Stress: Components Of Stress And Conflict Situations Categories

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Definition of stress:

Stress. When a change occurs, requiring the body to make a modification or feedback; therefore, the body behaves to these changes with mental, physical, and emotional feedback. Stress is normal. Stress can be accomplished from your surroundings, environment, body, and thoughts. Stress can also be caused from not only negative but also positive life changes, such as a promotion! Yet, there is no precise definition of what exactly stress is and what can cause it, because, what can be stressful for one person, can be pleasing for another.

Components of stress:

These are the four components of stress interacting and influencing one another:

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  1. Stressors
  2. Physical responses
  3. Psychological responses
  4. Behavioral responses

These factors play a role in how we behave towards stress. For example, a discouraging event occurring while you are already in a bad mood can put you under stress. Just like how depressed and inactive we feel when we are having a flu.

• Stressors

Stressors are the events and situations in life that put our coping skills into need. There are daily circumstances we go through that we can easily get over with by a cup of coffee, or a good laugh and just put it all behind. While there are more severe occurrences that we cannot be relieved from easily, are difficult to control and cause more harm. These stressors can build up over years and if they are not taken under control and handled, they can bring about continuous pressure and cause physical, mental and social issues.

• Physical responses

During stressful moments, you can happen to feel that your stomach, arm and leg muscles may be tense and unbending; your heartbeat rate may be expanded; you may feel yourself sweating and find that you’re not able to sit still and concentrate. This is how we physically react to stress and it is how our bodies adapt to stressful conditions. This is what is called the “fight or flight” reaction which can be greatly beneficial.

• Psychological responses

Our psychological situation is important, meaning, a situation will feel stressful if we see it that way. As well as past experiences in coping to stressful events can determine your expectations about whether you are going to be able to manage it with a stressing occurrence in the present. Meaning that, knowing that you went through a similar situation and everything ended up okay as you managed to handle it, this can ease things and lessen the anxiety and stress. On the other side, if it is an exclusively new event, or even a similar event that has occurred in the past and you weren’t able to manage it successfully, you will most likely doubt your abilities to cope. One can feel that it is hard to concentrate or even take simple decisions when you are struggling to manage stress. Feelings of stress can lower your self-esteem, meaning, you can be annoyed or irritated by simple, everyday occurrences.

• Behavioral responses

The “fight or flight” can either be a positive response to a situation, or even the total opposite, depending on the circumstances. The “fight” is just like losing your temper and take it all off your shoulder not in the best way. It is an aggressive response. It can also be nonviolent, where your just frown and ignore people.

The “flight” response commonly scale-down stress. It is the one you bypass stressful occurrences and walk away. But can eventually cause further stress in long terms. As mentioned in the previous point, our psychological situation is important, concluding from that is a situation is not what actually affects and harms us, it is our reaction towards it, how we look at it and how we feel about it; which can either trouble or provoke us.

Therefore, stress can have a positive or negative side, which can lead to behavioral responses such as:

  • Changes in appetite
  • Hesitating and avoiding responsibilities
  • Increase in use of drugs, alcohol and cigarettes

Conflict situations categories:

• Approach-approach conflict

Approach-approach is a psychological conflict where one is determined to choose between to desirable outcomes; for example, such as someone who needs to choose between two aimed job offers, or a student deciding whether to take a full-time job or go to college.

• Avoidance-avoidance conflict

Avoidance-avoidance is a psychological conflict where one is hesitation of deciding of choosing between two unsatisfactory choices. A man might strongly dislike his job but is afraid that he would not find another job easily and stay unemployed.

• Approach-avoidance conflict

Approach-avoidance is a psychological conflict where a person is stumbled to make a decision about a situation, or even an object, that has both positive and negative aspects; wanting to approach it and avoid it at the same time. The person trying to make the decision tries to find a point of equilibrium, accepting the advantages and disadvantages of the final decision. The temptation you feel wanting to eat a certain food but knowing that it will cause you digestion problems afterwards.

• Double approach-avoidance conflict

This conflict differs from the “approach-avoidance” in that the person must choose between more than one goal, which all have advantages and disadvantages. One common example of this psychological conflict is a person making the decision of choosing a house in the country; which will provide him with peace, fresh air, and more space, but it also means commuting to work in heavy traffic and long distances from city amenities and cultural events. Choosing to live in the city will likewise present both the problems and the advantages of city life.

Reactions to stress:

• Fight or flight

The fight-or-flight is a psychological response that occurs in a situation that is either mentally or physically alarming. The body releases hormones to formulate the body on how to react towards the occurring threat, either to stay and deal with it or just run away to the safe side. So, what happens during the fight-or-flight response? Due to sudden release of hormones, the body’s nervous system is activated, stimulating glands causing the release of other hormones, such as adrenaline and noradrenaline, resulting in an increase in heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing rate.

• General adaptation syndrome

Stress is a mental state, but it also affects the body physically. The body responds to stress in three stages:

  1. Alarm
  2. Resistance
  3. Exhaustion
  • Alarm reaction stage: this occurs when we first feel stressed, it triggers the body to initiate the fight-or-flight response.
  • Resistance reaction stage: after going through the alarm reaction stage, the body starts to adapt and release less amounts of hormones, which leads to heart rate, breathing rate, and blood pressure to normalize. Still, the body stays alarmed for a while, and if the stressful situation is overcome, the body takes its time to return to its pre-stress state.
  • Exhaustion reaction stage: physical and mental energies are drained due to facing stress over long periods of time. A person might feel that the occurrence is hopeless and give up. Physical effects of this stage can be severe and weaken the immune system.

• Emotional and cognitive responses

Besides physical effects, too much stress can lead to emotional symptoms as well.

These are some of the emotional signs that can be caused due to stress:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Memory and concentration problems

Factors influencing reactions to stress:

• Personality differences

Being under stress can change one’s personality, moral behavior and even ethics in making decisions. Yet, some characters are more prone to stress than others, therefore, having different reactions and deal with the situation differently. For example, a person who has low-self esteem can be stressed and anxious easily in the slightest situations than someone who is confident about themselves.

Strategies for coping with stress:

  1. Denial: refusing to accept what happened and realize it, the person may think it helps but it actually has a negative effect long term.
  2. Splitting: a person might find it difficult that people can have a good side and a bad side, instead, they think of them as a “whole good” person and a “whole bad” person.
  3. Passive-aggression: when a person is disturbed by a feeling, they sometimes choose to express their anger in an indirect way.
  4. Fantasy: instead of working things out, a person sits still and daydreams about how different things are/would’ve been.
  5. Exercise: exercising is scientifically proved of reducing tension and increasing energy.
  6. Positive attitudes: a situation is just as bad as you see it!




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