Stress is the "wear and tear" our bodies experience as we adjust to our continually changing environment. In other words, it refers to the effect on a person when he does not have adequate resources to meet the challenges of life. It is the way your mind and body responds to the various demands made by life. Different people can tolerate different levels of stress.
Is stress always bad?
- The stress you experience is not necessarily harmful.
- Mild forms of stress can act as a motivator and energizer.
- However, if your stress level is too high, problems can result.
These sources of stress are called stressors. Knowing what factors are most stressful to you and how you respond to this stress is very important, because awareness is 90% of the solution.
The symptoms of stress largely fall under 4 categories:
1. Feelings: Examples of the following are either feeling anxious, scared, irritable, or moody.
2. Thoughts: Examples of the same are experiencing low self-esteem, fear of failure, inability to concentrate, worrying about the future, preoccupation with thoughts/tasks or forgetfulness.
3. Behaviour: Examples of the following would be stuttering and other speech difficulties, crying for no apparent reason, acting impulsively, startling easily, grinding your teeth, increasing smoking / drugs / alcohol, losing your appetite or overeating.
4. Physiology/Body Reactions: Examples would be having butterflies in stomach, headaches, pain in the neck and or lower back, susceptibility to illness and so forth.
Stress and Personality:
While stressors are present in everyone's life, not all of us get stressed by them, or to the same extent. Some of us possess certain personality traits that can predispose us toward stress:
- Guilt Proneness
Individuals who possess these or a combination of these traits are more likely to experience stress.
How can stress be combated?
Many stresses can be changed, eliminated, or minimized. The right coping methods can help you. Stress Management is the ability to maintain control when situations, people, and events make excessive demands.
1. Focus on task-oriented methods: Task oriented responses would include:
- Behaviour directed primarily at dealing with the stressor.
- Appraise situation objectively, work out alternative solutions, decide on strategy, take action and evaluate feedback.
- Involves making changes in oneself, one's surroundings or both.
2. Confront the problem rather than brood about it!
3. Seek support: from family, friends, and other important people in your life.
4. Become aware of your own reactions to stress.
5. Reinforce positive self-statements.
6. Focus on your good qualities and accomplishments.
7. Avoid unnecessary competition.
8. Develop assertive behaviours.
9. Recognize and accept your limits. Remember that everyone is unique and different.
10 Get a hobby or two. Relax and have fun.
Benefits of managing stress effectively:
1. Critical Life Skill: Good stress management will impact every sphere of your life:
- Personal Relationships
- Life Satisfaction
2. Enable you to deal with anxiety-provoking situations in a calm and controlled manner.
3. Enable you to keep your perspective and not buckle under stress.
4. Give every challenging situation your best and make full use of your resources in meeting that challenge head on.
5. Learn stress buster techniques like yoga or meditation.