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Psychological Influences on Wellness Essay

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Updated: Jun 11th, 2020

Existing stressors in the case study

There are a number of psychological perspectives that impact of the general welfare of individuals, as well as their ability to recover from an illness. They are often connected to the normal elements that characterize human lifestyle, such as family, work, and health care (Cooper, 2008). In the case of Nancy, there are a number of agents that are causing her a lot of stress. The first category of stressors is family related. As a single parent, women such as Nancy often find it difficult playing the role of both a mother and a father, especially with a teenage child. In addition, Nancy’s daughter is rarely home due to work and school related commitments.

This makes it hard for Nancy being present in her daughter’s life as she is supposed to. Another family related stressor is Nancy’s mother who is sick, too demanding and unappreciative of her daughter’s efforts. This is very stressing, especially due to the fact that Nancy has other responsibilities to handle on top of limited financial resources. Supporting someone who is ignorant and insensitive to other people’s feelings can be a huge source of stress within families (Cooper, 2008).

The second category of stressors is health related. Nancy has a smoking problem. Smoking has a lot of impact on someone’s health, as well as risking the welfare of those around them (Thompson, 2010). This can be a major stressor, especially for a woman with a college-age daughter because she feels the pressure of being a role model. The condition of her mother is also a source of stress. The third category of stressors is related to Nancy’s occupation. Some of the stressors at her place of work include duties outside her job description, work overload, and the health condition of her clients. Working with mentally ill children can be very overwhelming to anyone, thus acting as a source of stress (Cooper, 2008).

Measuring stress

There are various methods applied in measuring stress. Some of the commonly used ones are scanning the tension of body muscles, checking the pulse rate, measuring the rate of breathing, as well as checking the hand temperature and the rate of sweating (Cohen & Gordon, 2009). Research has established that there are a number of psychological, biological, and social resources that can be used to reduce stress. One of the most effective resources for stress reduction is support from friends and family. It can include encouragement, monetary aid, advice, and guidance among others (Cohen & Gordon, 2009). This kind of support makes one to feel loved, connected, highly regarded, and desirable. Stress can also be reduced by engaging in exercise and leisure activities.

This resource depends a lot on the biological composition of an individual’s nervous system, which controls the ability to relax. Psychologists also argue that optimistic thinking is a good resource for reducing stress (Cohen & Gordon, 2009). This kind of thinking involves seeing an opportunity in situations that other people would associate with negativity. This resource has been proven to provide the body with numerous health benefits. Exploiting the power of absurdity also helps to reduce stress. If someone fails to use positive stress coping mechanisms, the body often experiences a nervous breakdown that often leads to conditions such as depression and irritability (Cohen & Gordon, 2009).

Problems associated with the use of tobacco

According to health care experts, use of tobacco has a number of effects on the user with regard to their welfare. One of the major problems with tobacco use is addiction. Tobacco contains nicotine, which is classified among some of the highly addictive substances (Torburn, 2008). Because of its ability to stimulate the brain, most people that use tobacco tend to abnormally become tolerant to it. They often develop strong cravings that make them dependent on it. Another problem associated with tobacco use is vulnerable to a number of health risks (Torburn, 2008).

Research has established that people who use tobacco on a regular basis are at a higher risk of suffering from cancer, stroke, frequent colds, chronic bronchitis, and emphysema among others (Torburn, 2008). The most common one is cancer that can affect the lungs, esophagus, throat, and the mouth. Other notable problems associated with tobacco use include stained teeth, bad breath, lack of finances, premature face wrinkles, and inability to maintain healthy relationships (Torburn, 2008). It is also important to note that smoking around others is also problematic because it exposes people to secondary smoke that also contains harmful substances.

Research has established that stress can lead to a number of chronic illnesses if it is not managed effectively. Some of these illnesses that are associated with stress include depression, obesity, asthma, heart conditions, and diabetes among others (Owen, 2014). However, these illnesses are preventable by applying the right strategies to manage any kind of life stressors. Some of the most effective strategies for preventing these illnesses include engaging in regular physical exercise, adopting healthy eating habits, investing in strong and reliable relationships, as well as finding time to engage in leisure activities (Owen, 2014).

Physical exercise helps to relax the mind, as well as ensuring that the nervous system continues to function normally (Thompson, 2010). Health care experts also argue that good dietary choices help in managing stress and preventing the development of illnesses such as obesity and diabetes. Research has established that some people tend to eat a lot when stressed, thus have a higher risk of suffering from such conditions (Owen, 2014).

If someone suffers from a chronic illness, one of the best ways of accepting the illness and developing a healthier lifestyle is developing positive thinking with the help of friends and family (Davis, 2009). Social support is very important in such situations, thus the need to have the love and care of the family because they help someone in identifying the positive elements in such trying times (Owen, 2014). Psychologists argue that positive thinking helps one in maintaining a strong mentality that allows one to deal effectively with some of the toughest situations without suffering a nervous breakdown. They further insist on the importance of talking about the illness with close family and friends (Davis, 2009). Opening up about a chronic illness makes one to feel that they are not alone, as well as the feeling that someone understands and cares about their situation (Thompson, 2010).

In the case of Nancy, there are a few recommendations that I would make in order to help her make changes in her life. First, I would encourage her to involve her daughter and close friends in the treatment plan. The reason for this is that they will help her in understanding the importance of quitting the habit. In addition, they will offer the necessary moral support required in making certain changes in one’s life (Davis, 2009). Second, I would encourage her to identify her priorities in life at this time, and avoid using time that she should be spending with her family volunteering for her absentee colleagues. Although it is important to help, it is always better when it is done in limitation and for the right reasons (Davis, 2009). The reason as to why I would recommend Nancy to do this is the need for her to avoid hurting the people that mean the most in life.


Cohen, S., & Gordon, L.U. (2009). Measuring Stress: A Guide to Health and Social Scientists. New York: Oxford University Press.

Cooper, C. (2008). Causes, Coping, and Consequences of Stress at Work. New York: John Wiley & Sons.

Davis, M. (2009). The Relaxation & Stress Reduction Workbook. New York: Cengage Learning.

Owen, R. (2014). Living with the Enemy: Coping with the Stress of Chronic Illnesses Using CBT, Mindfulness and Acceptance. New York: Routledge.

Thompson, C.R. (2010). Prevention Practice: A Physical Therapist’s Guide to Health, Fitness, and Wellness. New York: SLACK Incorporated.

Torburn, L. (2008). Stop the Stress Habit: Change Your Perceptions and Improve Your Health. California: iUniverse.

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