Stress can lead to an unhealthy lifestyle or health-damaging behaviour. Lifestyle is the overall pattern of decisions and behaviours that determine a person’s health and quality of life. Stressed individuals may be more likely to expose themselves to pathogens, which are agents causing physical illness. People who are stressed have poor nutritional habits, have sleeplessness and are likely to engage in other health risk behaviours like smoking and alcohol abuse. Such health impairing behaviours develop gradually and are accompanied by pleasant experiences temporarily. However, we tend to ignore their long-term damaging effects and underestimate the risk they pose to our lives.
- Stress is a part of life. Stress is neither a stimulus nor a response but an ongoing transactional process between the individual and the environment.
- There are three major types of stresses, physical and environmental, psychological and social. Sources of stress are life events, everyday hassles, and traumatic events.
- The response to stress is emotional, physiological, cognitive, and behavioral.
Quick way to measure stress:
Respond to the following items on a 5-point scale ranging from 5 = always to 1 = never
The higher the score, the better would be your ability to cope
I express emotions openly and directly. _______
I work towards my own personal goals. _______
I accept situations that cannot be altered. _______
I discuss my worries with friends. _______
I may not get everything just right. _______