While US citizens are earning and spending more, the resultant bills, requirements for heavy work, and poor life habits have resulted in an increase in stressful elements. While stress used to be a problem with adults of working age, it now affects all ages and all demographies. Not only is it harmful to the individual, it is also harmful to society: those who are in stress can engage in "maladaptive behaviors," which include criminal acts, such as violence against others, road rage and violence against property (Friedman). Stress can also be caused by lifestyle decisions: smoking, taking drugs (particularly stimulants like methamphetamines and cocaine), and overwork.
Many of the powerful elicitors of emotion in contemporary society-personal affronts, traffic congestion, pressing deadlines, public speaking engagements, unreasonable bosses, perceived injustices-do not require or even allow behavioral fight or flight (Friedman)1
The consequences of stress on one's body are complex. Much has been learned in recent years about the relationship between stress and circulatory disease. Recent clinical evidence has found a link between stress and inflammation, which in turn causes vessel injury, high blood pressure and obesity (Yudkin). Although general rates of heart disease are declining, rates of obesity are climbing at double-digit rates; it is estimated that of all Americans, or 66 million, are clinically obese (NIH). This increase in obesity could predict that current generations of Americans with obesity at an early age could suffer from later problems with stress-related circulatory illness.
While the link between stress and obesity has not been conclusively proven, there is an increasing body of evidence linking obesity and stress (Keaney). It is not yet clear whether obesity causes stress, or stress causes obesity. The fact that they are linked means that a reduction in one element may cause a reduction in the other.
This research proposal cannot cover the complete findings of the research paper, but it suggests that stress is a major problem in today's society, and that stress can cause additional health problems which plague our society.
What are the ways that society can deal with stress This author argues that, while there are many pharmaceutical-driven methods to deal with stress, the "natural" techniques bring better results. There is a lot of money to be made in selling anti-stress-related drugs: beta-blockers to reduce high blood pressure, calmative, anti-depressant and other medications to reduce stress, and even drugs to insure that stressed-out patients can sleep at night. People engage in self-medication as well, including things like drinking alcohol to excess to "unwind" from a stressful day. These pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical "artificial" treatments all suffer from a specific problem: they are unable to get at the underlying problems which created the stress in the first place.
The upcoming paper will discuss several of the more natural elements, which are mentioned here. These include exercise, which is proven to reduce heart rate, release endorphins (which elevate mood and reduce stress), and improve overall cardiovascular health, including high blood pressure. Exercise also reduces the propensity for obesity, which itself can cause stress-related illness and