Stress Management

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Diet for Stress Management Slideshow

Who is most susceptible to stress?

Stress comes in all forms and affects people of all ages and all walks of life. No external standards can be applied to predict stress levels in individuals -- one need not have a traditionally stressful job to experience workplace stress, just as a parent of one child may experience more stress related to parenting than a parent of several children. The degree of stress in our lives is highly dependent upon individual factors such as our physical health, the quality of our interpersonal relationships, the number of commitments and responsibilities we carry, the degree of others' dependence upon and expectations of us, the amount of support we receive from others, and the number of changes or traumatic events that have recently occurred in our lives.

However, certain factors can enhance our susceptibility to stress or act to reduce its severity. People with strong social support networks (consisting of family, friends, religious organizations, or other social groups) report less stress and overall improved mental health in comparison to those without these social contacts. People who are poorly nourished, who get inadequate sleep, or who are physically unwell also have reduced capabilities to handle the pressures and stresses of everyday life and may report higher stress levels. Some stressors are particularly associated with certain age groups or life stages. Children, teens, college students, working parents, and seniors are examples of the groups who often face common stressors related to life transitions.

Image of areas of the body that are affected by stress
Image of areas of the body that are affected by stress

People who are providing care for elderly or infirm loved ones may also experience a great deal of stress as caregivers. Having a loved one or family member who is under a great deal of stress often increases our own stress levels as well.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/18/2015
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