stress impact on healthy lifestyle

Abstract

Stress and its impact on health is an ever-evolving and challenging field. With most recent and expanding literature, this study will highlight the key findings that can help eradicate or reduce this phenomenon. The most important in this study is its uniqueness to diagnose, report, and recommend the key issues on stress in the recent times. The hypotheses in this study will include: a) Alternative stress management practices and models have positive effect on restoring patient health; b) there is no significant difference on the long-term impact of stress among different age groups; and c) there is no significant difference on the impact of stress among different psychological and socio-economic remedies. A randomized control experiment will be conducted on a group of participants aged between 18 to 54 years. Socio-economic, psychological, and nutritional variables will be collected to inform the outcome of this study. A structured self-administered questionnaire will be used for collecting data for the study. Recruited participants will be requested to sign the informed consent before beginning to fill out the questionnaire.

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Introduction

There is an increasing negative impact of stress and stress-related problems worldwide. Reports indicate that there is a shift of stress factors as new and challenging contributors are emerging. Among the worst affected are the youths aged between 18 and 33 years, forming 39 percent of the total American population. Among the recent contributors to stressful life and unhealthy mental cognitive abilities is technology. Combined with life commitments, financial pressures, and poor time management skills, the impact may become more negative and excessive to handle. Furthermore, the effects on both health and academic performance have also received academic attention. Findings also indicate that some factors are related to physiological activities, life habits, and nutritional uptake of an individual.

Social-economic constraints have also attributed to stress. Studies have indicated the importance of social structures in dealing with stress. These may include the support of family members and friends. In a different study about the impact of stress systems and lifestyle on diseases, Dortland indicated that stress may be a big contributor to the increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), anxiety, and depression. Therefore, it can be argued that for a healthy lifestyle, stress and stress-causing factors should be limited and reduced by all means. This has seen tremendous increase in suggestions and therapies through governments and individuals including thorough academic research. Furthermore, there are many evolving websites that are dedicated to issues of stress and how to cope with it.

Some solutions suggested are based on changing lifestyle, whereas the others suggest physiological and psychological therapies. Relaxation, enough sleep, and socializing have been found to be effective. The site has also suggested keeping a stress diary and has provided techniques on how to deal with stress. It can therefore be admitted that stress has its causes, its symptoms and perhaps ways of dealing with it both effectively and efficiently. This paper will highlight the impacts that stress has on different lifestyles that people lead across the world.

Literature Review

Stress has harmful consequences on the health of an individual. Stressful situations occur to everybody regardless of the socio-economic statuses and personal factors. The causes are not predictable, and stressful events and situations occur randomly. Short-term stress heals, while the long-term stress remains persistent, which is associated with the development of disorders that affect the general physical and psychological condition of a patient. Long-term impact of stress causes deviations from the routine behaviors. For example, stressful conditions have been associated with avoiding meals or abnormal eating habits as a way of developing coping mechanisms. Overeating or avoiding meals is associated with the risk of developing obesity or anorexia respectively hence impacting the healthy lifestyle.

The complex correlation of stress and healthy lifestyle causes difficulties when an individual is trying to find coping mechanisms. Small stressful events are beneficial to an individual, because they elevate individual performance. On the other hand, severe stress has the potential of detrimental effects and may cause chronic illnesses such as ulcers, heart attacks, and mental illnesses. The complex association between stress and health suggests that treating the same is challenging. Individuals whose health deteriorates due to stress usually have little psychiatric assistance. They seldom find an alternative to avoid the uncomfortable situations; thus, stress persistence leads to harmful health impact. Several researchers have attributed stress to the environment as well as the role of the victim’s behaviors in exacerbating stress or reducing it.

The fact that stress correlates with poor health is described through experiments. However, psychology researchers have not established effective treatment strategies for restoring and maintaining individual health after experiencing a stressful situation. Patients may heal from stress aftereffects through treatment; however, their stress-caused health problems may not heal. Given the nature of stress, occurring randomly to anybody, anywhere and at any time, its risk is inevitable. Therefore, the information gap exists in information regarding effective treatment that will reverse the health problem spanning from stress. The role of extended psychiatric treatment, which employs individual’s past stress model to maintain a healthy lifestyle after general stress treatment practices, has not been explored. The current research seeks to establish the role of extended psychiatric approach of alternative stress management practices that will be considered effective in restoring the health of individuals after stress.

Research Questions

  1. Which stress management practices and models are being used to combat its harmful effects?
  2. What are the potential and long-term effects of psychological and socio-economic interventions aimed at combating stress?
  3. Are there alternative stress management practices effective for restoring patient health after stressful events?

Statement of the Problem

Stress involuntarily dictates an individual’s lifestyle. Severe or chronic stress remains persistent even in the presence of coping mechanism and continues to affect an individual’s health, especially through creating dangerous behaviors. Stress may be treated. Moreover, patients may heal if causing events do not recur. The recent intervention mechanisms placed nationwide and supported by governments and individuals have helped, but not in many cases. Furthermore, information that would indicate restored health after healed stress is severely scanty and to some extent not available in the modern literature. The gap observed warrant investigation and highlighting of the impact that stress has on the lifestyle by seeking alternative treatment strategies for a healthy lifestyle.

Hypotheses

  1. Alternative stress management practices and models have positive effect on restoring patient health.
  2. There is no significant difference on the long-term impact of stress among different age groups.
  3. There is no significant difference on the impact of stress among different psychological and socio-economic remedies.

Methodology

Study Design

Randomized control experiment will be used for the current study. Former randomly chosen stress patients will be assigned into two groups. The first group will not receive any proposed post-stress treatment. The second group will receive psychiatric treatment that reminds them of the possibility of stressful event recurrence. Moreover, the second group will be provided with strategies to address recurrence. The experiment will run for a period of 5 months.

Participants

The participants for the study were selected from the database of employees of different corporate organizations. The corporate environment has different vulnerability in terms of causing stress to their employees. Stress patients who underwent treatment in the last year will be selected for the study. The rationale for choosing recent stress patients is based on the recovery time, as they have not fully healed and their stressful events have fresh health problems. The main demographic factor considered is age, and participants have the age range of 18-54 years. The rationale for selecting the adult age group is that they have personal and corporate life experiences and can define the recurring stressful factors. Different corporate organizations reflect a unique environment that corresponds to either reduced or increased stress.

Materials

A structured self-administered questionnaire will be used for collecting data for the study. The psychological instrument, namely the Schedule of Recent Experience, is employed for the assessment of the latest life events. Data collected will be evaluated by multivariate analysis using SPSS statistical software version 22. A comparison of health indicators for the two groups will be made in the beginning of the study and at the end of the research.

Procedures

Recruited participants will be requested to sign the informed consent before beginning to fill out the questionnaire. Demographic variables including gender, marital status, and age of participants will be measured according to the nominal scale. Dependent, or test variables, in the questionnaires includes personal experience with stress in the past that can be categorized as severe on non-severe; and medical data, like absence or presence of disorders, will be measured using ordinal scales. Moreover, the history of overweight and obesity will be included in the questions, as the history of weight changes corresponds to the assessment of healthy living. Independent variables include medical data like the absence or presence of disorders, which will be measured by ordinal scales.

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