took off running for home never once looking back. Yes, the bully had gotten what he wanted and my brother and I were afraid for a while to every go back



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