Stress is considered to be a natural part of the contemporary world. Everybody is exposed to a certain amount of stress. Nonetheless, it should be made clear that stress doesn’t occupy a greater place in our lives today than it did in the past. Although cavemen didn’t have to worry about the stock market or the atomic bomb, they worried about being eaten by a bear while they were asleep or about dying of hunger – things that few people worry much about today.
It’s not that people suffer more stress today, it’s just that they think they do. Everybody thinks that he or she is under the greatest stress. The truth is that everybody actually is under stress because if we really managed to avoid stress completely, we would be dead. Stress is the response of the body to any demand. Stress is the state you are in, not the agent that produces it, which is called a stressor. Cold and heat are stressors.
However, having a highly developed central nervous system, man most frequently suffers from stress due to emotional stressors. The thing for the average person to remember is that all the demands that you make – whether on your brain or on your liver or your muscles or your bones cause stress. For example, stress can occur under deep anesthesia, when your emotions are not engaged, or in animals that have no nervous system, or even in plants.
There are two ways of telling when someone is under stress. One, not accessible to the public, is biochemical and neurological measuring blood pressure, hormone levels, the electric activity of the brain and so on. Nevertheless, there are other indicators that anyone can judge. No two people react the same way, but the usual responses are an increase in pulse rate and an increased tendency to sweat. You will also become more irritable and will sometimes suffer insomnia, even long after the stressor agent is gone. You will usually become less capable of concentrating and you will have an increased desire to move about.
There are various causes of stress. They differ in various civilizations and historical time periods. At certain times, disease and hunger were the predominant causes. Another, now and then, is warfare or the fear of war. At the moment, the most frequent causes of distress in man are psychological, e.g., lack of adaptation or not having a code of behaviour.
The secret code to coping with stress is not to avoid stress but ‘to do your own thing’. It implies doing what you like to do and not what you are forced to do. It is really a matter of learning how to live, how to behave in various situations, to decide: “Do I really want to take over my father’s business or want to be a musician?” If you really want to be a musician, then be one.
A. Find words / phrases in the text which mean the same as the following. 1. modern (paragraph 1):
2. can be seen, noticed by (paragraph 3): 3. signs (paragraph 3): 4. main (paragraph 4):
B. Mark the best choice.
1. Line 14, ‘if refers to . a) a stressor b) any demand c) the agent that produces stress d) the state you are in
2. Line 24, ‘One’ refers to . a) a way b) stress c) someone d) blood pressure
C. Mark the statements as True (T) or False (F).
1. There was as much stress in the past as there is today.
2. A person can suffer from stress even when he is unconscious.
3. All symptoms of stress disappear as soon as the stressor agent disappears.
4. The causes of stress have never changed throughout history.
1. Why are emotional stressors the most frequent causes of stress in man?
2. What does the author mean by ‘doing your own thing’ in the fifth paragraph?