We all have felt like we are under situations where our to-do lists seem endless; our days and nights become one but the overwhelming task just doesn't end. Situations when deadlines are fast approaching and you catch yourself saying 'My goodness, I am under so much stress'. That is a good understanding of stress.
But what is stress?
It is a condition under which the body feels like it is under attack and it switches to a 'fight or flight' mode. There are a lot of chemicals released in your body like cortisol, epinephrine and norepinephrine that change the functions of your body. All the unnecessary bodily functions shut down to help you escape this attack.
Let's use an example to better understand the fight or flight response of the body. Imagine you are walking down a lonely street and you are carrying enough money to enjoy a dinner with your friends at a five-star restaurant. Suddenly, a man jumps at you from behind a tree and points a knife at you. You could do one of the two things-
Fight: you will make an attack strategy to knock down the thief and your body will prepare you for it.
Flight: you will look for the easiest escape route and run for your life, maybe even screaming for help on your way.
Let's list some causes that could give you stress in your life.
• Fast approaching deadlines at work or studying in a crunch time during exams.
• Facing financial difficulties or road blocks in relationships.
• Thinking you are not good enough for any task and feeling guilty for being a burden on everyone.
• Not being flexible enough therefore having difficulty in adjusting to new situations.
• Not being able to adjust or compromise easily.
• Getting easily affected by anything pessimistic that others say.
Now we should look at the symptoms of stress; the ways in which we can recognize ourselves under stress.
• Difficulty in concentrating on the task at hand.
• Not being able to remember small things you wouldn't forget otherwise.
• Seeing negativity in everything. It becomes very difficult to see the glass half full.
• Constantly worrying or being anxious.
• Isolating yourself from everyone.
• Feeling irritable or moody.
Stress is manageable. Before it gets out of hand we must learn to control it. Here are ways to keep stress from getting out of hand.
Adopt efficiency- when you have too many things to finish, make a time table and follow
it closely. That way you will get everything done little by little and it won't stress you out.
Meditate- when your body starts reacting under stress, meditating will help you stay calm and on top of things.
Learn to say no- when you already have too much work to finish and someone gives you more work, don't feel bad in saying no. It is important to not wear yourself out.
Eat right- when you are under stress you could either lose your appetite or it could become bigger than usual. But you must learn to eat the right kind of things and in an appropriate proportion.
Get enough sleep- but trying to finish all your work and skipping sleep, you won't be helping yourself. Your body will get tired faster and you will lose energy more quickly.
You may be thinking that stress is a bad thing to have and you will try to escape it all the time. But don't worry, stress is good. It is only when you're under stress that you can push yourself to do better and achieve the impossible. You only have to keep it under control.