Sample Psychology Paper on Stress Project
Life is full of stressors making it difficult to have a stress-free existence. Stress is defined as a difficulty that results in emotional tension (McGonigal 2). It is usually created by life’s hardships and is assumed one of the causes of early death and health complications among human beings. Recent studies by McGonigal (McGonigal 9) show that stress is actually healthy for the body whereas its negative perception together with untold stress results in the death of at least 20,000 Americans every year. This rate exceeds the death of skin cancer and HIV/AIDS (McGonigal 3). The study argues that the negative perception of stress leads to more deaths than the presence of stress in one’s life.
The objective of the study is to deal with negative stress levels, which may cause health complications or death.
The paper will focus on the previous studies conducted on stress management, in particular, the review of the TED video by Kelly McGonigal. The baseline information for the study will be derived from the Stress Symptom Checklist, which will depict the severity of the stress level. The second survey will be conducted using the same Stress Symptom Checklist. Finally, the study will make a comparison relying on the data derived from the two checklist reviews that will allow to draw a conclusion concerning the stress levels.
According to the Stress Symptom Checklist, there have been very few instances when I could characterize my life as stress-free, in fact, I have had high levels of stress. In compliance with the list, I have experienced frequent headaches and pain, trouble with learning new information, challenges in making decisions as well as forgetfulness, back pains, suicidal thoughts, feelings of worthlessness, overwhelming, popping sounds, and nausea. Besides these symptoms, I have overreacted to petty annoyances, experienced a decrease in appetite, and isolated myself as a result of conspicuous weight loss. Thus, in the last six months, I have had much stress, which has negatively affected my self-confidence. I used to believe that stress was one of the causes of health deterioration. After watching the interview given by McGonigal, I realized that my situation is common since most of the people experience high levels of stress.
Stress comes because of life’s challenges, an event that often occurs in everybody’s life. Unlike other problems, stress is a common issue that affects people of all occupations. This is illustrated by the confession of McGonigal who affirms that, irrespective of her career as a psychologist, she has faced recurrent events of stress (McGonigal 7). In the presence of stress, I have learned to either deal with it by finding a lasting solution or living with the stress and dwelling on associated negativity. Mostly, in the events of stress, I have sought the emotional support of my family and close friends. At times, after I have had personal discussions, I realize that I feel relieved of stress and become quite relaxed.
According to the Stress Symptom Checklist, the body reacts to stress either physically or psychologically, by focusing energy resources to fight off the threat through the fight-or-flight response of the sympathetic nervous system (AIS 3). In such events, the muscles tense up, it becomes harder to breathe, what may result in rapid breathing and panic attacks with some people. Acute stress leads to increased heart rate and stronger contractions of the heart muscles. Stress can even cause infertility in men and irregular periods in women. These indicators of the effects of stress were apparent to me in the first survey through the Stress Symptom Checklist. The presence of recurring health complications has negatively affected my outlook on life and my self-esteem in particular. This effect is a consequence of the negative personal perception I have had concerning stress. From the observation, it is eminent that during the period I have negatively perceived myself, I could endure and enjoy life with minimal mood swings and negative emotions. After I had shifted the focus to the positive attributes in life, I rarely experienced negative effects such as insomnia. In addition, life became more meaningful and enjoyable.
Stress is a constant occurrence in my life that needs a lasting mechanism for dealing with it. The initial documentation of the signs and symptoms obtained from the Stress Symptom Checklist records the most common disorders I have encountered including anxiety and immune disturbances that have produced detrimental effects on my health. The direct effects, in my case, included consistent skin rashes, peptic ulcer, and irritable bowel syndrome. I have experienced four instances of insomnia during the last month. Besides the associated negativity, I have had fewer mood swings and reduced anxiety whenever I ignored the stresses in my life and focused on positivity. Such positive attitude has reduced health complications as well as increased energy and determination to concentrate on the challenges with the objective of overcoming them.
The information derived from the McGonigal video allows to conclude that the stress level of the participant is high and, therefore, there is a need to decrease it by developing a plan. To manage the stress level effectively, the participant should consider keeping a journal, which records the documentation of the daily stress experiences, their severity, and the actions the participant should take to address the levels of stress appropriately.
McGonigal, Kelly. “How to Make Stress your Friend.” TED, 2016, https://www.ted.com/talks/kelly_mcgonigal_how_to_make_stress_your_friend/transcript?language=en<.
The American Institute of Stress (AIS). “Stress Effects.” 2016, http://www.stress.org/stress-effects/<.