Saturday, April 24, 2010


Stress, or the reaction of the body to sudden changes in the environment, is one of those conditions that every single human being suffers from. Even the wealthiest, smartest, most successful, most popular person cannot escape stress. As stress is so unavoidable, so innate, rather than try to rid oneself of stress, the best thing seems to be to know how to handle it. A good place to start is to identify the root cause of the stress. For example right now I am stressed out because I feel like I will be spending the rest of my life working on AP English homework. Yesterday I was stressed out because I lost my cell phone. I have been mildly stressed over the long term because of my parents' increasingly frequent arguments.

Secondly, it is important to understand that stress is not always a horrible thing, it actually has a purpose. During stress the heart rate quickens, blood pressure rises, muscles tense. All these things prepare the body for a dangerous or important situation. Stress helps the body meet challenges. For example when I know I have to take a test, my body gets into a certain mode. I become solely focused and intent on that one subject. When I have a surprise assessment, no matter how prepared I may be, my body does not get the chance to get into the this "mode" and I rarely perform as well. . However, when the body does not get intermittent breaks between the stress, the adverse effects seem to be more prevalent than the positive effects.

The muscle tensing can lead to head and backaches. Stress also causes teeth grinding, poor sleep, and an increased likelihood of resorting to illegal substance to calm nerves. Heart attacks and a weakened immune system are some more severe consequences. When I stressed out my immune system becomes completely useless. I always get sick during finals time. this year it was pneumonia, last year it was streptococcus.

One has to realize that although stress is important to success, the body can not handle chronic stress. It needs breaks of relaxation. One method of helping my body to handle stress it to break larger tasks up into little pieces. If I looked at all my homework as a whole, I think I would be too overwhelmed to do anything at all. but, when I look at what I have to do for each class individually, it does not seem quite as daunting. It also helps to prevent stressful situations that you can control. I know that writing a five page paper the night before its do makes me very stressed out, so I work on it a week before its due. Furthermore (though I hate to admit it) eating right and exercising can help the body handle stress more efficiently.

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