Over the years, stress has been studied by members of the medical, psychological, business, and even academic professions. The reason for this is that the problem occurs on a very wide scale. The scope of the problem even extends to the definition, as even this has been the cause of several stressful debates. There are also three kinds of stress: acute, episodic acute, and chronic stress (APA, 2004). Despite the disagreement about its definition, however, many have accepted that credited to Richard S. Lazarus: “a condition or feeling experienced when a person perceives that demands exceed the personal and social resources the individual is able to mobilize” (Mindtools).
Although stress often derives from a person’s feeling about a situation or problem (specifically, that it might be too great for him or her alone to handle), it also has considerable physical implications. It affects several of the major systems of the body, including the digestive, immune, nervous, and cardiovascular systems. Evidence of this can be seen in the form of diarrhea, increased cardiovascular activity, and increased susceptibility to diseases (MayoClinic, 2005).
Since stress can cause damage to the vital systems of the body, it is often crucial to recognize it early and takes steps to control it. There are several ways to reduce stress without the help of medication, and these have mainly to do with attitude and lifestyle. According to the article “How can I manage stress?” by the American Heart Association, ways to reduce stress include changing one’s response to difficult situations and learning to decline offers. These are indeed psychological solutions to a problem that affects people on a physical level, but it is not to be forgotten that stress often is as a result of psychological issues. Therefore, though stress is a health hazard, it is both preventable and curable. However, one has to have the mind to do it. (Consultation with one’s doctor is recommended, especially for people with a family history of heart disease or strokes.)
The causes of stress are variable and its effects are often damaging, both psychologically and physically. However, as its causes are mainly psychological, the effects can often be reduced by a “simple” change in lifestyle. When signs and symptoms of stress are perceived, action should be taken immediately to avoid its numerous health risks. Support from family and friends might be of great help in a stressful time, and any help offered should be promptly accepted.
“Different kinds of stress, the” (2004) APA Help Center 8. Nov. 2005 [Online], Available:
How can I manage stress? (2004) American Heart Association. 8 Nov. 2005 [Online], Available:
Stress management Mindtools 8 Nov. 2005. [Online], Available:
Stress: Why you have it and how it hurts your health. (2005, September 7) MayoClinic.Com
[Online], Available: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/stress/SR00001