(a) what is stress
The term stress has a negative connotation and mostly people refer themselves stressed whenever they are not feeling good mentally and they have any emotional disturbance. The definition of stress by The American Institute for Stress (AIS), “a condition or feeling experienced when a person perceives that demands exceed the personal and social resources the individual is able to mobilize.” (AIS, 2016) This definition of stress is highlighting the negative side of stress and how people are not able to over some the demands of society and they end up with stress so as the other definitions. For instance, most of the dictionaries characterize stress as, mental strain or the extra pressure from different sources which leads a person to a state of mental interruption and perturb emotionally as well physically. However, stress is not always a negative thing and it refines us from achieving our goals. Most of the time stress motivates us to do things. For example, exam stress help students to do their assignments, study on time, and attain their classes regularly. Such kind of stress is a positive stress which helps us to be motivated and sensible in our daily life to overcome challenges in order to accomplish our dreams.
(b) What are the causes of stress?
Stress is cause by the extra demand either by the external source or an internal source by any individual. Stress can happen in times of difficulty, danger, challenge or at the time of big happy events such as attaining a big gathering, delivering a speech, conduct a project. The elements which cause stress are called stressors. The level and magnitude of stress for same stressor may vary from person to person. Different people react differently to the stressors according to their sensitivity towards that stimulus. According to the study by the trusted non-profit guides to mental health and well being the causes of stress are divided in two groups, the external causes are stress and the eternal causes of stress. The common external causes of stress are as follow: “Major life changes, work or school, relationship difficulties, financial problems, being too busy, children and family” and the common causes of eternal stress are, “Chronic worry, pessimism, negative self-talk, unrealistic expectations/perfectionism, rigid thinking, lack of flexibility, all-or-nothing attitude”(Helpguide.org)
(c) Are there individual differences in the experience of stress? Elaborate.
Some people may have very sweeping emotional out break for the same stimulus as compare to others it all depends on the individuals mood, pessimistic thinking and kind of expectations and outcomes from that particular stressor. Some people are more tolerant to stressors and it also dependents on their optimistic thinking and ability to overcome the upcoming challenges due to that stressor. In general we can say that every individual experience stress differently for different stressors. Being a student I would like to give an example of reaction to stress by students. For instance, some students are very good at class presentations and they perform very well in speeches and presentations and others have public speaking phobia. They feel hesitation whiling delivering class presentations. Same as some students feel less stress in written exams than others. There are no particular stressors which can be identify as sever stressors than others it depends on people how they react to certain events. The level of stress is measure for different people depends on their interpretation of the stress level and anxiety.
(d) How to manage stress? Discuss the adaptive and maladaptive ways of coping with stress by giving suitable examples.
Stress management is the strategy to control the harmful effects of stress and maintain a healthy life style. From earlier discussions we know that stressors for individuals vary and so as stress level, therefore; we can’t have a single solution for all to cope with stress. Different people need different coping strategies to overcome stress level. The most important thing to cope with stress is to know what is the stressor and when, how and why it effects you. Ones the stressor is identified then it is easier to manage stress according to the stressor. Most of the time people fail to identify stressor and they associate their stress with wrong stimulus, in such conditions it is very difficult to make a beneficial stress coping plan for them. People have good and unhealthy adaptive coping plans to overcome their stress. After many studies have been done researchers have offered some stress management approaches. The first one is “Get moving” it means that whenever you feel stress do some physical activity, visit someone, move around, go for a walk, do regular exercise etc. second one is “Engage socially” this approach encourages to make bigger the social circle and friend circle to have a good time with them. Other strategies for stress are, “Alter the situation, adapt to the stressors, accept the things you can’t change, make time for fun and relation.” (Helpguid.org) These stress management approaches suggested by researchers are also called good adaptive ways to cope with stress. When are person is stress and he/she listen to music and go for a jogging every morning to lessen their stress is called a good adaptive way to cope the stress. There are some unhealthy or maladaptive ways of dealing with stress, such as, “drinking too much, spend too much time on computer or in front of TV, using pills or drugs to relax.” (helpguid.org) such coping approaches are horrendous for health and these kinds of strategies add up to stress level instead of lessen it down. Here is a real life example of bad coping approach. For example if someone is stress he/she eat a lot to overcome his/her stress as a result of this bad coping approach they will gain weight, which will lead to obesity and obesity causes so many health problems such as diabetes, heart diseases and many others. Because of one bad coping strategy one can suffer from many other problems therefore, it is important to address stress in a better way and one should seek help if they need to have some.