Mandy McMahan



Posted by mandy mcmahan on December 14, 2010 at 10:55 PM

I realized these days everyone is always so stressed. People are late on mortgages, students are taking finals, and people are trying to find jobs….All of us have some type of a personal relationship with stress. That wonderful thing that makes us cranky, depressed, and want to pull our hair out. YES, I am being sarcastic about the whole wonderful thing. I recently have been very stressed and know quite a few others that have been too.


The funny thing is stress was supposed to save us. Take a wild horse for instance. Stress is the feeling a horse gets when being chased by a predator. It is supposed to kick in for survival. When running for one’s life your lungs open up and allow you to pump massive amount of oxygen, your heart beats faster to allow the oxygen to pump throughout your body so muscles will respond. Anything that is not necessary for your survival shuts down. The horse is able to shut down the stress level after it is safe, but for some reason we cannot. We worry about things all the time even if they are simple and non-life threatening. We get stressed because we want to protect ourselves from missing the bill, passing that test, or getting to work on time. In all reality we are hurting ourselves more by sweating the small stuff.


Stress is becoming very dangerous to people. It not only affects your mental health like anxiety, energy, mood changes, and depression. It also affects you physically by causing you sleep disorders, eating problems, Immune system failure, increased blood pressure, and damage to brain cell.


People under stress often engage in unhealthy behavior in order to cope with certain stressors. This can include alcohol, cigarettes, and sometimes even drugs. I know when I get stressed I feel like a drink or two can help. Temporarily and in moderation yes…it makes me feel better. But once the effects wear off I am still staring at the same problem as I was before. Some people take it overboard to mask their problems, which become a vicious cycle of stress mixed with drugs and alcohol. When a person is under the influence of these, any emotion that they felt before hitting up the bar for those “I’ll have another until I feel better drinks” is going to be heightened. This is how a lot of people end up harming themselves, because they cannot think clear enough to realize stress can be controlled to a point and situations can always get worse. You never know the level of stress a person is going through. It is a very individualized emotion, and to one person a stressor may be highly overwhelming, but to another it is a very minor concern.


Stress is not always negative though in moderation. There are also positive types of stress. When it’s the right type of stress we absolutely love it. Moderate amounts of stress like galloping on a horse, or riding a rollercoaster, skydiving, and scary movies are semi controlled and sought out by some. People pay good money to experience certain stressors. You know when you get off the amusement park ride that it is over and stress levels drop. That is because you have some sort of control over being put in the situation.


Society and social standing is a major part of stress. Surprisingly more dominant people who are higher up in the corporate ladder are less stressed than people lower in the social standing. Dominant people have lower stress levels and low rankers have increased heart rates and blood pressure. The Whitehall Study investigated this and proved that men in higher ranking jobs were less stressed because they felt they had more control in their life. Speaking from personal experience…I am not my own boss and it is hard always making sure I try to please what somebody else wants. I got lucky with finding a good job with a great boss, so if I screw up, he explains how to fix it and what the right way is. In a lot of jobs people are in fear of losing their jobs instantly, not getting the credit they deserve, and struggling for a glimpse at climbing the social ladder. I feel like employers can fix this by acknowledging somebody’s hard work, not being s quick to snap, and listening to their employees suggestions with an open mind. Everybody just wants the feeling of control in life. They want to be in charge of a responsibility, or be able to live on their own, and to be confident enough to step out of their comfort level without having a nervous breakdown in the process.


Obviously ignoring or trying to forget your problems is not the solution and not a good route to take. Trust me I use to try that one and it never worked for me! It only put the farther up shit creek than where I was when I started out. But the human stress response is becoming more damaging than the stress itself. I have been incredibly stressed lately but I buckled down, did what I needed to do, then sat back and relaxed. I feel a lot better. I know something is going to happen again this week or next, but I’m going to do what I can to fix it, and if I can’t well then I just can’t…..


People I have observed lately get so flustered with their lives, sometimes you have to sit back and realize that there is always somebody out there that is going through something more difficult than you. It does get worse. So maybe if we stopped thinking about ourselves for two seconds and tried to help others we would be less stressed about our own problems.


Compassion for others in need can possibly save you as well. I heard on a documentary that non-social and disconnected people have been known to die earlier than people who have social affiliation. It’s the whole “it’s better to give than receive” belief. So rather than killing yourself physically and mentally step out and help someone in need. Maybe the world would be less stressed out and a whole lot nicer if more people thought like that.


I’m not a scientist or doctor so if you disagree with some of my information or opinions let me know…..or preferably keep it to yourself ; )

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1 Comment

Reply Alec Torelli
9:30 PM on February 25, 2011 
I really like this Mandy... you're a good writer!

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