The contents of this essay shall outline the physiological and the psychological effects that consume the human body during stress. This essay will also consider evidence and discuss positive and negative coping mechanisms that are employed in the hope of combating stress. The conclusion shall summarise effective coping strategies that are known to have positive results.
When stress is experienced over a period of time and has manifested itself as chronic stress; the physiological effects can be quite frightening and even catastrophic. It has been exhibited that the immune system reduces; this allows the body to become susceptible to colds, the flu and viral infections. The heart is known to be affected by high blood pressure, arrhythmia, clotting and thickening of the arteries, it has also been suggested that there are strong links between chronic stress and coronary disease, heart attacks and even heart failure (Medicine Net, 2013). Sufferers are known to experience altered sleep patterns or even insomnia, making day to day activities harder to execute. Muscles can be affected and constant tension can lead to neck, shoulder, and lower back pain; rheumatoid arthritis may become aggravated over time. Digestive and stomach problems such as reflux, ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome, or ulcerative colitis have known to be aggravated by stress. Skin problems such as acne and existing skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis are proven to flare up (Energetic Nutrition, 2013).
Chronic stress can also have damaging psychological affects which leaves the sufferer cognitively impaired and unable to function in everyday tasks or handle situations appropriately. Mood swings will see sufferers become more irritable which can lead to angry outbursts over trivial matters. Other aspects of psychological stress have been proven to be depression, low self-esteem or self-worth and feelings of hopelessness or guilt and powerlessness these feelings can lead to very little interest in activities that otherwise used to be enjoyed. Individuals affected by chronic stress may display behavioural changes, increased risk taking and develop negative coping mechanisms (Stress Relief, 2012).
Coping mechanisms can be defined as behaviours, thoughts or emotions that are adjusted to adapt to the changes that emerge in life, otherwise known as life stressors (Semel, 2013). These life stressors will come in two forms; negative and positive. Causes of negative stress or distress can transpire through events such as death of a loved one, loss of employment, breakdown in a relationship and financial worries. Positive stressors otherwise known as eustress can appear upon the birth of a baby, starting a new job or travelling abroad; all of the above will require the use of coping mechanisms in order to adapt to such changes. It is the choice of coping mechanism that can make all the difference in how an individual copes and recovers from stress. Negative coping...