Stress and health in the modern world – Conclusion

The role of stress in development of mental illness is gaining increasing recognition due to better understanding of concepts such as depression and anxiety disorders. The lack of a conventional definition of stress, and lack of physical attributes associated with other disease-causing agents however make it challenging to attribute a specific illness to stress. Since stress can either be of a positive nature (eustress) or a negative form (distress), complete elimination of stress may be a difficult to achieve. Increasing cases of stress, especially work-related stress, however, necessitate the adoption of effective coping strategies to help individuals experiencing strenuous events. Such coping strategies are better when targeted at exogenous factors than endogenous factors that may be hard to modify. For instance, building an individual’s sense of self-worth may help him/her perceive events more lightly thus avoiding stress. In events such as trauma, provision of social support may help the individual to overcome the trauma and lead a meaningful life subsequently. The implication of stress in mental illness, increasing variety of stressors in contemporary world, and individual differences in perception of stressors necessitate continuous evaluation of strategies that show effect for specific groups and settings.

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