By Ananya Majumdar (LMB)
Dedicated to a friend who recently fell ill in Metro owing to office stress.
Has it ever happened to you, that your first thought in the morning is “I am running late. I will miss the Metro.” or one of “I burnt the bread. What do I eat now?”; “My clothes are not ironed!”; “I have too much work. I won’t meet the deadline!”. If the answer is yes, you clearly are in a state of “stress”. The strain on your health is not immediately visible, but will cause a lot of harm in due course. (And like most Engineers would try, increasing your Area won’t reduce the Stress induced on you. Just kidding!!!)
It is difficult to define stress, but a common explanation would be “physical, mental or emotional strain or tension”.
What happens when you are stressed?
Stress is what you feel when you have to handle more than you are used to. When you are stressed, your body responds as though you are in danger. It produces hormones that speed up your heart, make you breathe faster, and give you a burst of energy.
Is Stress harmful?
If stress happens too often or lasts too long, it can have some ill effects. It can be linked to headaches, an upset stomach, back pain, and trouble in sleeping. It can weaken your immune system, making it harder to fight off diseases. If you already have a health problem, stress may make it worse. It can make you moody, tense, or depressed. Your relationships may suffer, and you may not do well at work or school.
However, is stress always harmful?
Some stress is normal and even useful. Stress can help if you need to work hard or react quickly. For example, it can help you win a race or finish an important job on time. It can also motivate you to get organized, try new things, and push to higher levels of achievement.
“If I am stressed, it means I care.” – Kelly McGonigal, a health psychologist at Stanford.
If we only think of stress as toxic, this elevates its toxic effects. If we see that it can have positive outcomes — preparing us to perform — we might be able to lose some of the meta-stress: the stress about stressing.
“When you change your mind about stress you can change your body’s response to stress.” – Kelly McGonigal, a health psychologist at Stanford
How do you measure your stress level?
Sometimes, it is clear where stress is coming from. You can count on stress during a major life change such as the death of a loved one, getting married, having a baby or moving across geographies. But other times it may not be so clear why you are feeling stressed.
It’s important to figure out what causes stress to you. Everyone feels and responds to stress differently. Tracking your stress may help.
Get a notebook, and write down your thoughts (without filtering them!) every time you feel stressed. Then write how you reacted and what you did to deal with the stress.
Tracking your stress can help you find out what is causing your stress and how much stress you feel. Then you can take steps to reduce the stress or handle it better.
How do we manage/avoid/relieve stress?
The good news is that you can learn ways to manage stress. To get it under control:
Find out what is causing stress in your life.
Look for ways to reduce the amount of stress in your life.
Learn healthy ways to relieve stress and reduce its harmful effects.
Stress is a part of life for most people. You may not be able to avoid stress, but you can look for ways to lower it. Understanding the cause of Stress is most important in reducing it.
You might try some of these ideas:
Find better ways to cope. Be honest about what works and what does not. Think about other things that might work better. The best ways to relieve stress are different for each person – there isn’t a standard medicine or a common cure! So do not be disappointed if something that has worked for your friend doesn’t work for you. Try some of these ideas to see which ones work for you:
- Vent your feelings out
- Do something you enjoy
- Learn ways to relax your body (deep breathing is a common method)
- Focus on the present
Sometimes stress is just too much to handle alone. Talking to a friend or family member may help. If it is something serious or deeply troubling, you may also choose to see a counselor. And yes, visiting a clinical psychologist for help is nothing to be ashamed of. Your mind needs equal attention like your body. If you are not apprehensive of visiting a doctor for fever, why should you worry while visiting a psychologist? After all, they’re all ailments affecting different parts of your body.
Finally, in the words of my favorite character, Mr. Newt Scamander from ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to find them’ by J.K. Rowling,
Source : www.stress.org, www.webmd.com, qz.com