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21世纪大学英语读写教程第三册 Unit10


  Unit 10

  Text A

  Pre-reading Activities

  1. Before you listen to the passage, quickly note down your responses to the questions below. Don't think too much before you respond — your first ideas are the best ones.

  A) On a scale of one to ten, where ten is the most nervous you've ever felt in your life, how nervous do you feel right now?

  B) On a scale of one to ten, where ten is the most exhausted you've ever felt in your life, how tired do you feel right now?

  C) What are the three biggest problems that are worrying you today? Write down one-word "titles" for each of these three problems.

  Now listen to the passage, and go on to the next questions afterwards.

  2. After hearing the passage, do you feel more or less nervous than you did before? More or less tired? More or less worried about your problems?

  3. How do you usually behave when you're worried or nervous about something?

  Plain Talk About Handling Stress

  Louis E. Kopolow, M.D.

  You need stress in your life! Does that surprise you? Perhaps so, but it is quite true. Without stress, life would be dull and unexciting. Stress adds flavor, challenge, and opportunity to life. Too much stress, however, can seriously affect your physical and mental well-being. A major challenge in the stress-filled world of today is to learn how to cope with stress so that it doesn't become overwhelming.

  What kinds of things can cause too much stress in our lives? We often think of major crises such as natural disasters, war, and death as main sources of stress. These are, of course, stressful events. However, according to psychologist Wayne Weiten, on a day-to-day basis, it's the small things that cause stress: waiting in line, having car trouble, getting stuck in a traffic jam, having too many things to do in a limited time.

  Interestingly, stress is unique and personal to each of us. So personal, in fact, that what may be relaxing to one person may be stressful to another. For example, if you're an executive who likes to keep busy all the time, "taking it easy" at the beach on a beautiful day may feel extremely frustrating, non-productive, and upsetting. You may be emotionally distressed from "doing nothing".

  Hans Selye, M.D., a recognized expert in the field, has defined stress as a "non-specific response of the body to a demand." For the busy executive, the demand that causes stress might be to relax. For most of us, it's a demand to act that causes stress. If we feel overwhelmed by pressure to do too much, we may not be able to function at all. In this case, the stress that can be good for us becomes distress, or bad stress. When stress becomes prolonged or particularly frustrating, it can become harmful, causing physical illness.

  Reacting To Stress

  The body responds to stressful events by going through three stages: (1) alarm, (2) resistance and (3) exhaustion. Let's take the example of a typical commuter in rush-hour traffic. If a car suddenly pulls out in front of him, his initial alarm reaction may include fear of an accident, anger at the driver who committed the action, and general frustration. His body may respond in the alarm stage by releasing chemicals into the bloodstream which cause his face to flush, perspiration to form, his stomach to have a sinking feeling, and his arms and legs to tighten. The next stage is resistance, in which the body repairs damage caused by the stress. If the stress of driving continues with repeated close calls or traffic jams, however, his body doesn't have time to make repairs. He may become so conditioned to expect potential problems when he drives that he tightens up at the beginning of each commuting day. The third stage, exhaustion, occurs if the stress continues over a long period of time, and the body depletes its resources for fighting stress. The result may be illness: insomnia, headaches, backaches, ulcers, high blood pressure — even heart disease.

  While you can't live completely free of stress and distress, you can prevent some distress as well as minimize its impact. By recognizing the early signs of distress and then doing something about them, you can improve the quality of your life and perhaps even live longer.

  Helping Yourself

  When stress does occur, it's important to recognize and deal with it. Here are some suggestions for handling stress. As you begin to understand more about how stress affects you as an individual, you'll come up with your own ways to ease the tension.

  Try physical activity. When you're nervous, angry or upset, release the pressure through exercise or physical activity. Running, walking, playing tennis or working in your garden are just some of the activities you might try. Physical exercise will relieve the tension, relax you and turn the frowns into smiles. Remember, your body and your mind work together.

  Share your stress. It helps to talk to someone about your concerns and worries. Perhaps a friend, family member, teacher or counselor can help you see your problem in a different light. If you feel your problem is serious, you might seek professional help from a psychologist, psychiatrist, social worker or mental health counselor. Knowing when to ask for help may help you avoid more serious problems later.

  Know your limits. If a problem is beyond your control and can't be changed at the moment, don't fight the situation. Learn to accept what is — for now — until a time when you can change it.

  Take care of yourself. You're special. Get enough rest and eat well. If you're irritable and tense from lack of sleep or if you aren't eating correctly, you'll have less ability to deal with stressful situations. If stress repeatedly keeps you from sleeping, you should ask your doctor for help.

  Make time for fun. Schedule time for both work and recreation. Play can be just as important to your well-being as work; you need a break from your daily routine to just relax and have fun.

  Be a participant. One way to keep from getting bored, sad, and lonely is to go somewhere where things are happening. Sitting alone can make you feel frustrated. Instead of feeling sorry for yourself, get involved and become a participant. Offer your services in volunteer organizations. Help yourself by helping other people. Get involved in the world and the people around you, and you'll find they'll be attracted to you. You'll be on your way to making new friends and enjoying new activities.

  Check off your tasks. Trying to take care of everything at once can seem overwhelming, and, as a result, you may not accomplish anything. Instead, make a list of what tasks you have to do, then do one at a time, check them off as they're completed. Give priority to the most important ones and do those first.

  Must you always be right? Do other people upset you — particularly when they don't do things your way? Try cooperation instead of confrontation; it's better than fighting and always being "right." A little give and take on both sides will reduce the strain and make you both feel more comfortable.

  It's OK to cry. A good cry can be a healthy way to bring relief to your anxiety, and it might even prevent a headache or other physical consequences. Take some deep breaths; they also release tension.

  Create a quiet scene. You can't always run away, but you can "dream the impossible dream." A quiet country scene painted mentally (or on canvas!) can let you escape from a stressful situation. Change the scene by reading a good book or playing beautiful music to create a sense of peace.

  Avoid self-medication. Although you can use prescription or over-the-counter medications to relieve stress temporarily, they don't eliminate the conditions that caused the stress in the first place. Medications, in fact, may be habit-forming and can also reduce your efficiency, thus creating more stress than they take away. They should be taken only on the advice of your doctor.

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