Stress: An Overview

Stress: An Overview

Daniel Opotamutale Ashipala (University of Namibia, Namibia) and Anna P. K. Shilunga (University of Namibia, Namibia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2139-7.ch008

Abstract

This chapter provides readers with vital knowledge on smoking, including its effects in the human body which in return could lead to positive smoking behavioral change for a leader's own health as well as to caution non-smokers on the danger of exposure to second-hand smoke. Therefore, the chapter will commence with an introduction to smoking where national, continental and global issues related to smoking will be highlighted. The biopsychosocial factors related to smoking include biological factors, psychological factors and social factors. Given that, smoking is a huge cause of death worldwide and the number of deaths caused by smoking-related conditions is believed to have escalated, owing to a lack awareness of the dangers of smoking and poor attitudes towards smoking behaviors that continue to prevail in various populations. This chapter further seeks to provide a better understanding of smoking, including its contributory factors, strategies to be that may be adopted to quit smoking.
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What Is Stress

There are several definitions of stress. Stress may be defined as a response to any demand or threat (Gardner, 2002; Kruger, Burke, & Harper, 2006); as well as a stimulus, wear and tear on the body, a body's reaction to a harmful situation (WebMD, 2019). Stress can be anything that causes physical and/or mental wear and tear on the body and mind, which can be negative or positive (Healtheirsf, 2019). The commonly accepted definition of stress is the negative emotional or physical responses that occur when someone perceives a demand or situation as exceeding their capabilities or resources.

Technically, however, stress is the body’s reaction to any perceived threat. And, contrary to popular belief, this reaction is a functional one. Historically, when perceiving a threat, our bodies released hormones and other chemicals, increasing the heart rate and respiration, and tensing the muscles to enable us to run away or fight whatever it was that threatened us. Today, such reactions motivate us, help us to prepare for important events and even enhance our performance and productivity.

Many people believe that stress is always bad or only refers to negative events; however, certain experiences that are usually considered positive may stressful as well be. Positive (good) stress inspires a person to achieve a goal, become more confident or grow stronger physically. It gives a feeling of fulfilment and energy in our everyday lives. However, if the move is an exciting challenge, the same stressor is more likely to make a person excited and look forward to the change.

If stress leaves a person feeling depleted or anxious or overly excited, they may resort to poor practices for dealing with stress such as doing too much too fast or obsessing over possibilities that may never happen For example, if one is preparing for a move, thinking about the situation as overwhelming or scary or as too much to handle is likely to make you feel more anxious. Accordingly, the move becomes a source of negative (bad) stress.

As we do not typically have to run from or fight our stressors these days, the effects of the chemicals released in our bodies are not neutralised. Instead, they build up over time and, when excessive or prolonged, produce a range of physical and emotional health problems. No one is immune to stress and everyone is likely to have experienced stress in their lifetime, young or adult. Young people and/or students’ stress is usually related to everyday experiences, worries and challenges at school, home, in the community and within their peer group.

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