Stress and related problems
If you went out camping in a jungle and saw a lion standing before you, you would exhibit a myriad of thoughts (what do I do now?), emotions (fear, anxiety), and behaviors (run for your life or find your gun and take target). All these constitute the stress reaction, which is also termed as the fright, fight, and flight response. A similar state may be experienced when a driver suddenly slams the brakes of a speeding car to prevent an accident, or a batsman needs a 4 or a 6 in his last shot to win the match. Everything seems smooth in the world as long as the wheels are rolling at a pre-determined pace in every aspect of life. The moment there is a change; there is a fluster of thought, emotion, and behavior to resist that change. This is what constitutes stress: A complete and wholehearted resistance to change.
Change: the constant
Change is the only constant in life. And change always generates resistance. Every passing day brings a revolution in some or the other dimension for every individual. Facing it is stressful enough, defying it is hardly a comfortable option. If one is unable to make amends with one’s situation, it affects psychological wellness. Work, friends, finances and stock market indices, natural or man-made calamities: everything has become unpredictable. And longstanding issues like dysfunctional relationships, physical illness, disability, studies, job, household problems, children; all contribute to an increasing load on the brain.
Adaptation: the key to survival
A steady job, stable income, sound relationships, everlasting friendships, reliable political system, steadfastness in faith, good weather, freedom from threat, safety, security; all are what one needs to ‘not stress’ and be calm. But constancy is a dream. Things change, people change and viewpoints change. Marriages break, recession strikes and economies fall. Change is inevitable. Positive change brings joy while the negative one acts as a stressor. If one doesn’t adapt, one cannot cope. Trouble will persists till the stressor is removed or adaptation to the change takes place.
Stress performance relationship
A slight amount of worry or apprehension keeps us on our toes, but continued pressures deplete the body of its reserves and leave the person feeling overwhelmed. The person may exhibit irritability, moodiness, anxiety, fear, panic, sleep disturbances, decreased appetite, and physical symptoms such as multiple aches and pains when faced with unwanted change.
People who are anxious personalities and have high basal worry levels have a greater tendency to experience stress. They feel secure in their stable environment and abhor any modification to it. Sometimes the calamity is enormous and anyone would respond negatively (like death or divorce). Stress tends to cloud rational thinking so one adopts dysfunctional coping strategies like smoking, drinking, aggression, anger, arguments, or even assault. However the norm of life is that it goes on. All wounds are supposed to heal; some get all right fast, and others rectify sluggishly. When the healing process seems to be excessively long, there are no signs of betterment in spite of adequate friend and family support; and if signs of depression and anxiety disorder are slipping in, it is a problem that warrants attention.
Distress to De-stress
The best option to de-stress is to build on resilience to deal effectively with demanding situations. Physical resilience comes from healthy food, exercise, adequate sleep and regular health check ups. The mental endurance requires one to be realistic, reasonable, relaxed, and rational. At MINDFRAMES we help you deal with stress through one-on-one counseling sessions as well as stress management workshops for groups and corporates.