Are You Stressed?

What Is Stress?

Stress is the reply to an intimidating factor or recognized obstacle developing from stimuli or occurrences that cause you strain (Licht et al., 2019). When stress comes around illness seems to follow. Stress can cause a variety of health problems that include but are not limited to; cancer, heart disease, impaired memory, burnout, obesity, and also physical pain (Licht et al., 2019).

            Did you know that financial stress can cause physical pain? One of the research findings on stress that really surprised me was an experiment conducted by Eileen Chou, a professor at the University of Virginia. She analyzed a set of 33,720 U.S households and concluded that the households with greater unemployment levels were more likely to consume over-the-counter painkillers. Her team also discovered that individuals reported feeling double the amount of pain when reflecting on past financial situations compared to the individuals who reminisced on great periods in life (Licht et al., 2019).

The thought that releasing aggression relieves aggression is called the catharsis hypothesis. I believe this hypothesis might be accurate in short term scenarios but not for the long term. In my opinion, the catharsis effect is similar to putting a band-aid on an open wound. In the moment it probably feels great, but in reality, it needs more medical attention. Releasing anger feels heavenly, but if you're constantly showing signs of aggression even after “releasing” then you need to start looking inwards and possibly get psychiatric help which is a great step towards your mental health.

The difference between problem-focused and emotion-focused coping is problem-focused coping tends to deal with the problem head first by taking measures to work out the cause of stress. Emotion-focused coping is the opposite, it requires managing or adjusting your feelings and emotions to the problem instead of facing the problem (Raypole, 2020). In the video scene Evelyn could have easily used emotion-focused coping to deal with the teen bullies. She could have forgiven them before she rammed there car instead of afterwards. Forgiveness can elevate your emotional wellbeing by reducing stress and anger, increased compassion, greater empathy, and stronger interpersonal relationships (Raypole, 2020). Some tools that can also assist in reducing stress are; social support, uplifts, exercise, meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, biofeedback and practicing coping skills (Licht et al., 2019). My favorite stress management technique is progressive muscle relaxation. I’ve found that when I relieve tension in my shoulders, I feel a lot better afterwards and my level of stress becomes significantly lower.

Some cultural differences in the ways people respond to and manage stress can be seen in acculturation, which is usually followed by acculturative stress. Acculturative stress happens during and after migration when an individual tries to adjust to a new way of life that involves a different language, country, cultural behaviors etc. (Licht et al., 2019) Some individuals respond to acculturative stress by assimilation, separation, or integration every individual is different so what works for one individual might not work for another. That being said, explore these wonderful techniques listed and see what stress relieving technique works best for you and your mental health.




Raypole, C. (2020, April 22). 7 Emotion-Focused Coping Techniques for Uncertain Times. Healthline.

Licht, D., Hull, M., & Ballantyne, C. (2019). Presenting psychology (2nd ed.). Worth Publishers.