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Effects of Stress on the body and how to cope with Stress

Updated on October 9, 2015

Do you think you might be under too much stress? Find out by taking a virtual field trip to the Mayo Clinic. The site has a test to find out how much stress you have. It only takes a minute or two to complete. Just click on this link. After you have taken the test, read the recommendations that the site lists for you, based on your results. Share your results and suggestions. Then, list 5 effects of stress on the body and 10 healthy methods of stress relief and management.

This is the second time during my college career that I have completed a Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale also known as the Social Readjustment Rating Scale (SRRS). I do not remember the exact score that was calculated the last time that I completed the scale, but I do remember that it fell in the moderate to high chance of becoming ill in the near future category. This time I scored 118 and my score lands me in the low to moderate chance of becoming ill in the near future. I received this score because I selected yes on: vacation, Christmas, change in work hours or conditions, change in responsibilities at work, and change in health of a family member (Mind Tools, 2015). I found the results of the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale to be accurate with respect to myself; I honestly feel less stressed now that I did the last time I completed the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale. While I did rate low on the stress scale, there are still ways that stress can affect my body and there are steps that I can take to manage this stress.

According to the The Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale: Understanding the Impact of Long-term Stress (2015) article stress is defined as “a condition or feeling experienced when a person perceives that demands exceed the personal and social resources the individual is able to mobilize." When a person becomes stressed the human body reacts to that stress in different ways. Stress causes the human body to begin producing stress hormones which speeds up the heart rate and raises blood pressure to prepare for fight or flight mode (Hales, 2013, p. 87).

Invitation to Health: Live It Now (2013) explains that the stress that causes the human body to enter fight or flight mode can also cause the body to:

  • slow down the digestive system which can cause ulcers, cold sores, and an upset stomach
  • increase the alertness of the brain which can lead to anxiety, headaches, and depression
  • speed up breathing which can increase the susceptibility of the body to respiratory infections and colds
  • depress the immune system which causes a slower healing rate and opens the body up to infections
  • tense muscles to prevent injury, however, this can lead to nervous ticks and muscle twitches

A profound stressor can even affect DNA by causing the body cells to speed up which causes faster aging (Hales, 2013, p. 86). In order to prevent the human body from experiencing the adverse effects of long term stress it is important that healthy stress management techniques and strategies are employed.

The Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale: Understanding the Impact of Long-term Stress (2015) recommends that I avoid stressful situations when possible, learn conflict resolution techniques, and that I avoid taking on unneeded additional obligations. In order to decrease my stress I will need to employ healthy methods of stress relief and management. I have researched stress management and the best techniques for me that I found were:

  • regular exercise
  • progressive relaxation
  • journaling
  • mediation
  • mindfulness meditation
  • practicing self-compassion
  • pause do not panic
  • identify the stressor and create a plan to minimize the stressor
  • quiet ears stress buster
  • visualization


Hales, D. (2013). Invitation to Health: Live It Now (16th ed.). Cengage Learning.

Mind Tools. (2015). The Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale: Understanding the Impact of Long-term
Stress. Retrieved September 16, 2015, from


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