Listening Topic: Health – Radio program on stress
A. Listen to the program. Then answer the questions below. What new information did you learn from the program?
1 What are some common causes of stress in people’s daily lives?
2 How does stress aﬀect people physically?
3 How does stress impact people’s emotions?
4 What are some things people can do to reduce stress?
B. Read the sentences and fill in all the information that you can. Then listen to the program again, and complete your responses.
1 Confronting a situation, instead of running away or avoiding it, is an example of the _________________ response.
2 In stressful situations, the hormones _________________ and _________________ are released, which _________________ the blood pressure.
3 Nearly _________________ percent of illness is stress-related.
4 Employers should try to reduce stress in the workplace because _________________.
5 Some physical effects of stress include _________________.
6 One thing we can do to reduce stress is _________________.
Answers may vary slightly.
1 Arguments, excessive physical or emotional demands, misunderstandings, changes, or anything that upsets our balance
2 It can lead to illnesses like stomachaches and depression.
3 It can make them nervous and irritable.
4 Rest and exercise.
Answers may var slightly.
2 Cortisone / adrenaline / raise
3 70% to 90%
4 Stress can cause employees to make dangerous mistakes at work.
5 Headaches, stomachaches, and depression
6 Get regular rest and relaxation.
A = Host
A: Today’s topic for Health Watch is stress – a common concern of young and old for good reason. First, we’ll hear a definition and some examples. Then we’ll talk about the impact of stress and what can be done to alleviate or prevent stress.
Webster’s Dictionary defines stress as “a physical, chemical or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension and may be a factor in disease causation.”
Stressors, or causes of stress include arguments, excessive physical or emotional demands, misunderstandings, changes, or anything which upsets homeostasis or our balance.
Everyone has probably had the experience of feeling like everything is going along just fine, and then something happens to completely change all that. Responses to the situation may include wanting to run away and put some distance between the situation and one’s self or the opposite response of wanting to face the situation, work hard and put things back as they were. These two opposite responses are what scientists call the “fight or flight stress response.” Either we want to take flight – run away – or we want to stay and fight.
But can stress be good? Well, sometimes, yes. Stress in moderation is normal and not always negative. Some people believe they are more productive and effective when they operate under stress or close to a deadline. In stressful situations, the body releases the stress hormones cortisone and adrenaline which raise the blood pressure. If we fight or take on a defensive action the stress hormones are used up and the effects of stressed are reduced. If, however, we do not face the situation-if we flee instead-the hormones and chemicals that are not released stay in the blood. This then leads to symptoms like tenseness, anxiety, and high blood pressure.
In excess, stress can have very negative effects on our physical and mental health, our work and our relationships. Getting only a few hours sleep for several days in a row can lower the body’s defenses and make us irritable or nervous. Excessive stress can impair our judgment and cause us to make mistakes in our work, possibly jeopardizing lives. Family, friends and co-workers may put up with the whirlwind lifestyle of someone who is constantly under stress but at some point the relationship may suffer, deteriorate and even break up.
Aside from the ruinous impact on one’s disposition, work and relationships, understanding stress is also important because it can exhaust the immune system resulting in illness. According to recent research, 70% to 90% of illness is stress-related.
For example, an argument with a family member, good friend or colleague can result in bad feelings and may even increase to the point of causing physical illness such as a headache, stomachache or depression. Constant stress, which has become more common in the workplace, can lead to chronic health problems. It’s obvious that this affects workers, but employers feel the impact too in lower productivity and, as a result, in economic terms as well. The percentage of health care expenses for workers with high stress levels is reported to be almost 50% greater than for other workers.
So, what can we do to reduce stress? One of the first things to do is to observe and note personal stressors. Are there simple changes you can make that might result in avoiding these stressors? For example, if getting stuck in traffic every morning means starting the day fuming, try to leave earlier to avoid the rush hour. Second, help the body and mind by providing regular rest and relaxation. Classes in yoga, including conscious breathing techniques and mediation, can provide respite in the day or week-a kind of safe haven from stress. Other activities recommended for release of tension include, getting exercise, having a massage and, believe it or not, getting a pet!
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