Stress at Home

Undoubtedly, a person’s total health and wellbeing is very important in the quality of life he lives. Too much stress is sabotage to a person’s overall health and happiness. Prolonged stress can alter our body’s immune system and our hormones. One becomes more vulnerable in contracting various diseases. As stress builds up in our system, it starts to affect the people close to us. When one is under stress, everything seems to be so hard to manage. Simple tasks appear to be complicated and things slowly becomes out of control. Stress is very powerful that it does not only affect the person suffering from it.

The negativity it brings can also be felt by the entire household. However, there has been no cure for stress as of the moment. Stress is indeed a part of our self – being. It forms the foundation of our growth. Stress therefore is inevitable as it is a natural part of a person’s health since the moment he was conceived (Grossman, 2008). Realizing that we have to live with it, stress relief should then be a routine. It is advisable to schedule periodic “time – outs” in our day to day activities. Five to ten minutes of a fun and relaxing activity can do the trick.

It also helps to spend longer quality time and engage in sports activities to combat the daily grind. The possibilities are endless and the benefits it can do to our health are truly remarkable. A healthy body and a spirited mind are the secret ingredients to a happy family life (Grossman, 2008). The development of symptoms on those who suffered traumatic stresses directly has been the subject of studies conducted in the past. These researchers however overlooked the impact of such stress to the victim’s family. Researchers and clinicians of today chose to break away from this tradition.

They are now concerned with the examination of the affects of traumatic stress to a survivor, to his immediate family as well as to the professional helpers attending to his needs (Goff & Smith, 2005, p. 1). Humans have survived traumatic events over the past centuries. For the last 25 years, traumatic events have been the focus of empirical and clinical studies (Goff & Smith, 2005, p. 1). Nevertheless, “scientific knowledge of trauma and post – traumatic stress focuses on the individual effects of trauma on the primary victim – the person who directly experienced the traumatic event” (cited in Goff & Smith, 2005, p. 1).

A groundbreaking study led by senior investigator Dr. Mary Caserta, linking stress to biological indicators of immune functions and health was published in the Archive of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine. Dr. Caserta is an associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Rochester Medical Center, New York. According to the study, stress rises up activity by natural killer cells in children. Furthermore, it shows children whose parents are undergoing stress registers to have more fevers with sickness compared to other kids.

Unlike in the case of adults, the function of the children’s natural killer cells shoots up under chronic stress. In adults, however, stress makes their natural killer cells decrease. The cells form part of the human body’s immune system. They form the first line of defense before the body’s immune system can adapt to set up a definite assault against a bacteria or virus. It primary function is to combat novel infections. Moreover, the study aims to be able to soon identify the specific types of stress that contributes the most to increased cases of illness among children.

They will continue their study to find out what biological processes are responsible for the control of susceptibility to infections found in children. Furthermore, Dr. Caserta point out that, “once we understand these connections, we can design interventions that lower family stress, or help families to better manage stress in their interactions, and lead to healthier kids” (Scripps, 2007, p. 1). The uncertainty brought about by a family buying and selling their property proves to be another cause of stress.

We all have undergone this process at one time or the other. Truth be told, stress gets the better of us just when we are in the thick of things. As a result, it just adds to our worries and things gets much harder to handle. In the whole process of moving in and out, the children are the ones who are very much affected. The children are left with no choice but to live with the uncertainty of the situation as their parents seems to be so preoccupied that they appear to lose control over the other things besides the situation at hand (Jackson, 2003, p. 1).

The BUPA professor of health and organizational psychology at the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology, Cary Cooper, said that the stresses being brought about by the process of moving in is played out in the presence of the children. Couples get caught in a fight in front of them while exchanging heated words. In most cases, couples are both employed. Fitting in the scheduled moving in could create major changes to their planned activities that could eventually result to stress. If the ones who are supposed to be in – charge can not seem to work things out, who’s left to do the job?

Just when the kids are in dire need of order as they search for stability in their new found environment, they are left to pick up the pieces and start all over again, all on their own (Jackson, 2003, p. 1). Psychologists have identified the top ten leading causes of stress. Generally, it is the death of a spouse which tops the list. It is then followed by divorce, separation, jail sentence, death of an immediate family member, injury or sickness, marriage life, termination of employment, reconciliation with a spouse and finally, retirement.

These are the times when we encounter life’s most stressful events (Frith, 2003, p. 1). Studies show that the most common cause given for an employee’s absence is taking time off their busy works for stress – related sicknesses. There had been 270,000 recorded cases of this incident. Stress has been linked to cases of heart attacks and strokes and even acne and eczema problems as well as weakened immune systems. Nevertheless, the affects and measure of stress on human beings still have not reached full comprehension. Stress is a manifestation of man’s primordial “fight or flight” response to potential danger.

The hormones called “cortisol” are pumped out by the adrenal glands to help the human body cope with the situation. On one hand, stress which occurs over short periods of time can still be considered healthy. Stress of this kind enables people to combat the problems that come his way everyday. Then again, prolonged stress on the other hand could post serious health problems (Firth, 2003, p. 1). Most of us tend to believe the myth that family life is spared from the adverse effects of stress. Our homes must be a place solely for the feeling of peace and tranquility.

This is a belief most families are brought into thinking. Society dictates that while work – related stress is a problem we have to get used to, family – related stress must never be part of the package. We would like to think that this should always be the case. We tend to get carried away by these very unrealistic expectations at home that we become so frustrated when things turn out of control. We have to remember that what is ideal does not always exist in reality. Stress is part and parcel of the lives we live. It is something we have to live with.

We can not run away from it nor deny its presence. The best we could do is to be prepared when it comes and combat it in the most effective way. We could just take comfort in the fact that we are not alone in our struggles, for our family will surely pick up where we left off (University of Illinois, 1991). Family stress goes hand in hand with the family life. What matters most is our attitude towards it. How we handle stress and the way we cope are what makes the difference. We can always device ways on handling stress within the family.

Spending quality time with each other, giving and receiving much needed support, flexibility, reasonable expectations among members, open communication and well laid out priorities for the family are some of the things that can help alleviate stress at home. The families who practice these things at home appear to experience less stress than those who do not. Moreover, these people are optimistic about the concept of stress. They like to believe that stress is but temporary and can be kept to a minimum if left under control (University of Illinois, 1991). Change is constant, or so they say.

Sometimes, it brings benefits and sometimes it stresses us out. It is important to note that change is not solely to blame. Our reaction towards it says a lot about how well or worst the situation is going to come out, though. Certainly, our actions are what really matters. Different people get stressed out in different ways. Retirement from work may cause stress to one person while adjusting to new environment may not seem to bother him at all. In this light, it is advised to look for signs within your family as they might get caught up with stresses earlier than you do.

Moreover, things may appear normal to you but another family member might already be hitting a high note on a certain issue. We know for sure that there are a lot of factors that contribute to family stress. These includes losing a job, leaving home, job promotion, money matters and having a baby, to name a few. Family stresses are very relative but what remains as everyone’s common ground should be the attempt to make things better for the benefit of all concerned (American Academy of Family Physicians, 2000). Life at the turn of the 21st century was truly a stressful one.

Who has never seen a couple fighting while their children engage in a trouble of their own? The scene where couples nag each other over money matters or parenting issues are all too familiar. Family stress can transcend to the workplace. Work – related stress in return escalate to the home. Has it ever crossed your mind why this period has been so stressful? Employers in search for sweetening the bottom life require their employees to do more tasks than the usual and therefore devote more time at work. Peer pressure the children encounter at school, can also be the culprit.

Our stress can get its root in the guilt we feel for not having enough time to devote to our children growing up. The times lost for family bonding certainly disappoint even the hardest of all hearts. Most probably, the stresses we combat are but a combination of the aforementioned and so much more (Our Family Place, 2008). As stress is not unfamiliar to you neither to me, let us not spend much time thinking the world has been so cruel towards us. Instead let us exert our best efforts in handling it when it comes and not allow it to make us feel miserable ever again.

Problems will come and go as they always will. What we can do to address these obstacles is to discuss it with the people we care about for they may know better than we do. Make everyone involved. Make them feel that their opinions are regarded and valued. Running away from life’s challenges can only strengthen the worst in every situation we may find ourselves in. After surviving a crisis, there is not point in remaining stagnant, it is best to move on (Our Family Place, 2008). Work must not consume most of our time.

Our family deserves and requires our full time attention too. While we juggle work and family, let us define our limitations and respect each other. When we identify our restrictions, we can avoid finding ourselves trapped in doing things beyond our capabilities. We can only give as much so let us not expect too much from others either. It helps to keep things at the right perspective. Focus on things that can do your family good and do your best to avoid the ones which can leave them impaired (Our Family Place, 2008).


American Academy of Family Physicians. (2000). Stress: Helping Your Family Cope with Life’s Challenges: American Academy of Physician, Volume 62, 1. Frith, M. (2003). Do you need the stressometer? : The Independent on Sunday, 1. Goff, B. S. & Smith, D. B. (2005). Systemic Traumatic Stress: The couple adaptation to traumatic stress model: Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 1 – 12. Grossman, M. (2008). Stress Affects Your Overall Health and Potentially Your Family Life. EzineArticles. Retrieved February 2, 2008, from

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