Stress is defined as “any circumstances that threaten or are perceived to threaten one’s well-being and thereby tax one’s coping abilities” (Weiten & Lloyd, 2006, p. 72). Stress is a natural event that exists literally in all areas of one’s life. It can be embedded in the environment, culture, or perception of an event or idea. Stress is a constant burden, and can be detrimental to one’s physical and mental health. However stress can also provide beneficial effects; it can satisfy one’s need for stimulation and challenge, promote personal growth, and can provide an individual with the tools to cope with, and be less affected by tomorrow’s stress (Weiten & Lloyd, 2006, p. 93).
When stressful events occur three types of responses take place, an emotional response, a physiological response, and a behavioral response. Negative emotional responses such as anxiety, anger, and grief are common responses to stress. However, in some cases, an individual may exhibit positive emotions when coping with stressful situations. According to Folkman and Moskowiz, positive emotions promote resilience in the face of stress by promoting creativity, problem solving, flexibility, and can enhance physical and psychological health (Weiten & Lloyd, 2006, p. 84).
The fight or flight response is a physiological reaction to a perceived threat of danger, in which the body prepares itself to either fight or flee an attacker. During this response certain hormones are released, which speed the heart rate, slow digestion, and reroutes blood flow, in order to elicit the desired response of fight or flight.
The behavioral response to stress involves coping. “Coping refers to active efforts to master, reduce, or tolerate the demands created by stress” (Weiten & Lloyd, 2006, pp. 88-89). There are various ways to cope with stress, both positive and negative. Aggression and self indulgence are examples of negative coping strategies. Both aggression and self indulgence are harmful and have negative effects both psychologically and physiologically. Positive coping strategies, or constructive coping, refer to strategies that are healthy when dealing with stress. Constructive coping strategies involve realistic appraisals of the situation, directly confronting the situation, organizing and managing the potentially disruptive emotional reactions to stress, and exerting some control over the negative habitual behaviors (Weiten & Lloyd, 2006, p. 114).
In order to effectively manage stress an individual must first accurately identify the sources of the stress. Psychological tests such as the Social Readjustment Rating Scale (SRRS), or the Life Experiences Survey (LES), can aid in identifying the extent in which events or situations that are perceived as stressful. The SRRS test measures life change as a form of stress. Values are assigned to 43 major life events that reflect the degree of the readjustment required by each change (Weiten & Lloyd, 2006). A high score on the SRRS...