By Tayo Korede
We live in a very busy world, characterized by incessant problems and activities which place a great demand on our time and energy. The demand and desire for perfectionalism in career, the pressure of measuring up in a competitive world and being the best at home could constitute an appreciable force, which if not properly managed could lead to stress. Stress is a resisting force set up in a body as a result of an externally applied force. It is the “wear and tear” our bodies experience as we adjust to our continually changing environment. Stress is also a state or physical or psychological stimulus that can produce mental tension or psychological reactions that may lead to illness. In medical parlance “stress” is defined as a perturbation of the body’s homeostasis. Our goal is not to eliminate stress but to learn how to manage it and how to use it to help us.
At one point or the other, everybody suffers from stress. We experience stress as we adjust our lives, as we tend to adapt to different circumstances, stress will help or hinder us depending on how we react to it. It is important that you recognize that you are responsible for your own stress levels. They are often a product of how you think and your perception to changes around you. The thinking pattern of a person helps him accept or avoid a stress situation. If one shows disposition towards anxiety, worry, restlessness, anger, and tension as stress responses, it can lead him to chronic emotional turbulence.
Stress has physical and emotional effects on us and can create positive and negative feelings. Extreme stress conditions, psychologists say, are detrimental to human health but moderate doses are necessary in our lives. As a positive influence, stress can compel us to action, and adds anticipation and excitement to life. There are innumerable instances of athletes rising to the challenge of stress and achieving the unachievable, scientists stressing themselves out over a point to bring into light the most unthinkable secrets of the phenomenal world, or a composer, producing the most lilting of tunes. Psychologists support the opinion that some stress situation can actually boost our inner potential and can creatively help us. However, too much stress impairs performance and has negative effect has on the body. It sends negative signals of ineffectiveness to the brain, and makes one lose control mentally and emotionally. Since it is not possible to live without any stress, building a solid stress absorber within our bodies’ mechanisms to accommodate stress and discharge it when necessary is a sign of maturity.
Causes of Stress
Ten prominent factors responsible for stress are:
1. physical and mental health problems
2. pressure at workplaces
3. meeting deadlines
4. excessive traffic or long queues
5. death of loved ones
7. conflicts or argument with spouse or in-laws
8. relationship demands
9. failure at work
Symptoms of Stress
These are signs and indications that reveal the stress level of an individual. They can be psychological, physical, emotional or mental, depending on the cause.
Physical symptoms: the following physical problems may result from or be exacerbated by stress.
1. sleep disturbance
2. back, shoulder or neck pain
3. constipation and diarrhea
5. high blood pressure
6. tension or migraine headache
7. eating disorder, resulting in weight loss or gain
8. asthma or shortness of breadth
9. irregular heartbeats and palpitations
10. skin problems e.g. hives, eczema, tics, psoriasis, and itching
Emotional symptoms; emotional stress include:
1. lack of concentration
2. memory problems
4. inability to think clearly
6. depression and moodiness
7. nervousness and anxiety
8. irritability and frustration
9. feeling out of control
10. inferiority complex
Relational Symptoms: the antisocial bahaviour displayed in stressful situations can cause the rapid deterioration of relationships. They include:
1. increase arguments
2. isolation from social activities
3. frequent job changes
4. domestic or workplaces violence
5. conflict with co-workers
6. road rage
Seven Successful Stress Management Techniques
1. Meditation: meditation helps the mind to concentrate. Empty your mind of all thoughts. Let your mind be at peace, then you can deal with whatever life brings you.
2. Exercise: exercise helps in keeping the mind in a tension free state and wards off depression
3. Massage: massaging offers deep relaxation and soothes the body, improving the physiological processes such as circulation, especially when done by your spouse or someone you love. By tensing and relaxing the entire muscle group in your body, you can relieve tension and feel much more relaxed.
4. Music and Relaxation: take a vacation to the beach, garden, waterfall or where you can observe nature in a cool and serene atmosphere and listen to soft and solemn music under a relaxed mood and see stress diffusing out of your body.
5. Planning: prior and adequate planning of our day to day activities and our lives in general can ease our lives of confusion and enhance optimum performance in dealing with stress.
6. Enough Sleep: be as consistent with your sleep schedule as possible
7. Positive Thinking: conquer negative thoughts by thinking positively. Enrich your mind with the words of God; casting all your cares upon Him for He careth for you
Tayo Korede is the president of Gifted Hands Foundation, an organisation that reaches out to a world of young poeple, setting tham on the path of destiny and re-inventing a formidable generation for future challenges. He is a respected author and culumnist in several magazines like Light house and Living water. He is also foremost speaker in schools, churches and other youth gatherings, where he impacts lives with uncommon leadership style. Contact me through my email @: firstname.lastname@example.org. Come and let's succeed together.