Thesis statement for "Stress Effects on Health and Behavior" and what are three major points?

Expert Answers
droxonian eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The previous answer gives a great starting point for how to write any essay of this kind. It is always better to do your research first, and then come up with your thesis statement from what you have found. Trying to summon a thesis statement before you have found your three major points is very difficult and means you risk trying to make the evidence fit the statement, rather than the other way around.

Let's consider some examples of topics you might cover:

The question asks about the effects of stress on your health and behavior, so a good starting point is to recognize that health and behavior are two separate things. We may even be able to break that down further: health could mean physical health and mental health. As such, our three topics might be . . .

1. The effects of stress on physical health

2. The effects of stress on mental health

3. The effects of stress on a person's behavior

So, effects on physical health might include headaches, difficulty sleeping, tiredness, and so on. Effects on mental health could include depression or anxiety, difficulty focusing, and lack of motivation. However, remember that everyone is different—for some people, stress can lead to increased drive. You should always consider alternative viewpoints in any essay. This element could fall under the effects of stress on a person's behavior. Negative behavioral effects might include substance abuse or irritable behavior.

Your thesis, then, should be drawn from what you have written under your three headings. Based on what I have brainstormed above, my thesis might be: "Stress has generally negative effects upon the physical and mental health of most people, resulting in negative behavioral changes." However, your own thesis might be different, depending upon the conclusions you draw and evidence you find.

clairewait eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Someone could certainly give you a thesis statement and 3 topics for this paper - but then the paper wouldn't really be YOURS.  You need to own it.  The best way to do this is to draw these things from what you already know.

An easy way to come up with a thesis statement (and material for an entire paper, really) is to follow these steps first:

  1. State the topic in the form of a question.  What are the effects of stress on health and behavior?
  2. Brainstorm a list of 15 - 20 answers for the topic question.  Be as general or specific here as possible - remember it is just brainstorming so no ideas should be ruled out.  Also, keep in mind both negative and positive effects of stress.
  3. Categorize answers into three logical groups.  Do not make two of your categories the "negative" effects and the "positive" effects.  Instead, focus on one or the other.  Otherwise your final paper risks a lack of cohesiveness.
  4. Write thesis statement by giving a general and complete sentence answer to the topic sentence.  While stress has both positive and negative effects on health and behavior, the negative tend to outweigh the positive.

Then, your next sentence is blends naturally into identifying your three categories (major points).  Hope this helps.