Stress Information

Health condition

When experiencing stress, you may be affected totally, not only in your body but also in your emotional reactions, your personal thoughts, and your relations with others.

The following list of stress symptoms contains the most typical reactions to stress. It can also help you begin focusing on ways to manage stress. Check any symptoms you have noticed lately in yourself. Add any symptoms that are not on the list.

· Physical
weight change
change in appetite
digestive upsets
pounding heart
tighten up/ neck and shoulders ache
accident prone
drug, tobacco use
increased alcohol
teeth grinding

· Mental
dull senses
poor concentration
no new ideas
low productivity
negative attitude

· Emotional
the “blues”
mood swings
nervous laugh
bad temper
crying spells
easily discouraged
lowered sex drive
fewer contacts
lashing out with friends
clamming up
using people

Excessive stress in your life interferes with your interpersonal relationships at home, on the job, and socially. It can make you spend your efforts on not being unhappy, rather than on being happy. Stress can waste your vitality and deplete your personal energy resources that could be used for enjoyment.

You can become negatively influenced in your attitudes and feelings about yourself more easily. In addition, medical research estimates as much as 90 percent of illness and disease is stress-related. Stress can interfere with your physical functioning and bodily processes like:

· High blood pressure
· Cardiovascular disease, and heart disease have been linked to stress factors
· Other stress-related ailments include ulcers, allergies, asthma, and migraine headaches.

Stress may trigger:
· Hypertension
· High cholesterol
· Herpes

Causes of Stress
Most health professionals agree stress can be a contributing factor in making existing medical problems worse. Environmental and societal pressures, our competitive, success-oriented way of life may lead us to potentially hazardous health.

Everyone differs in what is stressful or potentially stressful. What for one person might seem to be a catastrophic event may be a minor setback for another.

· Fears Cause Stress
Some physical fears that can cause stress are:

· Dangerous machinery;
· Exposure to toxic chemicals;
· Dangerous, congested traffic.

Psychological fears associated with stress include:
· Failure;
· Not being able to get the job done;
· Inability to manage debts; and
· Adult children who do not want the family business.

· Uncertainty Causes Stress
In each person’s life there are uncertainties that can cause stress. The change of a job may necessitate many other changes in the life of a person or family members. Trying to sell a home and buy another in the new location may be stressful. Logic and informed predictions have a place, but often stress piles up because there are so many “unknowns” in such situations.

Life is filled with uncertainty. It is discomforting not to know what is going to happen, particularly if your control of the situation is impeded by:

· Government policies and controls;
· Weather;
· Market fluctuations;
· Illness;
· Interest rates;
· Mechanical breakdowns; and
· Accidents.

Uncertainty may cause feelings of being out of control, which can cause stress.

· Attitudes Cause Stress
A positive or negative attitude influences a person’s reaction to stressful situations. For example, if you feel your job is worthwhile, you may see some of the problems you encounter as challenges. Seen as pluses, the problems or potential problems become motivators. However, if you resent your situation or feel “stuck” in your job, similar experiences create stress, a stress that frustrates instead of motivating you.

· Perceptions Cause Stress
Past experiences and the resources you feel you have available to meet life’s demands will affect the degrees of stress you may experience. The degree of stress experienced will be affected by your perception of your ability to meet the particular demands. How you perceive the situation determines if it is or is not stressful.

Perception can be broken down in the following ways:

· Self Your sense of competency, self-esteem, values, interests, needs.
· Resources Personal resources: Past experience in handling stress, health;
Material resources: Finances, equipment, storage; and People resources: Other people who can assist you, such as friends, coworkers, family members, professionals.

· Change Causes Stress
All change produces stress, even positive changes. Marriage is a positive change that is also a period when adjustment is necessary. For some people, this adjustment can be stressful. A vacation may also be stressful; arrangements must be made for the trip and for work, and there is always a tendency to plan too many activities.
Negative changes are not as difficult to identify as stress-producing. These are situations you would not like to occur, such as children leaving home to start careers, economic recession causing financial crisis, or loss of a valuable possession.
Change demands your adjustment to the particular situation, whether you desire the change or not. Developmental changes that you are able to plan for— pregnancy and birth, children growing up, the aging process—may still be stressful even though anticipated.

The following are more examples of stress-causing changes:

· Work/business Operational change due to technological advancement; Major change in responsibility or work load due to shift in partnership; Expansion or reduction in production; Increasing skills to increase efficiency, and Inflationary operating costs.

· Personal Illness or injury; Personal achievement or disappointment, and Retirement.

· Social Illness or death of close friend; Beginning or ending of formal education; Change in social activities; and Involvement in community service.

· Financial Major change in financial state; Major purchase (home, equipment, land); Additional family expenses (education, insurance, illness); and Partial liquidation. What changes have you and family members experienced in the past several years?

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