Illustration and Exemplification Essay on Stress

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Do you always experience mood swings, have difficulty sleeping, always feel anxious, and racing heartbeat? These are the common signs and symptoms that can be found in people who are stressed. What makes us stress? When we are worrying about something because we are not sure we can complete it successfully as we cannot bear the failure. All the things that cause us under a lot of pressure are known as stressors. Examples of stressors included loss of job, financial problems, suffering from any disease, and death of a loved one. Most of the time we feel stressed because we are facing obstacles, challenges, and also conflicts. There are 4 types of conflict: approach-approach conflict, avoidance-avoidance conflict, approach-avoidance conflict, and multi-approach-avoidance conflict.

In approach-approach conflict, we have to make a decision with two equal values of a positive goal. Choosing the location of traveling between two places is an example of this conflict.

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For avoidance-avoidance conflict, we have to choose that either go to the dental clinic that we are afraid of or continue with a toothache which means we must choose between two equally negative choices.

While in approach-avoidance conflict, we have to choose between two conflicts that produce both positive and negative outcomes, for example, eating supper or gaining weight.

The fourth type is multi-approach-avoidance conflict, we have to make a decision in two choices and each choice has its pros and cons. For example, if we resign from our job, we will have more time to stay at home but we may be facing financial problems. If we do not quit the job, we will have a salary but our time is not flexible.

A stressful event can trigger the “fight-or-flight” response, causing hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol to surge through the body. The adrenaline hormone will increase our heartbeat and breathing rate to increase our metabolism however it will cause some problems such as hypertension and insomnia. Besides adrenaline, cortisol, the main stress hormone will help us to stay alert in high-stress situations as it affects parts of the brain to control our mood, motivation, and fear. However, if our cortisol levels do not return to normal as we are always in very stressful conditions, we may have problems in sleeping, headaches, anxiety, and depression too. Everything has both positive and effective sides as well as stress. The beneficial stress; is eustress and the negative stress; is distress. Thus, do not be afraid of stress as it can be the motivator that helps us to increase our performance and productivity. In this assignment, I will explain the definition of stress, the physiology of stress, the consequences of stress, ways to cope with stress, and the stress that I experienced.


Definition of stress

Stress is a body's response to a stimulus or pressure from a situation that we are unable to cope with that will disturb our physical or mental equilibrium and stress will trigger our body to release stress hormones such as cortisol so that we can take action immediately to that situation. For example, most students will be stressed when examination is around the corner while employees may stress out when unable to complete the task given by the superior. The causes of stress and the ways to deal with it are different for everyone.

Stress can be divided into 4 types. The first type is Acute stress which is a very short-term stress that normally causes no harm to us because our body's feedback mechanism will return to normal as soon as the danger is over. For example, acute stress occurs when we are almost late to school due to traffic jams. This type of stress almost everyone undergoes as we face new challenges every day. When we frequently experience acute stress then we may suffer the second type of stress Episodic acute stress. This kind of stress may affect our mental and physical health because we constantly worry a lot which may lead to anxiety and depression. Next, Chronic stress is an ongoing stress which may cause severe health problems as it is long-lasting stress. The last type of stress is Eustress, a short-term positive type of stress that can keep you energized and excited and causes people to have better productivity and performance. Examples of eustress are the excitement on the wedding day and the first day at a new job.

Physiology of stress

When we have stressors which means we are in danger or threat, the hypothalamus in our brain is activated to trigger a stress response. The signals are sent to the pituitary gland and adrenal medulla. The stimulated pituitary gland will secrete adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) which will stimulate the adrenal gland to produce cortisol. Cortisol will increase glucose levels in our bloodstream by releasing the stored glucose from the liver to get energy and help the brain use glucose more frequently. While the stimulated adrenal medulla secretes adrenaline hormone (epinephrine) that functions in triggering a fight or flight response. This hormone will increase heartbeat and breathing rate and also increase blood pressure to boost energy supplies as metabolic activity increases. Until the mechanism succeeds in solving the stressor, our body changes will return to normal. The nervous system works together with the endocrine system to enable us to fight off an attacker or flee immediately from danger.

There is a theory called General adaptation syndrome (GAS) that describes the physiological changes in our body when we experience stress. When we are stressed, we will undergo 3 stages which are the alarm stage, resistance stage, and exhaustion stage. In the alarm stage, the adrenal gland releases three hormones. The first type of hormone is epinephrine which stimulates the sympathetic nervous system for emergency activity. Aldosterone the second hormone will maintain the normal blood volume and salt balance. The third hormone, cortisol increases blood glucose levels for energy. In the resistance stage, sympathetic nervous system activity increases. The adrenal gland continues to release hormones such as cortisol. Our body attempts to adapt to the current stress by decreasing metabolic activity to conserve energy. In the exhaustion stage, the nervous and immune systems no longer have the energy to sustain themselves. Some signs and symptoms start to appear such as fatigue and we are more susceptible to disease.

Consequences of stress

Stress will bring both negative and positive impacts to us. For example, acute stress can motivate us to achieve our goals. Little stress can improve our performance and productivity as our brain is always alert. Stress can protect us from dangerous situations as the fight or flight response will be activated by our brain. However, in most conditions, stress is harmful to us. People with chronic stress may have sleeping problems, fatigue, headaches, and gastrointestinal dysfunction. They may have emotional problems such as irritability, depression, and moodiness. Stressful people may have some cognitive symptoms like inability to focus, pessimistic and poor judgment. People with too much stress may undergo changes in appetite, isolating herself or himself, and have some nervous habits like nail biting and leg shaking. Long-term effects of stress not only will affect our mental health but also our physical health. For example, we may suffer from depression, anxiety and personality disorders, cardiovascular diseases, and hair loss.

Coping up strategies

Stress never goes away instead it just reappears with a new face. Thus we have to find the correct and most effective way to solve the stress that we face. Firstly, we have to improve our time management. We can set a plan according to the thing's urgency and importance. We should follow our plan, immediately settle the priority and postpone those not-so-urgent tasks. Following the schedule can prevent us from procrastinating. Thus, we do not have to rush to complete something, we have plenty of time to do it. For example, as students we should not revise at the eleventh hour, we should study hard every day so that we can score in exams. If we burn the midnight oil a day before the exam, in some chances we may become very stressed and cannot concentrate. Therefore, when we manage our time in a better way we can prevent ourselves from becoming so stressed.

Next, we should not be too hard on ourselves. We have to put our hair down besides working hard and studying diligently. We can relieve stress by using our leisure time in doing profitable and amusing activities such as watching movies, listening to music, or exercising. When we are engrossed in our hobbies we feel more happier and relaxed, thus the burden can be alleviated.

Besides, we have to take care of our body health. We should eat a healthy diet, and avoid eating food that is too oily and salty. This is because consuming healthy food can prevent us from suffering from diet-related diseases such as obesity and diabetes. Thus, we have to make sure the diet consists of all kinds of vitamins, proteins, and minerals. We have to make sure we have enough sleep too. This is because regular sleep not only can restore our body but also can regulate our mood. After a good night's sleep, we can be as fresh as Daisy the next morning and more energetic. We are recommended to exercise regularly as exercise helps the production of endorphins which are happy hormones and can reduce the stress hormones like cortisol. Exercise like jogging, playing badminton can improve our sleep quality too. Therefore people with sleeping problems can exercise every day besides listening to soft music before going to bed. As the saying goes, “A sound mind in a sound body”, we have to maintain our body health in order to have good mental health.

Other than that, we can seek help from others when we are stressed. We can share the problems that we face with our family members and friends that we trust. We will feel better after we talk about our stressors to other people because we know there always have people accompanying us. They not only can offer practical support but can give us useful advice. After listening to their comfort and encouragement we will not feel too depressed and anxious, this proves that social support really can relieve stress. Other than that, we can get help from professionals such as psychologists and counselors if we are unable to reduce stress. They will find the best ways to reduce our stress and teach us ways to treat stress.

The stress I had in my life

The stress that I experienced was busyness. I was very busy during secondary school especially when I was in Form 5 as I have to attend many tuition classes, do the homework given by school teachers, and also join the co-curricular activity. I do not have leisure time and cannot unwind so during that time I was very depressed, had no appetite, and had sleeping problems. I always worried I could not complete all the homework so I burned the midnight oil in order to finish the tasks. My condition became worse when there was a drop in grades. My sister noticed my weird behavior so she asked me to share my problems with her. Thus, I handle my stress by sharing it with my siblings and friends. She advised me to improve my time management. Therefore, I made a timetable and did the urgent tasks not complete everything in a day. I found that I have more time, thus I still can revise the topic taught by the teacher and spend some time watching drama. I also told my friends that I hoped they could help me in writing club meeting reports, and some activity application letters. After this incident, I learned that we should share that we faced problems with others because at the time we talk about our stress we will feel better. They will give some useful advice and comfort to us. We should not withdraw ourselves from the people who are concerned about us. I also realize we have to manage our time properly and spend some time relaxing.


All in all, stress can be thought of as any event that exceeds our ability to cope. When we face any challenging and dangerous situation, a flight or fight response will be triggered in order to settle it. There are many ways to cope with our stress, do not ever try those ineffective coping methods like self-medication and withdrawing ourselves. Cigarettes and alcohol are unhelpful in solving stress. Do not avoid our family members and friends but we can share and talk about the difficulty we faced with them. People with bad mental health conditions such as always being depressed and anxious will feel stress more often, and people with health problems always stress for their worsening condition. The LGBT community may feel more stress as they were discriminated against by society. We should be optimistic and confident when doing anything to prevent stress overload. We should not worry about the future and regret the past but enjoy the moment. If we live every day happily, less stress we need to cope. We have to find some time to unwind ourselves after a period of busy work. We should not be afraid of stress, it can be the spice of our life because, in a period of good stress, we always keep ourselves busy, and the anger and energy is being plowed into something great.


Healthline Editorial Team. (25 February 2020). Everything You Need to Know About Stress. https:www.healthline.comhealthstress

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Illustration and Exemplification Essay on Stress. (2024, January 04). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 22, 2024, from
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