Your head is spinning. You can feel that crawling discomfort along your underbelly. You try to focus on the laptop screen in front of you. You can’t even recognize the content on the screen. You even don’t know how much time you spend time like this, surfing the internet. You wish you got a magic wand and solve all your problems once and for all and you know that it is a wish. But you are clear about one thing, You are Stressed Out.
All those issues that you have created through your actions are now standing tall in front of you.
- You always spend more than you earned. On top of that, you borrowed and spend on stuff, went for expensive holidays. Now you are getting calls from collection agents and your bank balance is zero. All those friends for whom you spend your money are not even replying to your calls
- You never bothered to spend time to learn new skills or technology. Now your CEO thinks that you are useless. You have now only 30 days to find a new job and you don’t think that it is possible
- You have never exercised in your life and you abhor all those “fools” who work-out. Now your heart is clogged and you have to undergo a heart operation.
- You ignored the aggressive behavior of your husband. Now you are living with a nightmare
- You didn’t have enough time to spend with your teenage son. Lately, you found that he is hanging around with a notorious street gang
See the above scenarios. When someone is Stressed Out, it shows the direction from where the problem is originated. In other words, “Stress” is a Compass that always points to the root cause of the problem. Successful achievers always use “Stress” to see the basic cause of the problem to solve it. When we can use STRESS as a COMPASS to NAVIGATE through life, it will HELP us to reach the SHORES of SUCCESS.
Let’s Explore the Mechanism of STRESS
Both psychologists and social scientists agree on the nature of stress. Stress is a survival mechanism. During the stone-age, the man was in constant danger. Only the strongest, boldest and vigilant would survive in the wild. In that environment, man needed stress as a biological tool to alert himself from the danger. This bodily mechanism called STRESS makes him alert 24×7 non-stop. He survived in the wild among predators, natural calamities and enemies. Now you realized how STRESS helped our forefathers survive in the deadly wild. Now we are out of the wild, living in a civilized world. But this basic human instinct is still with us. The only question is whether it is going to help us or hurt us.
For a primitive man, there were only two choices available for him every time. Fight or Flight. While in front of a deadly predator, he has to decide between these two. But for modern humans, we have multitudes of choices for every situation for most of our issues. It doesn’t have to be a fight or flight situation. As Stephan Covey put it beautifully in his monumental work “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.”
“In the space between stimulus (what happens) and how we respond, lies our freedom to choose. This power to choose is what defines us as human beings. We may have limited choices but we can always choose. We can choose our thoughts, emotions, moods, our words, our actions; we can choose our values and live by principles. It is the choice of acting or being acted upon.”
Think about the four examples of stress that I mentioned in the beginning. In each of these cases, stress kicked in as a fight or flight mechanism. The first instinct would be to react, shout, hide or curse. But when we choose our response to this STRESS, we will start seeing its positive outcomes. We start seeing STRESS as a STIMULUS that needs a carefully chosen RESPONSE from our end. We will create more empowered choices where “fight or flight” is not required.
Need More Evidence?
A joint research project was conducted by NCBI and Wisconsin University in the 1980s. That was a ground-breaking discovery about how stress affects an individual’s wellbeing. Researchers interviewed nearly 186 million individuals. They asked them about the level of stress which they experience in their everyday life and how they see it. /29/19, 05:21: 40% % of them had a negative perception of stress. They feel that stress is affecting their health. This 40% of the people who perceived stress have died prematurely. Please click this link and read the full report. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3374921/) Stress has never created any health issues for those who think it as a positive thing. Those must be the folks who know how to use stress as a COMPASS to succeed in life.
Medical Benefits of Stress
In medical or biological context stress is a physical, mental, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension. Stresses can be external (from the environment, psychological, or social situations) or internal (illness, or from a medical procedure).
What are the sources of stress?
Big stressors include money troubles, job issues, relationship conflicts, and major life changes, such as the loss of a loved one.
Smaller stressors, such as long daily commutes and rushed mornings, can also add up over time.
Chronic stress, or a constant stress experienced over a prolonged period, can contribute to long-term problems for heart and blood vessels. The consistent and ongoing increase in heart rate and the elevated levels of stress hormones and blood pressure can take a toll on the body.
According to a recent survey about Stress:
The ‘2018 Cigna 360 Well-Being Survey (https://wellbeing.cigna.com/360Survey_Report.pdf)– Future Assured’, conducted by Cigna TTK Health Insurance, shows that stress levels are higher in Indian compared with other developed and emerging countries, including the United States, the UK, Germany, France, China, Brazil, and Indonesia.
Females reported significantly higher levels of stress than males (60% vs. 41%). ( https://www.nyu.edu/)
Over 50% of people from India said they are not spending enough time with friends or have enough time for hobbies. The dip in family well-being is mostly due to growing concerns about the ability to financially support parents and children.
With 65 % of U.S. employees citing work as a significant source of stress and more than one-third reporting chronic work stress, workplace stress can affect both individual well-being and organizational performance.
‘Everything in nature is bipolar or has a negative or positive pole’
How can you make your stress positive?
First of all, we need to accept that stress is part of life. We just have to keep our problems in proper perspective. If something is bothering you too much just share it with somebody like your parents, friends or spouse. Every cloud has a silver lining so look for the positive aspects.
Some of the behavioral signs that you’re stressed are:
- Depression or anxiety, irritability.
- Frequent colds and infections.
- Problems with your memory and concentration.
- Increased use of drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes.
- Procrastinating and avoiding responsibilities.
Here are some tips to help you keep stress at bay.
- Try to keep a positive attitude.
- Learn to be assertive instead of aggressive.
- Practice relaxation techniques; try meditation, yoga, or tai-chi for stress management.
- Exercise is one of the most important things you can do to combat stress. So, keep exercising! Look for stress buster games or toys.
- Eat healthy, well-balanced meals.
- Find a place to comfortably sit or lie down, and close your eyes if you can.
- Spend the first minute being aware of your body and getting comfortable.
- Notice the physiology of the stress response in your body.
- Say to yourself There is a positive side to stress.
- Laughing helps to reduce heart diseases, improves breathing, decreases stress and makes you look young!