Managing Stress: Strategies for Coping with Life's Pressures


Over the decades, stress has grown to become among the top causes of illness and death especially in the productive stage of human growth. Various disorders and chronic diseases resulting from stress induced effects have risen and become a norm over the past few decades as a result of increased triggers of stress in today’s societies. Factors like social media, technological developments, social pressure, work, studies and monetary issues among others has led to the rise of stress levels in today’s world. This has led to a shift in attention to this slow killer in a move to educate the public on today’s causes of stress, their effects and ways of managing them. Proper management and control of stress levels will allow the curb of diseases caused by high levels of stress in a person’s life - in the “Effects of Stress Essay” I will try to express how we can cope with stress in daily life.

Objectives of the Study

The main aim of this study is to identify ways of managing stress brought about by various factors of life. This involves identifying the major causes or areas in our lives that are the major sources of stress coupled with the effects that these high levels of stress can cause. Finally, the study will dive int ways of curbing these stress levels from whichever source that they manifest in.

Causes and Effects of Stress

Stress has been generally described as anything that causes distress to oneself. With the numerous technological advancements that have occurred over the past years, more and more avenues or sources of stress have opened up all around us. Although stress is a common condition in today’s world, it should be noted that different people are affected and respond to stress levels in their lives in different ways depending on various factors like personal traits. In today’s world, the most common sources of stress involve stress from the workplace, financial problems, personal relationships, children, change, daily hassles among others. It should be noted that stress manifests itself in three main forms namely Acute stress, Episodic acute stress and chronic stress that in turn allow us to categorize and manage the sources of stress accordingly.

Definition of Stress

Stress is defined as an upset to an organism’s equilibrium which is caused by a threat by an external event or internal drive. This has been further elaborated as a condition or a feeling which is experienced when the personal and social resources that a person can mobilize are exceeded by the demands of the individual. This is attributed to the fight or flight response of the body where when the body feels threatened, stress hormones, which include cortisol and adrenaline, are released by the nervous system and activate the body for emergency action. This results in the signs and symptoms of stress such as heart pounding faster and muscles tightening among others.

Stress affects everyone from all age spans and from different walks of life. The levels have increased with 39% percent of people provide that their stress levels increased over the previous year and 44% provided that their stress levels increased over the past four years. However, there is 27% of adults who stated that their stress levels reduced in the past five years and with 17% providing that their stress levels decreased from the previous year.

Acute Stress

Acute stress is the most among the three main types of stress. It is normally brief and is usually as a result of pressures from the resent past as well as pressures from the near future. It involves the everyday challenges like loosing keys, crashing your car and being late for an appointment among others. As a result of the stress being short lived, it does not have enough time to cause the effects and damages associated with long-term stress. A good example of an acute stress involves one where after engaging in an argument, negative thoughts that replay in one’s head about the argument cause a form of temporary stress on the person. Symptoms of acute stress include emotional distress in the form of anger, anxiety, irritability or depression, muscular problems like headaches, back pain or muscular tension, and other symptoms like rapid heartbeat, bowel issues, heart burn, dizziness, shortness of breath among others.

Episodic Acute Stress

Episodic acute stress comes about as a result of frequent exposure to acute stress in a person’s life. These individuals are seen to be always in a rush and live in a world surrounded by chaos and crisis. They take up too many responsibilities that in turn can’t allow them to manage their time and duties effectively. There are two main personality traits that are frequently identified with episodic acute stress namely Type A and Type B personality. Type A personality involves individuals with an excessive competitive drive, abruptness, impatience and a sense of time urgency. They also generally have a deep-rooted insecurity with relation to their performance. Type B includes the individuals who are also described as ‘worriers. They have continuous negative thoughts that in turn cause the episodic acute stress. They have a pessimistic view of every situation they encounter and in turn view the world as a dangerous, catastrophic and unrewarding place. This kind of personality is often over aroused and anxious. Common effects of episodic acute stress involve emotional and cognitive distress, deterioration of interpersonal relationships, muscular distress, raid heartbeat, acid stomach, heartburn, high blood pressure and immune system compromise like cold hands, shortness of breath, chest pain among others.

Chronic Stress

Chronic stress is seen to be the most dangerous form of stress among the three main types described. If left untreated for prolonged periods of time, chronic stress can cause irreversible damage to a person’s physical and mental health and in turn results into breakdown that can lead to heart attacks, stroke, suicide and other violent actions. This is particularly important to note since in most cases where individuals suffer from chronic stress, they tend to get used to it and incorporate it in their day-to-day lives. Hence, it is easy for people to live in environments that cause chronic stress for prolonged periods of time without giving it much thought since they are used to it. Common causes of this type of stress include the likes of unhappy marriage, substance abuse, work environment, unemployment and poverty among others. Additionally, chronic stress can also be caused by early traumatic childhood experiences that haunt their mind from then on until they seek help.

Remedies (how to avoid it) of Stress

As a result of the various sources and types of stress that surround us on a daily basis, there is need for effective treatment and management of stress so as to curb illnesses and disorders that come about as a result of these triggers of stress. Finding ways of coping with one’s specific stress type can go a long way in living a longer and healthier life.

Exercise has been viewed to have various benefits that aid in combating stress levels in our body. In normal stressful situations, stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol are seen to increase. Also described as the ‘fight or flight’ hormones, the stress hormones are produced as a result of foreseen bodily threat. In the modern world, most situations don’t necessarily require the type of response that the hormones induce and hence there is need to curb these levels back to normal as a means of relieving the stress. Exercise is seen to metabolize the excessive hormones produced in the body that in turn allows the body to go back to its calmer normal state. Additionally, physical activities allow your body to get better sleep that also in turn helps curb stress levels.

Meditation has been viewed as another highly beneficial technique that is useful in combating stress levels in your body. Meditation allows your body to relax and regain focus of the things that matter most. It gives your body time away from all external stressors and allows one to start their day in a more relaxed and calm state. This in turn allows the individual to respond to stressful situations in a more clear and calm way. Additionally, meditation allows one to relieve off the pressure or stress that may be building up in their body and hence give an escape from the effects that come as a result of the various stress types and triggers.

Time management is another factor that can greatly reduce the amount of stress on a person. This is especially so for people suffering from episodic acute stress since it will allow them to have ample time to prepare and carry out the duties assigned to them. This in turn allows one to take control of the common stressors that are causing havoc to their lives.

Getting professional help is another method of curbing stress buildup in our lives. This is especially so in cases where the individuals are suffering from episodic acute stress and chronic stress. These particular individuals require step by step counselling that will allow them to change their lifestyle in a bid to curb the stressors around them. Additionally, there are medication available to help reduce stress levels in the body that can only be prescribed by qualified professionals in that specific medical field.


In conclusion, it is clear that stress is part of our lives. Additionally, through proper classification of stress, individual can be able to identify the specific stress type and triggers of that stress in their lives, and in turn start the journey of combating it. One should therefore be proactive in incorporating ways of reducing or evading stress triggers around them as a way of living a healthier and longer life.

  • References
  • Chrousos, G. P. (2009). Stress and disorders of the stress system. .
  • McGonagle, K. A. (1990). Chronic stress, acute stress, and depressive symptoms. . American journal of community psychology, , 18(5), 681-706.
  • Roth, S. &. (1986). Approach, avoidance, and coping with stress. American Psychlogist.
  • Seaward, B. L. ((2017). ). Managing stress. Jones & Bartlett Learning.
  • How to Manage Stress. Retrieved From Https://Www.Mind.Org.Uk/Media/1993364/How-To-Manage-Stress_2015.Pdf
10 October 2022
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