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Stress Cause and Effect

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Published: Mar 13, 2024

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Causes of stress, effects of stress.

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What Is Stress?

Your Body's Response to a Situation That Requires Attention or Action

Elizabeth Scott, PhD is an author, workshop leader, educator, and award-winning blogger on stress management, positive psychology, relationships, and emotional wellbeing.

stress causes essay

  • Identifying
  • Next in How Stress Impacts Your Health Guide How to Recognize Burnout Symptoms

Stress can be defined as any type of change that causes physical , emotional, or psychological strain. Stress is your body's response to anything that requires attention or action. 

Everyone experiences stress to some degree. The way you respond to stress, however, makes a big difference to your overall well-being.

Verywell / Brianna Gilmartin

Sometimes, the best way to manage your stress involves changing your situation. At other times, the best strategy involves changing the way you respond to the situation.

Developing a clear understanding of how stress impacts your physical and mental health is important. It's also important to recognize how your mental and physical health affects your stress level.

Watch Now: 5 Ways Stress Can Cause Weight Gain

Signs of stress.

Stress can be short-term or long-term. Both can lead to a variety of symptoms, but chronic stress can take a serious toll on the body over time and have long-lasting health effects.

Some common signs of stress include:

  • Changes in mood
  • Clammy or sweaty palms
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Digestive problems
  • Feeling anxious
  • Frequent sickness
  • Grinding teeth
  • Muscle tension, especially in the neck and shoulders
  • Physical aches and pains
  • Racing heartbeat

Identifying Stress

What does stress feel like? What does stress feel like? It often contributes to irritability, fear, overwork, and frustration. You may feel physically exhausted, worn out, and unable to cope.

Stress is not always easy to recognize, but there are some ways to identify some signs that you might be experiencing too much pressure. Sometimes stress can come from an obvious source, but sometimes even small daily stresses from work, school, family, and friends can take a toll on your mind and body.

If you think stress might be affecting you, there are a few things you can watch for:

  • Psychological signs such as difficulty concentrating, worrying, anxiety, and trouble remembering
  • Emotional signs such as being angry, irritated, moody, or frustrated
  • Physical signs such as high blood pressure, changes in weight, frequent colds or infections, and changes in the menstrual cycle and libido
  • Behavioral signs such as poor self-care, not having time for the things you enjoy, or relying on drugs and alcohol to cope

Stress vs. Anxiety

Stress can sometimes be mistaken for anxiety, and experiencing a great deal of stress can contribute to feelings of anxiety. Experiencing anxiety can make it more difficult to cope with stress and may contribute to other health issues, including increased depression, susceptibility to illness, and digestive problems.

Stress and anxiety contribute to nervousness, poor sleep, high blood pressure , muscle tension, and excess worry. In most cases, stress is caused by external events, while anxiety is caused by your internal reaction to stress. Stress may go away once the threat or the situation resolves, whereas anxiety may persist even after the original stressor is gone.

Causes of Stress

There are many different things in life that can cause stress. Some of the main sources of stress include work, finances, relationships, parenting, and day-to-day inconveniences.

Stress can trigger the body’s response to a perceived threat or danger, known as the fight-or-flight response .   During this reaction, certain hormones like adrenaline and cortisol are released. This speeds the heart rate, slows digestion, shunts blood flow to major muscle groups, and changes various other autonomic nervous functions, giving the body a burst of energy and strength.

Originally named for its ability to enable us to physically fight or run away when faced with danger, the fight-or-flight response is now activated in situations where neither response is appropriate—like in traffic or during a stressful day at work.

When the perceived threat is gone, systems are designed to return to normal function via the relaxation response .   But in cases of chronic stress, the relaxation response doesn't occur often enough, and being in a near-constant state of fight-or-flight can cause damage to the body.

Stress can also lead to some unhealthy habits that have a negative impact on your health. For example, many people cope with stress by eating too much or by smoking. These unhealthy habits damage the body and create bigger problems in the long-term.  

Mental Health in the Workplace Webinar

On May 19, 2022, Verywell Mind hosted a virtual Mental Health in the Workplace webinar, hosted by Amy Morin, LCSW. If you missed it, check out  this recap  to learn ways to foster supportive work environments and helpful strategies to improve your well-being on the job.

Types of Stress

Not all types of stress are harmful or even negative. Some of the different types of stress that you might experience include:

  • Acute stress : Acute stress is a very short-term type of stress that can either be positive or more distressing; this is the type of stress we most often encounter in day-to-day life.
  • Chronic stress : Chronic stress is stress that seems never-ending and inescapable, like the stress of a bad marriage or an extremely taxing job; chronic stress can also stem from traumatic experiences and childhood trauma.
  • Episodic acute stress : Episodic acute stress is acute stress that seems to run rampant and be a way of life, creating a life of ongoing distress.
  • Eustress : Eustress is fun and exciting. It's known as a positive type of stress that can keep you energized. It's associated with surges of adrenaline, such as when you are skiing or racing to meet a deadline. 

4 Main Types of Stress:

The main harmful types of stress are acute stress, chronic stress, and episodic acute stress. Acute stress is usually brief, chronic stress is prolonged, and episodic acute stress is short-term but frequent. Positive stress, known as eustress, can be fun and exciting, but it can also take a toll.

Impact of Stress

Stress can have several effects on your health and well-being. It can make it more challenging to deal with life's daily hassles, affect your interpersonal relationships, and have detrimental effects on your health. The connection between your mind and body is apparent when you examine stress's impact on your life.

Feeling stressed over a relationship, money, or living situation can create physical health issues. The inverse is also true. Health problems, whether you're dealing with high blood pressure or diabetes , will also affect your stress level and mental health. When your brain experiences high degrees of stress , your body reacts accordingly.

Serious acute stress, like being involved in a natural disaster or getting into a verbal altercation, can trigger heart attacks, arrhythmias, and even sudden death. However, this happens mostly in individuals who already have heart disease.

Stress also takes an emotional toll. While some stress may produce feelings of mild anxiety or frustration, prolonged stress can also lead to burnout , anxiety disorders , and depression.

Chronic stress can have a serious impact on your health as well. If you experience chronic stress, your autonomic nervous system will be overactive, which is likely to damage your body.

Stress-Influenced Conditions

  • Heart disease
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Tooth and gum disease

Treatments for Stress

Stress is not a distinct medical diagnosis and there is no single, specific treatment for it. Treatment for stress focuses on changing the situation, developing stress coping skills , implementing relaxation techniques, and treating symptoms or conditions that may have been caused by chronic stress.

Some interventions that may be helpful include therapy, medication, and complementary and alternative medicine (CAM).

Press Play for Advice On Managing Stress

Hosted by therapist Amy Morin, LCSW, this episode of The Verywell Mind Podcast featuring professor Elissa Epel, shares ways to manage stress. Click below to listen now.

Follow Now : Apple Podcasts / Spotify / Google Podcasts / Amazon Music


Some forms of therapy that may be particularly helpful in addressing symptoms of stress including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) . CBT focuses on helping people identify and change negative thinking patterns, while MBSR utilizes meditation and mindfulness to help reduce stress levels.

Medication may sometimes be prescribed to address some specific symptoms that are related to stress. Such medications may include sleep aids, antacids, antidepressants, and anti-anxiety medications.

Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Some complementary approaches that may also be helpful for reducing stress include acupuncture, aromatherapy, massage, yoga, and meditation .

Coping With Stress

Although stress is inevitable, it can be manageable. When you understand the toll it takes on you and the steps to combat stress, you can take charge of your health and reduce the impact stress has on your life.

  • Learn to recognize the signs of burnout. High levels of stress may place you at a high risk of burnout. Burnout can leave you feeling exhausted and apathetic about your job.   When you start to feel symptoms of emotional exhaustion, it's a sign that you need to find a way to get a handle on your stress.
  • Try to get regular exercise. Physical activity has a big impact on your brain and your body . Whether you enjoy Tai Chi or you want to begin jogging, exercise reduces stress and improves many symptoms associated with mental illness.  
  • Take care of yourself. Incorporating regular self-care activities into your daily life is essential to stress management. Learn how to take care of your mind, body, and spirit and discover how to equip yourself to live your best life.  
  • Practice mindfulness in your life. Mindfulness isn't just something you practice for 10 minutes each day. It can also be a way of life. Discover how to live more mindfully throughout your day so you can become more awake and conscious throughout your life.  

If you or a loved one are struggling with stress, contact the  Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline  at 1-800-662-4357 for information on support and treatment facilities in your area.

For more mental health resources, see our  National Helpline Database .

Cleveland Clinic. Stress .

National institute of Mental Health. I'm so stressed out! Fact sheet .

Goldstein DS. Adrenal responses to stress .  Cell Mol Neurobiol . 2010;30(8):1433–1440. doi:10.1007/s10571-010-9606-9

Stahl JE, Dossett ML, LaJoie AS, et al. Relaxation response and resiliency training and its effect on healthcare resource utilization [published correction appears in PLoS One . 2017 Feb 21;12 (2):e0172874].  PLoS One . 2015;10(10):e0140212. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0140212

American Heart Association. Stress and Heart Health.

Chi JS, Kloner RA. Stress and myocardial infarction .  Heart . 2003;89(5):475–476. doi:10.1136/heart.89.5.475

Salvagioni DAJ, Melanda FN, Mesas AE, González AD, Gabani FL, Andrade SM. Physical, psychological and occupational consequences of job burnout: A systematic review of prospective studies .  PLoS One . 2017;12(10):e0185781. Published 2017 Oct 4. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0185781

Bitonte RA, DeSanto DJ 2nd. Mandatory physical exercise for the prevention of mental illness in medical students .  Ment Illn . 2014;6(2):5549. doi:10.4081/mi.2014.5549

Ayala EE, Winseman JS, Johnsen RD, Mason HRC. U.S. medical students who engage in self-care report less stress and higher quality of life .  BMC Med Educ . 2018;18(1):189. doi:10.1186/s12909-018-1296-x

Richards KC, Campenni CE, Muse-Burke JL. Self-care and well-being in mental health professionals: The mediating effects of self-awareness and mindfulness .  J Ment Health Couns . 2010;32(3):247. doi:10.17744/mehc.32.3.0n31v88304423806.

American Psychological Association. 2015 Stress in America .

Krantz DS, Whittaker KS, Sheps DS.  Psychosocial risk factors for coronary heart disease: Pathophysiologic mechanisms .  In R. Allan & J. Fisher,  Heart and mind: The practice of cardiac psychology. American Psychological Association; 2011:91-113. doi:10.1037/13086-004

By Elizabeth Scott, PhD Elizabeth Scott, PhD is an author, workshop leader, educator, and award-winning blogger on stress management, positive psychology, relationships, and emotional wellbeing.

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  • Stress Essay

IELTS Stress Essay

This is a model IELTS stress essay. It is about stress in modern society and how to prevent it.

It is a causes and solutions type essay. In other words, you have to identify what causes stressand then suggest solutions.

Stress is now a major problem in many countries around the world.

What are some of the factors in modern society that cause this stress and how can we reduce it?

This type of essay lends itself to two body paragraphs - one explaining the causes and the next discussing some possible solutions.

As is important with any IELTS essay, you must always read the question carefully.

The topic is often narrowed down to a particular group of people or topic.

Narrowing Down the Topic

Stress in Modern Life Essay

The key here is that ' modern society ' is mentioned.

If you just talk about stress in general but don't connect it to modern society you may be in danger of not fully answering the question .

You need to brainstorm some issues specific to the world we live in today that may result in stress.

What things effect us today that did not (or not too such an extent) 10, 20, 30 years ago?

Using Personal Pronouns

Also, you may notice that ' we ' is used a lot in the stress essay.

Remember an IELTS essay is not quite the same as an academic essay you will normally write. It is can be more personal as you only have your own experience to support your answer with.

You should avoid too many personal pronouns if possible such as ' I ' throughout the essay but you may wish to use this to give your opinion or examples from your own experience at times. This is ok, but don't overdo it.

This question specifically says how can ' we ' reduce it. So it is already making it personal. So it is ok to write about what all of us, or ' we ', can do.

Model Stress Essay

You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

Write about the following topic:

What are some of the factors in modern society that cause this stress, and how can we reduce it?

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own experience or knowledge.

Write at least 250 words.

Stress Essay Model Answer

Stress is a problem that can have detrimental effects on many people’s lives, and there are various factors in modern society responsible for this. However, there are ways to limit the potential impacts.

The modern world we live in today presents us with many issues that we did not have to cope with in the past. Firstly, there are issues of terrorism that we are constantly confronted with in the media. Whether these are real or not, we are led to believe our lives are in constant danger, be it flying on a plane or travelling on public transport. Climate change is another worry that everyone has to face. The results of a significant rise in temperatures could radically affect our ways of life, and our children’s too. There are also more health issues to be concerned about than in the past, with rises in alzheimer’s, diabetes, and stroke to name but a few. All of these concerns can result in stress.

Tackling such problems will not be easy, but there are measures that can be taken. Governments and the media could play their part by ensuring that instead of persistently bombarding us with such negative images and information about the world in which we live, we are given more positive stories too. However, given this is unlikely to happen, we need to develop our own strategies to distract us from these influences. Of course exercising regularly is one thing we should do as this has been shown to increase endorphin levels and lead to feelings of happiness. Sleeping enough helps us to recuperate and restore our body. Finally, eating properly can improve our health and result in less worry about potential diseases.

All in all, although there are many factors around us today which lead to stress, we can take steps to reduce it. Given that the strains we face in modern society will likely get worse, ignoring it is not an option for many people.

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Essay on Causes Of Stress

Students are often asked to write an essay on Causes Of Stress in their schools and colleges. And if you’re also looking for the same, we have created 100-word, 250-word, and 500-word essays on the topic.

Let’s take a look…

100 Words Essay on Causes Of Stress

What is stress.

Stress is like an alarm bell in your body. It happens when you feel under pressure or are facing tough situations. It’s a normal part of life, but too much can make you feel worried, tired, or even sick.

Work and School Pressure

Jobs and school can cause stress. Adults may have too much work, and kids might worry about homework or tests. When there’s a lot to do and not enough time, it can make you feel stressed.

Money Problems

Not having enough money can be stressful. It’s tough when you need to pay for things but can’t. This worry can affect both grown-ups and kids if they see their parents struggling.

Health Issues

Being sick or having someone in the family who is ill can make you stressed. Worrying about health and feeling bad can make it hard to be happy or calm.


Fighting or not getting along with friends and family can make you feel stressed. It’s hard when you don’t feel supported or loved by those around you.

250 Words Essay on Causes Of Stress

Stress is like feeling worried or uncomfortable because something tough or challenging is happening. It’s a normal part of life, but too much can make us feel sick or unhappy.

Too Much Work

One big reason for stress is having too much to do. This can happen at school when there are many homework assignments, tests, or projects all at once. Even grown-ups feel stressed when they have too many tasks at their jobs.

Problems at Home

Sometimes, families face hard times like arguments or money troubles. These problems can make both kids and adults feel stressed. It’s like carrying a heavy backpack all the time, which makes you tired and sad.

Being sick or having a health problem can also cause stress. It’s scary to go to the doctor or worry about getting better. This can make your mind and body feel very tired and worried.

Changes in Life

Big changes, like moving to a new school or having a new sibling, can be exciting but also stressful. It’s like playing a new game without knowing the rules, which can make you feel nervous.

Too Little Time to Relax

Just like adults, kids need time to relax and have fun. If you don’t get breaks to play or rest, you might start to feel stressed. It’s important to balance work and fun to stay happy and healthy.

Stress comes from many places, but knowing the causes can help us deal with it better. Talking to friends, family, or teachers can also help us feel less stressed. Remember, it’s okay to ask for help when you’re feeling too worried.

500 Words Essay on Causes Of Stress

Stress is like an alarm clock in our body that rings when we face challenges or dangers. Imagine you have a big test coming up or you’re about to perform on stage. Your heart beats faster, and you might feel nervous. That’s stress doing its job, telling you to get ready to face something important.

One major cause of stress is having too much to do and not enough time to do it. This can happen to anyone, like when students have a lot of homework from different subjects all due on the same day. For adults, it might be juggling a job, taking care of their family, and running a house. When our to-do list is too long, our stress levels go up.

Problems with Friends and Family

Problems with people we care about can also make us stressed. Think about a time when you had a fight with your best friend or when your parents didn’t agree with you. These situations can leave us feeling upset, worried, and stressed because our relationships with others are very important to us.

School and Work Pressure

School can be a big source of stress for students. Tests, grades, and trying to do well in class can make you feel a lot of pressure. For grown-ups, their jobs can be just as stressful. Meeting deadlines, dealing with difficult tasks, or working with tough people can all add to the stress bucket.

Change and Uncertainty

Change is a part of life, but it’s not always easy to deal with. Moving to a new place, starting at a new school, or even growing up can be stressful. Not knowing what will happen next can make us feel like we’re not in control, and that’s a feeling that can cause stress.

Being sick or having a long-term health problem can be a big cause of stress. It’s not just about feeling unwell, but also worrying about doctor’s visits, medicine, and sometimes missing out on fun activities or school. Watching a family member deal with health issues can also make us stressed.

Even as a student, you might understand that money can cause stress. If your family is worried about paying bills or not having enough money to buy things you need, this can create a stressful atmosphere at home. Adults often stress about money when it comes to providing for their families and making sure there’s enough for everything.

Too Much Screen Time

In today’s world, we spend a lot of time looking at screens, whether it’s computers, phones, or TVs. Too much screen time, especially before bed, can make it hard to sleep and leave us feeling tired and stressed the next day. It’s important to take breaks and do other activities too.

Stress is a normal part of life, but too much of it can make us feel unhappy and can even make us sick. By understanding what causes stress, we can get better at dealing with it. Remember to take breaks, talk about your feelings, and ask for help when you need it. Life can be busy and challenging, but knowing what makes you stressed is the first step to feeling better.

That’s it! I hope the essay helped you.

If you’re looking for more, here are essays on other interesting topics:

  • Essay on Causes Of Pollution
  • Essay on Causes Of Obesity
  • Essay on Causes Of Immigration

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Essay on Stress Management

500 words essay on stress management.

Stress is a very complex phenomenon that we can define in several ways. However, if you put them together, it is basically the wear and tear of daily life. Stress management refers to a wide spectrum of techniques and psychotherapies for controlling a person’s stress level, especially chronic stress . If there is effective stress management, we can help one another break the hold of stress on our lives. The essay on stress management will throw light on the very same thing.

essay on stress management

Identifying the Source of Stress

The first step of stress management is identifying the source of stress in your life. It is not as easy as that but it is essential. The true source of stress may not always be evident as we tend to overlook our own stress-inducing thoughts and feelings.

For instance, you might constantly worry about meeting your deadline. But, in reality, maybe your procrastination is what leads to this stress than the actual deadline. In order to identify the source of stress, we must look closely within ourselves.

If you explain away stress as temporary, then it may be a problem. Like if you yourself don’t take a breather from time to time, what is the point? On the other hand, is stress an integral part of your work and you acknowledging it like that?

If you make it a part of your personality, like you label things as crazy or nervous energy, you need to look further. Most importantly, do you blame the stress on people around you or the events surrounding you?

It is essential to take responsibility for the role one plays in creating or maintaining stress. Your stress will remain outside your control if you do not do it.

Strategies for Stress Management

It is obvious that we cannot avoid all kinds of stress but there are many stressors in your life which you can definitely eliminate. It is important to learn how to say no and stick to them.  Try to avoid people who stress you out.

Further, if you cannot avoid a stressful situation, try altering it. Express your feelings don’t bottle them up and manage your time better. Moreover, you can also adapt to the stressor if you can’t change it.

Reframe problems and look at the big picture. Similarly, adjust your standards and focus on the positive side. Never try to control the uncontrollable. Most importantly, make time for having fun and relaxing.

Spend some time with nature, go for a walk or call a friend, whatever pleases you.  You can also try working out, listening to music and more. As long as it makes you happy, never give up.

Get the huge list of more than 500 Essay Topics and Ideas

Conclusion of the Essay on Stress Management

All in all, we can control our stress levels with relaxation techniques that evoke the relaxation response of our body. It is the state of restfulness that is the opposite of the stress response. Thus, when you practice these techniques regularly, you can build your resilience and heal yourself.

FAQ of Essay on Stress Management

Question 1: What is the importance of stress management?

Answer 1: Stress management is very efficient as it helps in breaking the hold which stress has on our lives. Moreover, you can also become happy, healthy and more productive because of it. The ultimate goal should be to live a balanced life and have the resilience to hold up under pressure.

Question 2: Give some stress management techniques.

Answer 2: There are many stress management techniques through which one can reduce stress in their lives. One can change their situation or their reaction to it. We can try by altering the situation. If not, we can change our attitudes towards it. Remember, accept things that you cannot change.

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A white balloon sits on an blue airplane seat with a seatbelt around it.

Why Do I Feel Gassy on Airplanes?

There are a few reasons that air travel can cause bloating. We have tips for making your next flight more comfortable.

Credit... Joyce Lee for The New York Times

Supported by

Alice Callahan

By Alice Callahan

  • Published March 26, 2024 Updated March 27, 2024

Q: I often feel uncomfortably bloated during flights. Why is that, and is there anything I can do about it?

A day of air travel can throw a wrench into the inner workings of your digestive system, causing gas, bloating and the need to release some pressure.

That tightness you feel in your waistband on a flight? “This is a real thing,” said Dr. Melissa Hershman, a gastroenterologist at Oregon Health and Science University.

Some people — such as those with irritable bowel syndrome — are bothered by airplane gas and bloating more than others, said Dr. Baha Moshiree, a gastroenterologist at Atrium Health Wake Forest in Charlotte, N.C.

But, she said, understanding the causes of these symptoms can help you strategize how to avoid them.

Why air travel makes you gassy

We always have some gas in our digestive tracts. We swallow air when eating and drinking, Dr. Hershman said, and our gut microbes also produce gas.

When an airplane climbs and cabin pressure drops, that normal amount of gas expands, taking up more space in your stomach and intestines, she said. This is similar to what happens to a bag of chips or a plastic water bottle, Dr. Moshiree added. “It becomes all puffy.”

There isn’t much research on the topic, but in a 1969 study , 18 military men “agreed to avoid passing of gas” during a simulated flight. As their simulated altitude climbed from ground level to nearly 30,000 feet, their average abdominal gas more than quadrupled.

Being at high altitude also seems to slow down the muscle contractions that keep the contents of your digestive system moving, Dr. Moshiree said. Experts don’t know why this happens, she added. But it’s one reason that you may feel constipated on airplane travel days , and a sluggish gut can also allow more gas to build up.

Sitting for hours during a long flight doesn’t help, Dr. Hershman said — walking and other physical activity normally help keep the gastrointestinal tract “moving along.”

Travel stress and anxiety can also worsen gas and bloating, said Megan Riehl, a gastrointestinal psychologist at Michigan Medicine.

How to prevent and cope with gas while traveling

You can’t change the altitude or air pressure of your plane. But if flying makes you gassy and bloated, experts have suggestions for your next trip.

Watch what you eat. Starting the day before your departure, avoid foods that you know make you gassy, said Tamara Duker Freuman, a dietitian in New York City who specializes in digestive conditions. Common culprits include high FODMAP foods like beans, onions, garlic, wheat, and certain nuts, dairy products and fruits.

On your travel day, continue to avoid these foods. Consider packing meals or snacks that sit well with you, Dr. Riehl added, so you aren’t at the mercy of what’s available in the airport.

Stay hydrated. “Hydration is key” for avoiding constipation, which can worsen gas and bloating, Dr. Moshiree said. Bring a refillable water bottle so that you can sip water throughout the day. And avoid alcohol the day before and the day of travel, since it can be dehydrating, she added.

Coffee has a bad reputation for being dehydrating, but there’s no evidence that it is — or that coffee increases bloating, Ms. Freuman said.

For some people, carbonated beverages can increase gas symptoms, Ms. Freuman said. But for others, seltzer may help them burp a bit and reduce gas buildup. “Know thyself,” she said, and choose your beverages accordingly.

Use medications and supplements as needed. You can consider taking an over-the-counter medication like Gas-X or Mylanta before your flight, Dr. Hershman said. Or try an enzyme supplement like Beano or Fodzyme before eating, which may help reduce gas produced from digestion, she added.

Avoid gum. Chewing gum may ease ear discomfort while flying, but it can also cause you to swallow more air, Dr. Hershman said. If you’re concerned about bloating, try skipping the gum or limiting your chewing, she said.

Move your body. If you can, get up from your seat every hour or so, Ms. Freuman said. Try to find some space to reach toward your toes, or twist your midsection from side to side. These movements can help the gas spread out in your gut rather than pooling in one spot, she said.

Breathe deeply. If you’re stuck in your seat, diaphragmatic breathing may help reduce stress and relax your gut, Dr. Riehl said.

First, take a four-second inhale through your nose and feel your belly rising, she explained. Then, exhale for six seconds through your mouth and feel your belly fall.

‘Let it go.’ If gas is causing pain or discomfort, holding it in will make you feel worse, Dr. Riehl added. “It’s healthy to just let it out.”

Walk to the bathroom if you can. But if that’s not an option, let the engine noise be your cover and “just let it go,” she said.

“Trust me,” she said, “you’re not the only one farting on an airplane.”

Alice Callahan is a Times reporter covering nutrition and health. She has a Ph.D. in nutrition from the University of California, Davis. More about Alice Callahan

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Stress Among College Students: Causes, Effects and Overcomes Essay

Introduction, causes of stress in college students, effects of stress, overcoming stress, works cited.

Stress is a considerable problem in the modern society. People often experience high levels of stress due to being overwhelmed with a wide range of duties, such as work, studying, family duties, etc. In particular, college students are one group that is rather susceptible to stress, and can feel the adverse consequences of it very often (Brougham et al. 85); however, there are certain techniques that might help these learners overcome stress.

There are a number of causes of stress among college students (Lund et al. 127-129); according to Brougham et al., some of these causes include daily hassles, financial factors, and academic factors (90). The daily hassles that students are forced to deal with in the process of studying as identified by Brougham et al. are not directly related to college life; in fact, they include such problems as being stuck in traffic congestions, awakening too late in the morning, and the inability to find a place for parking (89). The financial causes of stress that college students are faced with include such issues as the need to pay one’s bills, the dearth of financial resources, and spending too much money when one should have not done so (Brougham et al. 89). Finally, the academic causes of stress, which are clearly specific to this population, include the need to write papers, especially final papers or assignments; worrying about the possibility to obtain low grades during an exam, or regret resulting from having received such; and difficulties related to the selection of one’s major (Brougham et al. 89). It is clear that students who are challenged with a large number of such stressors at the same time are more likely to develop a larger number of symptoms of stress, which have an adverse effect on these students’ ability to function effectively.

Due to stress, college students may experience such adverse outcomes as the decreased levels of cognitive functioning, the impaired ability to study, and, consequently, lower academic performance (Abdulghani et al. 516). First of all, the fact that a student is experiencing stress might have a considerable adverse effect on their ability to perform a wide range of cognitive functions, which are necessary for both proper social functioning and for participation in learning activities. Students who are stressed might feel too tired, not be able to think clearly, or unable to focus on the task at hand. Second, as a result of this, stressed learners may find themselves incapable of concentrating on learning activities and tasks, whether listening to a lecture, reading a book or article, or writing text.

Some students might also start feeling despair or experience depression, which creates further barriers for carrying out their academic duties. Finally, the inability to properly do the tasks related to learning results in decreased academic performance, leading to grades which are lower than those of learners who do not suffer from the symptoms of stress (Abdulghani et al. 517-520). It should be pointed out that the decreased academic performance, as has already been noted above, plays the role of a stressor as well, thus further impairing the learners’ ability to study. Therefore, apart from impairing the student’s ability to function, stress also accumulates and, to a certain degree, starts being the cause of itself.

Because of the serious impact of stress on the academic performance of college students, it might be recommended that students utilize coping strategies in order to decrease the level of stress (Jimenez et al. 444-447); one such strategy includes goal regulation (Neely et al. 88-89). Some authors state that goal regulation “consists of both the ability to disengage from goals that are unattainable and reengage in the pursuit of alternative goals” (qtd. in Neely et al. 89). There are a number of effects of this technique. First, a student who practices goal regulation is able to identify goals that are not attainable, and redirect their attention to aims that can be achieved in practice, which results in a more efficacious use of the temporal resources and the energy that a student possesses; consequently, students are less overwhelmed with tasks and thus may experience lower levels of stress.

Second, pursuing more concrete goals permits a student to direct their efforts towards these goals, thus considerably increasing their chance to achieve them; such an achievement can be viewed as a certain type of reward, thus increasing the student’s level of satisfaction and demonstrating them that they can achieve aims that they set. And finally, students who can disengage from pursuing unattainable and wasteful goals may be able to start “seeing the light at the end of the tunnel”; in practice, they experience fewer intrusive thoughts and lower levels of helplessness (Neely et al. 89). Therefore, goal regulation has a considerable potential as a method for overcoming stress, for it permits students to better distribute their resources, gain certain achievements, and stop feeling helpless.

Thus, college students often suffer from stress, which can have profoundly adverse effects on their lives; however, certain techniques might allow these people to overcome this problem (Caldwell et al. 433-435). Numerous issues cause stress in college students; these include daily hassles, financial and academic factors. Stress can impair students’ cognitive function, the ability to learn, and decrease their academic performance. However, goal regulation might help them to overcome stress. It should also be noted that this and other techniques for stress coping might be useful not only for college students but for other populations as well.

Abdulghani, Hamza M., et al. “Stress and Its Effects on Medical Students: A Cross-Sectional Study at a College of Medicine in Saudi Arabia.” Journal of Health, Population and Nutrition , vol. 29, no. 5, 2011, pp. 516-522.

Brougham, Ruby R., et al. “Stress, Sex Differences, and Coping Strategies Among College Students.” Current Psychology , vol. 28, 2009, pp. 85-97.

Caldwell, Karen, et al. “Developing Mindfulness in College Students Through Movement Based Courses: Effects on Self-Regulatory Self-Efficacy, Mood, Stress, and Sleep Quality.” Journal of American College Health , vol. 58, no. 5, 2010, pp. 433-442.

Jimenez, Cristobal, et al. “Stress and Health in Novice and Experienced Nursing Students.” Journal of Advanced Nursing , vol. 66, no. 2, 2010, pp. 442-455.

Lund, Hannah G., et al. “Sleep Patterns and Predictors of Disturbed Sleep in a Large Population of College Students.” Journal of Adolescent Health , vol. 46, 2010, pp. 124-132.

Neely, Michelle E., et al. “Self-Kindness When Facing Stress: The Role of Self-Compassion, Goal Regulation, and Support in College Students’ Well-Being.” Motivation and Emotion Journal , vol. 33, 2009, pp. 88-97.

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What to know about the crisis of violence, politics and hunger engulfing Haiti

A woman carrying two bags of rice walks past burning tires

A long-simmering crisis over Haiti’s ability to govern itself, particularly after a series of natural disasters and an increasingly dire humanitarian emergency, has come to a head in the Caribbean nation, as its de facto president remains stranded in Puerto Rico and its people starve and live in fear of rampant violence. 

The chaos engulfing the country has been bubbling for more than a year, only for it to spill over on the global stage on Monday night, as Haiti’s unpopular prime minister, Ariel Henry, agreed to resign once a transitional government is brokered by other Caribbean nations and parties, including the U.S.

But the very idea of a transitional government brokered not by Haitians but by outsiders is one of the main reasons Haiti, a nation of 11 million, is on the brink, according to humanitarian workers and residents who have called for Haitian-led solutions. 

“What we’re seeing in Haiti has been building since the 2010 earthquake,” said Greg Beckett, an associate professor of anthropology at Western University in Canada. 

Haitians take shelter in the Delmas 4 Olympic Boxing Arena

What is happening in Haiti and why?

In the power vacuum that followed the assassination of democratically elected President Jovenel Moïse in 2021, Henry, who was prime minister under Moïse, assumed power, with the support of several nations, including the U.S. 

When Haiti failed to hold elections multiple times — Henry said it was due to logistical problems or violence — protests rang out against him. By the time Henry announced last year that elections would be postponed again, to 2025, armed groups that were already active in Port-au-Prince, the capital, dialed up the violence.

Even before Moïse’s assassination, these militias and armed groups existed alongside politicians who used them to do their bidding, including everything from intimidating the opposition to collecting votes . With the dwindling of the country’s elected officials, though, many of these rebel forces have engaged in excessively violent acts, and have taken control of at least 80% of the capital, according to a United Nations estimate. 

Those groups, which include paramilitary and former police officers who pose as community leaders, have been responsible for the increase in killings, kidnappings and rapes since Moïse’s death, according to the Uppsala Conflict Data Program at Uppsala University in Sweden. According to a report from the U.N . released in January, more than 8,400 people were killed, injured or kidnapped in 2023, an increase of 122% increase from 2022.

“January and February have been the most violent months in the recent crisis, with thousands of people killed, or injured, or raped,” Beckett said.

Image: Ariel Henry

Armed groups who had been calling for Henry’s resignation have already attacked airports, police stations, sea ports, the Central Bank and the country’s national soccer stadium. The situation reached critical mass earlier this month when the country’s two main prisons were raided , leading to the escape of about 4,000 prisoners. The beleaguered government called a 72-hour state of emergency, including a night-time curfew — but its authority had evaporated by then.

Aside from human-made catastrophes, Haiti still has not fully recovered from the devastating earthquake in 2010 that killed about 220,000 people and left 1.5 million homeless, many of them living in poorly built and exposed housing. More earthquakes, hurricanes and floods have followed, exacerbating efforts to rebuild infrastructure and a sense of national unity.

Since the earthquake, “there have been groups in Haiti trying to control that reconstruction process and the funding, the billions of dollars coming into the country to rebuild it,” said Beckett, who specializes in the Caribbean, particularly Haiti. 

Beckett said that control initially came from politicians and subsequently from armed groups supported by those politicians. Political “parties that controlled the government used the government for corruption to steal that money. We’re seeing the fallout from that.”

Haiti Experiences Surge Of Gang Violence

Many armed groups have formed in recent years claiming to be community groups carrying out essential work in underprivileged neighborhoods, but they have instead been accused of violence, even murder . One of the two main groups, G-9, is led by a former elite police officer, Jimmy Chérizier — also known as “Barbecue” — who has become the public face of the unrest and claimed credit for various attacks on public institutions. He has openly called for Henry to step down and called his campaign an “armed revolution.”

But caught in the crossfire are the residents of Haiti. In just one week, 15,000 people have been displaced from Port-au-Prince, according to a U.N. estimate. But people have been trying to flee the capital for well over a year, with one woman telling NBC News that she is currently hiding in a church with her three children and another family with eight children. The U.N. said about 160,000 people have left Port-au-Prince because of the swell of violence in the last several months. 

Deep poverty and famine are also a serious danger. Gangs have cut off access to the country’s largest port, Autorité Portuaire Nationale, and food could soon become scarce.

Haiti's uncertain future

A new transitional government may dismay the Haitians and their supporters who call for Haitian-led solutions to the crisis. 

But the creation of such a government would come after years of democratic disruption and the crumbling of Haiti’s political leadership. The country hasn’t held an election in eight years. 

Haitian advocates and scholars like Jemima Pierre, a professor at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, say foreign intervention, including from the U.S., is partially to blame for Haiti’s turmoil. The U.S. has routinely sent thousands of troops to Haiti , intervened in its government and supported unpopular leaders like Henry.

“What you have over the last 20 years is the consistent dismantling of the Haitian state,” Pierre said. “What intervention means for Haiti, what it has always meant, is death and destruction.”

Image: Workers unload humanitarian aid from a U.S. helicopter at Les Cayes airport in Haiti, Aug. 18, 2021.

In fact, the country’s situation was so dire that Henry was forced to travel abroad in the hope of securing a U.N. peacekeeping deal. He went to Kenya, which agreed to send 1,000 troops to coordinate an East African and U.N.-backed alliance to help restore order in Haiti, but the plan is now on hold . Kenya agreed last October to send a U.N.-sanctioned security force to Haiti, but Kenya’s courts decided it was unconstitutional. The result has been Haiti fending for itself. 

“A force like Kenya, they don’t speak Kreyòl, they don’t speak French,” Pierre said. “The Kenyan police are known for human rights abuses . So what does it tell us as Haitians that the only thing that you see that we deserve are not schools, not reparations for the cholera the U.N. brought , but more military with the mandate to use all kinds of force on our population? That is unacceptable.”  

Henry was forced to announce his planned resignation from Puerto Rico, as threats of violence — and armed groups taking over the airports — have prevented him from returning to his country.  

An elderly woman runs in front of the damaged police station building with tires burning in front of it

Now that Henry is to stand down, it is far from clear what the armed groups will do or demand next, aside from the right to govern. 

“It’s the Haitian people who know what they’re going through. It’s the Haitian people who are going to take destiny into their own hands. Haitian people will choose who will govern them,” Chérizier said recently, according to The Associated Press .

Haitians and their supporters have put forth their own solutions over the years, holding that foreign intervention routinely ignores the voices and desires of Haitians. 

In 2021, both Haitian and non-Haitian church leaders, women’s rights groups, lawyers, humanitarian workers, the Voodoo Sector and more created the Commission to Search for a Haitian Solution to the Crisis . The commission has proposed the “ Montana Accord ,” outlining a two-year interim government with oversight committees tasked with restoring order, eradicating corruption and establishing fair elections. 

For more from NBC BLK, sign up for our weekly newsletter .

CORRECTION (March 15, 2024, 9:58 a.m. ET): An earlier version of this article misstated which university Jemima Pierre is affiliated with. She is a professor at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, not the University of California, Los Angeles, (or Columbia University, as an earlier correction misstated).

stress causes essay

Patrick Smith is a London-based editor and reporter for NBC News Digital.

stress causes essay

Char Adams is a reporter for NBC BLK who writes about race.


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