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Dewe & ODriscoll (2002) acknowledge that many studies indicate that stress leads to negative individual and organizational effects with various interventions developed to control, prevent and manage stress and the associated negative effects. This reaction paper discusses the topic of stress in reference to the presentation ‘Chapter 5: Managing the Stress of Life’. The presentation reveals the inevitability of stress in everyday life and defined as a reaction to stressors which cause tension or discomfort. It is illuminating to know that one’s perception and general individuality is quite crucial in how one’s respond, whether creatively or destructively, to stress as my opinion was firmly oriented to negative effects only. Additionally, the idea that women are more affected by stress and even report more compared to men seems supported not only by literature but also by general observation especially since women have numerous responsibilities in daily lives than men. Further, it was enlightening to learn that there is positive and negative stress as my assumption was that all stress was negative. Coping mechanisms identified implicate the mind and the body as targets for stress management as my assumption was that stress was emotional while some mechanisms like biofeedback seem far-fetched even though explanations provided are plausible.

Much of the presentation’s content is spot on especially with regards to forms of stress, outcomes, coping mechanisms and its relation to diseases but some aspects are unclear like how some coping mechanisms work and some potential contradictions. For instance, women are shown to eat more while stressed while one of the outcomes is that stress leads to digestive problems. Additionally, social support decreases stress levels in women but are the ones more likely to suffer considering that most women have much more social support compared to men. The idea of positive stress seemed ludicrous but the discussion enabled me not only to understand that kind of stress but the link between stress, performance and varied diseases states like sleep-related conditions. The point on women genetically being more likely to inherit depression and stress disorders seemed unlikely as most stressors are environmental but evidence increases chances of some people being genetically predisposed to stress considering hormonal imbalance is a major culprit.

Considering that many publications on the subject refer to the fight/flight response, the inclusion of freeze may presence evidentiary support even though observation indicates freezing as one of the responses to stress. Digestive system shutting down as a result of stress may be problematic as weight loss or gain due to stress-oriented lack of appetite or overeating negates system shutdown. Even though stress effects are psychosomatic, establishing a link between stress and pancreatic disorders, among other conditions may be difficult as the cause-effect relationship is vague. The causes of stress indicated are also points for opposition debate as multiple factors exist including those that have a physical/homeostatic orientation which would be correct as physical changes define the stress response and coping mechanisms target the physical body. The efficacy of biofeedback as a strategy for stress prevention, management or treatment may also be undermined considering that it focuses on monitoring regulation of body systems which are mostly non-autonomous.

Having faced some major difficulties when growing up involving sickness, and which would have had major damage through post-traumatic stress; my assumptions about stress was limited to mental distress and that stress could not be positive. Additionally, my sisters also seemed to bounce back much faster from the ordeal which, in retrospect, seems surreal as they did not have much social support even though they were young. Furthermore, disappointment brought about by academic failure which was followed by being disciplined by my parents, among other stressful situations also inculcated the belief that stress was all bad. Additionally, with my parents being seemingly well-adjusted in relation to dealing with stress while we were unable to deal well with negative stress consequences, it is difficult to imagine my sisters having a greater genetic predisposition to stress as we seemed more hard-hit by difficulties, almost always.

In conclusion, it is evident that stress is a multifaceted phenomenon that has social, physiological and psychological orientations including associated causes and impacts as well as potential interventions. Further, the presentation illuminates how women are greatly affected by stress considering their gender as well as social orientations which make them more prone to stress. All in all, the presentation was quite informative as I learned a lot about stress while enabling correction of erroneous beliefs and assumptions.

  • Dewe, P., & ODriscoll, M. (2002). Stress management interventions: What do managers actually
    do? Personnel Review, 31(1), 143-165.
  • Group 3 PowerPoint Presentation. Chapter 5: Managing the Stress of Life.