Blood can be felt rushing through the body, palms are sweaty, a storm is churning in the stomach, the heart is beating fast, a hammer is beating inside the head, and the brain is saying the body is going to either pass out or collapse from a nervous breakdown. This is known as stress, the body’s physical reaction to a given situation perceived as challenging or emotionally negative. Stress can cause a person of any age to have poor physical, emotional, and mental health; therefore, it needs to be addressed. A major cause of stress is the pressure to be successful, whether academically or in the work force. Teachers give students numerous assignments and employers assign employees numerous tasks, all of which have to be completed according to strict guidelines within a short timeframe, while still having to deal with matters that occur in life. The pressure from these assignments combined with the person’s desire to be successful and the pressure of meeting the expectations of family, friends, employers or teachers results in the person pushing his body beyond its limit. Hours of sleep are decreased and working hours are increased. Unhealthy eating habits take the place of meals or eating is skipped all together. Sleep allows the brain and body to relax and recharge.
The National Sleep Foundation recommends people to maintain a regular sleep schedule and suggests, especially for students, at least 8.5 hours of sleep each night (Hales and Hales, 2016). A lack of adequate sleep leaves the body feeling tired, hinders the mind from concentrating, and clouds the brain’s ability to learn new information and solve problems. Not sleeping due to the stress to achieve success just leads to more stress. A person’s stress level also increases due to poor nutrition and unhealthy eating habits. Fast, convenience, and processed foods are high in refined carbohydrates, sugar, caffeine, and fat, which all induce stress. In order to function appropriately, the human body and brain need to be refueled on a regular basis with balanced meals of foods such as complex carbohydrates, fruits, vegetables, lean protein, whole grains, nuts, and foods low in fat content. Poor nutrition results in physical difficulties such as stomach upset, high blood pressure, headaches, chest pain, and a depleted immune system, which can all affect a person’s performance (Kumar, 2015).
When a person is physically ill, he does not feel like completing tasks. This causes the chances for success to be lowered, which results in more stress. High stress levels can result in a person’s mind being consistently focused on the negative factors being faced, weaknesses, and shortcomings instead of on strengths and achievements. Self-defeating thoughts lower the person’s self-esteem causing him to lose confidence in his ability to be successful. If a person loses confidence, he can’t work to his fullest potential to achieve success. Not being able to achieve success, builds more stress. This stress can then cause the person to withdraw emotionally from others because he feels he cannot meet their expectations. People feel stressed due to the pressures to be successful, lack of sleep, and poor nutrition. People need to have an adequate amount of sleep each night, proper nutrition each day, and a low pressure environment in order for their bodies and brains to function appropriately. Like building blocks stacked too high on top of each other until they tumble over, the effects of stress build upon each other until the person can no longer function appropriately.
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