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Stress Impact on Self-Esteam and Personal Growth Essay

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Updated: Jan 1st, 2021

The causes of stress in Jennifer’s life and its possible effect on her health number of factors can be regarded as causing stress in Jennifer’s life. For example, there is fear, many threats, and a number of uncertain circumstances in her life, which may lead to stress. In addition, at her work place, Jennifer is facing a number of challenges, such as her pressing job demands, lack of support from co-workers, and the overall control that she must exert on her job.

All this may easily bring stress to Jennifer’s life. Of particular interest in Jennifer’s case is cognitive dissonance. This form of stress arises when there is a difference between what one believes in and the outcomes of his or her actions (Baltes et al., 2008).

The numerous headaches and backaches experienced by Jennifer can be attributed to the stressful moments she is experiencing. As studies indicate, stress leads to fatigue, aches, pains, and other emotional disorders such as depression. Furthermore, Jennifer’s indigestion can be attributed to stress. Studies have shown that stress affects the gastrointestinal tract in many ways, thereby causing stomach ulcers, colitis, abdominal cramps, and at times irritable bowel syndrome, which are attributable to indigestion (Boud et al., 2005).

The effect of the stressors on Jennifer’s self-concept and self-esteem

Self-concept is defined as the way in which an individual thinks about oneself (Baltes et al., 2008, p. 65). This trait is known to develop or it is learned during the childhood and adolescence stages of human lifespan development. Therefore, no individual is born with a self-concept. Moreover, studies indicate that some emotional changes associated with stress can change the way people look at themselves (Baltes et al., 2008, p. 65).

In Jennifer’s case, the emotional and physical stressors have changed the way in which she physically and emotionally cares about herself. Consequently, her sense of self-concept has not fully developed to the extent that it can surpass different relationships and situations.

On the other hand, self-esteem is defined as the act of an individual believing in oneself (Baltes et al., 2008, p. 66). Certain events happening in Jennifer’s life are identified as being stressful. These stressful moments can affect an individual’s life in many ways. Such people focus their efforts on dealing with the stressor rather than caring for oneself and one’s general image in the face of these external factors. Stress as a physical or mental strain that is unique to each individual, leads to a variety of problems such as role overload, which is the case with Jennifer. In Jennifer’s case, the stressors have brought about a set of conflicting roles, which are exerting competing demands on her.

Adjustment and Personal Growth in Jennifer’s Case

Adjustment is defined as the state of having personal competence, self-fulfillment, and being psychologically mature (Baltes et al., 2008, p. 70). In Jennifer’s case, adjustment as an issue of personality growth is one-sided in that she strives to attain certain behavioral characteristics that confer with the society’s norms and fails to involve her ideas of self-concept in the process of personality adjustment.

Research studies have shown that human behavior reflects what an individual does and not exactly what one is in terms of personality (Boud et al., 2005). Therefore, defining an individual as being well-adjusted by just considering his/her behavior is misleading.

The idea of adjustment in Jennifer’s case might be exploited for personal growth if only it can consider the fact that human beings have a unique sense of personality and that each individual has his/her personal features and needs regarding the issue of personality adjustment. In line with these considerations, the idea of adjustment can be incorporated into personal growth by allowing the individual to consider his/her self-concept, which should guide the process of personality development. In this case, the ultimate goal of adjustment does not entail conformity to prescribed goals, but it rather entails an individual’s struggle towards personal adequacy (Boud et al., 2005).

Defensive Coping Mechanisms for Stress

Coping mechanisms are defined as useful skills that enable an individual to lessen stress. These are divided into two categories, which include the consciously and unconsciously-used coping mechanisms. Defensive coping mechanisms are referred to as unconsciously-used skills (Boud et al., 2005). In Jennifer’s case, the defensive coping methods employed in stress management include denial, altruism, compensation, dissociation, idealization, and substitution. These methods have both negative and positive impacts on an individual.

More so, there are a number of strategies, which can help Jennifer in coping with her distress. These are divided into two broad categories, which include action-based coping and emotion-based coping. The coping mechanism with action entails self-control techniques, planning, and positive confrontations. Alternatively, in this mechanism, one may counter stress through restraint and suppression of every opposing action and role (Boud et al., 2005).

These methods are appropriate for stress management because they encourage dealing with the root cause of the stress rather than the stress itself. Besides, the emotion-oriented coping mechanisms include discussing one’s problems with a friend or a close relation, sleeping, wishful thinking, relaxation, and distraction. Despite that, these strategies do not address the root cause or the stress; they do help in calming a distressed individual and give room for the implementation of the action-oriented methods.

The Humanistic Theory of Personality

This theory incorporates Carl Rogers’ person-centered theory and Abraham Maslow’s holistic theory. Unlike the traditional theories of personality that emphasize the psychodynamic approach to personality, the humanistic theory explores personality from an individual’s viewpoint (Baltes et al., 2008, p. 85). According to this theory, an individual can be regarded as both an organism and a self. The organism represents the central point of all experiences obtained by an individual. These experiences are bound to change from time to time. Out of these experiences, the self portion of an individual emerges. This occurs along an individual’s lifespan development process, and it serves to define an ideal self from the society’s and personal view-point.

It is worth noting that each individual has a unique sense of what an ideal self means. It is such uniqueness that guides someone’s struggle towards personal adequacy and self-actualization. However, this process depends heavily on the type of relationship existing between a person, as a single entity, and the society at large. At this point, it is upon the person involved to realize what best defines his/her personality and work towards actualizing it rather than letting others or situations wear him down with their demands.

Jennifer’s Stage of Development

Jennifer is in her middle adulthood stage. According to Erikson’s stages of lifespan development, this stage is also regarded as the stage of ego development, and it is characterized by generativity vs. absorption or stagnation (Baltes et al., 2008, p. 87). The most basic strengths of this stage are production and care. Therefore, work is very important to an individual at this stage. This is because an individual has to be productive and committed to fulfilling personal and familial needs and expectations. In Jennifer’s case, she is at the stage whereby she wants to be in charge of her life and family. At this stage, generativity entails being able to contribute to society’s welfare, and an individual’s greatest fear involves someone failing to be productive and active in the family and community at large.

There is a midlife crisis involved at this stage, particularly involving the new meanings and purposes that an individual assumes. The greatest challenge involved in this case is that an individual needs to successfully move from the present stage to subsequent stages in life. Failure to successfully develop leads to self-absorption and stagnation. This is the case with Jennifer since she is unable to forego some of her responsibilities and roles in order to move on.

The relationship factors or considerations influencing Jennifer’s Problems

The major relationships in which Jennifer exists presently are those involving environments within the family, community, and the workplace. These relationships present a wide range of challenges and new tasks for Jennifer, considering that she fears failing her family members, co-workers, and the community members at large. At the family stage, Jennifer is under pressure to responsibly assume her motherly responsibilities in terms of giving birth to children and raising them. Besides, her husband’s parents are pushing her hard concerning the issue of pregnancy. On the other hand, Jennifer is expected to take care of her father’s healthcare needs besides the fact that the old man no longer wishes to be transferred to a nursing home. All these challenges are heavily weighing down on Jennifer.

Furthermore, at her workplace, Jennifer feels highly responsible for all the tasks assigned to her, regardless of the fact that she may not attend to some of them. The mere fear of failing to achieve her personal and situational goals and objectives drives her insane. Thus, Jennifer’s numerous problems are attributable to the above-named challenges.

Reference List

Baltes, P. B., Reese, H. & Lipsett, L. (2008) ‘Lifespan developmental psychology,’ Annual Review of Psychology. Vol. 31. No.1: 65 – 110. U.S.A: Annual reviews.

Boud, D., Keogh, R. & Walker, D. (eds.) (2005) Reflection. Turning experience into learning, London: Kogan Page.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "Stress Impact on Self-Esteam and Personal Growth." January 1, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/stress-impact-on-self-esteam-and-personal-growth/.


IvyPanda. (2021) 'Stress Impact on Self-Esteam and Personal Growth'. 1 January.

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