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Stress Manifestations: Health Significance Of Its Sources, Effects And Symptoms

Updated on February 23, 2014

What Causes Stress?


Unfulfilled needs and desires: Status


Excessive Job Demand


Sources Of Stress

The sources of stress are much. They range from one individual to another. Sources or causes of stress can, however, be grouped into several key areas. These include:

Self-imposed Pressures:

  1. Unrealistic expectations
  2. Fear of incompetence
  3. Lack of self-management

Unfulfilled needs and desires:

  1. Material needs;
  2. Recognition;
  3. Status
  4. Autonomy

Problems of daily life:

  1. Commuting
  2. Queuing
  3. Losing items
  4. Lateness (self and others);
  5. Strikes
  6. Machine breakdowns (at home and at work); and
  7. Interruptions

Excessive demands:

  1. Job-related; and
  2. Non-job related

Lack of Job satisfaction:

  1. Conditions of work;
  2. Relationships;
  3. Management style; and
  4. Salary/ wages/ allowances

Unfulfilling relationships:

  1. Relationships at work; and
  2. Relationships at home

Fear of the future:

  1. Long-term viability of company;
  2. Loss of job- retirement;
  3. Future of a relationship;
  4. Welfare of aging relatives; and
  5. Upbringing of children

Concern for loved ones:

  1. Parents, grandparents;
  2. Spouse/partner
  3. Children; and Friends

Imbalance between work and Homes: Ill health.

Please note that stress is infectious. It is stressful to live and work with people who are suffering from it. There is no formula guaranteeing a stress free life but there are techniques for minimizing it. Complete lack of stress is death.

Emotional Stress


Stress Symptoms


Symptoms And Effects Of Stress

When we face any challenge, whether it is a physical threat, verbal abuse or mental cruelty, we are programmed biologically to either fight it or run away from it (the so called fight or flight syndrome). The individual’s genetic makeup, past experience, social support and managerial skill determines his or her abilities to respond and deal with stressful situations.

Economic factors such as living on credit, taking on a mortgage, or holding an unfulfilling job create demands many fear they will not be able to meet. Living in overcrowded cities and unventilated buildings, being surrounded by machinery and excessive noise add to the burden. The notion that these factors are primarily responsible for stress- related problems is reinforced by the growing separation or lack of rhythm between our lifestyles and our sense of unity with nature and the universe. At the root of this alienation is disorderly way of life, including the habitual practice of improper diet and lack of balance in mental, emotional and physical activities.

Effects of varieties of stress can be categorized into the following:

Physical effects: A feeling of tension caused by physical hardness in the muscles, joints, blood vessels and tissues resulting in rigidity and lack of body flexibility. These may lead to chest pain, heart palpitation, headache, fatigue, sleeplessness and rembling.

Emotional effects: Problems maintaining satisfying and fulfilling relationships with others as well as a confident self image, due to our preoccupation with abnormal emotions such as fear, worry, anxiety, anger, irritability, pessimism, hopelessness and short temper.

Intellectual And Social effects: this results in a feeling of helplessness or resignation resulting from the rapid exchange and development of information and by the share magnitude of accumulated data in the modern world. Also contributing to this type of stress are the social pressures in accepting the pace of change in the society at large, especially the separation of families, crime, the threat of nuclear war, ecological and economic crises and political uncertainty. These may lead to confusion, lack of concentration, poor memory, no sense of humour and loss of libido.

Behavioural effects: This is usually expressed by smoking drinking excessively, crying, uncooperative behavious, aggressiveness and hostility.

Spiritual effects: This is stress caused by the difficulty in coping with the changing universe, including the ability to resolve such basic questions as life and death, sickness and health, and the ephemerally or human existence. Underlying these forms of stress is a diet and way of life that is separate from natural order. Today, family members are often isolated from one another and they lack the network of members and friends to help them deal with the ups and downs of life.

© 2014 Funom Theophilus Makama


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