Stress: Why Does It Happen and How Can We Manage It?

“I’m stressed out” is one of the most common phrases an average adult says at least once a day in our modern world. People are stressed all the time due to a variety of reasons. We have so many tasks to complete, distractions, decisions to make etc. that release a feeling of stress. I chose to write about this topic because Stress influences our life’s massively and has effects on our mental and physical health that we are not even aware of.

What I am mainly trying to explore in this essay is why some people are affected by stress very badly and others seem basically immune to it. I am going to work on those three questions: What is stress? Is stress necessary and do we need it in our lives? Why do some people get more affected by stress than others?

What is stress? Stress has plenty of different definitions. According to the American Medical Association stress is everything that affects our psychological and physical welfare.

During the process of writing about the meaning and definition of stress I came up with a question. Is stress necessary and do we need it in our lives? I know that stress goes way back whenever human beings had to fight for their survival, but I wanted to expand my knowledge about the necessity of stress. For this matter, I found an e-book on the lee college catalog. The name of the book is “Smart Guide to relieving stress”, it was published in 1999 and written by Bodger, Carole.

Stress is a big part of our lives. Without it we would not know when something is wrong, dangerous or needs to be changed. Stress sends signals through our body that there’s a need of changing the current situation.

It helps us to bring up the effort to actually actively make a difference. It does not matter if the type of threat is emotional, physical, anticipated, imagined, financial etc.. Stress is basically a response and reaction to danger and is a helpful tool to better and rectify the current situation. To answer my question: Yes, stress is a necessity and very helpful.

Another thing, I always wondered about is why people are affected differently by stress. Why do some people get stressed, while others can just brush it off? To answer this question, I searched the library catalog for more sources and I actually found an electronic book with a chapter talking exactly about that. The name is “All That Matters: Stress” by Hyland, Michael was published 2014. Hyland explains that there are seven different reasons for that.

He starts off with personality. As we all know people think and behave in different manners. Hyland explains that there are different dimensions in personality. He claims that the two most important one’s are neuroticism versus stability. Neurotic people respond to stress more and people with low neuroticism are very stable in their behavior. Someone that is neurotic tends to be moody and affected by stress more easily. So, if both a neurotic and person with high stability are in the same situation with the same stressors, the neurotic person is more likely to get moody, anxious, frustrated etc. If one is a neurotic person depends mainly on genes. However, one’s surroundings play also a fundamental role.

The second reason for some people to get more stressed than others is their objective and goals in life. The value that people give to goals depends a lot on their current situation of life. Including financial, marital, age, health factors etc. It basically means that if one’s life is changed or could be changed drastically through a stressor, the probability for them to get stressed out is very high.

Third of all, people have a variety of goal conflicts. A very common phenomenon is the work-life balance concept.

The fourth reason he illustrates is the coping with stress. I always wondered what the different approaches are when dealing with stress. What I found out by reading this chapter of the book is that different people define stressful situations either as a threat or an opportunity. But why do people to see stressor as a threat or a positive challenge. Here is where the personality comes back in the game. If one is optimistic towards their future, they are more likely to see a stressor as something positive. After interpreting a stressor, the person decides what the reaction to this stressor is going to be. People that are resilient and high in self-efficacy, believe they can change anything, which helps them in stressful situations. On the other hand, a person who is non-efficacious feels helpless and the stress takes over.

There are three more reasons Hyland talks about. The first one, is that if people are protected socially, they are protected from stress more. Secondly, being physically active has a very positive effect on stress. And lastly, he claims that stress is often created by people. This means that someone who is hostile and very competitive for example might develop a stress situation in their mind that is not even existing.

Throughout this paper, I decided to focus on the reasons why some people are more affected by stress than others because that is something I always wondered about. Why I choose to write about stress is because it is and even becoming a bigger problem every day due to new developments, technologies, the pressure to get jobs, etc. By researching about this topic I found a lot of valuable information but there’s still plenty I would like to research about.

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