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WHAT IS STRESS?

"I am feeling very stressed"


"I do not know how long I can go on like this"
"I am unable to have a good night?s rest and it is affecting my
work?
"At times suddenly for no reason I feel really low and depressed"
"I am very irritable now at home and feel very bad about it"
"Even small things upset me"
"I seem to have lost my appetite"
Statements like these seem familiar to you? Most of us would have said or felt
this way at least sometime in our lives. What does "STRESS" really mean in
practical terms?
Simply stated, ?Stress implies any sort of chane that we have to adapt to?.
!daptation means we have to have the capacity to cope with the chane and if
we succeed then the stress does not harm us " in fact we feel a ?rush? in dealin
with those chanes. #f on the other hand we find we lack or fall short of a$ilities
to deal ade%uately with those demands then we lose our self confidence and the
stress can overwhelm us and make us feel really tired and weak and not in
control of the situation.
#n reality, stress is not always neative " how well we are e%uipped to deal with it
determines whether we e&perience it as neative or positive. #f we had no stress
then we would in fact have little to motivate us to focus enery and attention on a
iven oal or task at hand. This sort of positive pressure can produce feelins of
e&citement, challene and opportunity' it ena$les us to $e active.
!s pressure on us increases $eyond an optimal point, an&iety and neative
thouhts $ein to creep in. We feel less confident a$out the situation around us
and we e&perience neative stress.
The same situation can $e neative or positive dependin on the person?s
resources.
(et?s take an e&ample) You get news of your promotion, but it means an
immediate shift to a new city. It is also a difficult region to handle and will mean
a lot of hard work from your end. n the one hand the promotion is great
because you will be rising in the company but it also brings with it changes to
your life. !ow well you are able to deal with the shift to a new city, settling in
with your family " will all affect the way you will feel about this news. #hether
your wife is confident about handling the shift, settling the child into a new school
and finding new friends etc will all impact your feeling good about the promotion.
We can see that $ein prepared and havin ade%uate support systems can ease
some of the tension or stress we will meet in our daily livin. (ife is ever chanin
and full of challenes where each day $rins new situations, scenarios and events
and we need to $e a$le to live throuh it all. (earnin skills to manae times
when we feel overwhelmed and $urdened will help ease some of the tension and
stress that comes our way and stall the neative impact and help us lead happier
and healthier lives.
Life Cycle Transitions
There are some events in our life cycle that occur in everyone?s life and are seen
to cause more stress than usual. *ein prepared for the challenes that they
$rin can really help. (ife cycle transitions include)
Startin and finishin school
Startin to work
(eavin home
+ettin married
,avin a child
,avin a child leave home
Retirement
#f you or someone in your family are nearin any of the a$ove situations you can
e&pect more tension and worry and additional support would definitely $e needed
durin such times.
FACTORS THAT CONTRIBUTE TO EVALUATION OF A SITUATION AS
STRESSFUL
,ow you evaluate stress that comes your way depends firstly on the nature of
eent that you are facin. ! promotion is not totally neative whereas the death
of a loved one is definitely neative and would put more pressure.
-our !ersonality is another factor. Some people even with little pressure can
start to feel very tense and una$le to cope whereas someone else in the same
situation may not find it very ta&in. ,ere it is the individual?s personality that is
comin into play, how much inner confidence and inner strenth you have to
cope.
#f you have some control over the situation then you are a$le to control the
stress $ut if you have no control you will feel totally overwhelmed. .or instance
you are out shoppin and find your wallet has $een stolen and it had all your
credit cards and also some money you needed to use riht now. #f you have all
your num$ers kept in a file at home then you know that althouh it is a trou$le,
you will $e a$le to $lock your cards as soon as you reach home. -ou are also a$le
to walk from the shop to your friend?s place and $orrow some money so even
your shoppin trip is not unfruitful.
-our resources to handle the stress also play an important role in how well you
deal with the situation. Resources here mean money, skills or people. .or
e&ample, suppose you fall ill ? it makes a difference if you are stayin alone or
with family.
#n the second situation you have your family to take care of your comfort and
also help you recover, so the stress will $e less even thouh in $oth situations you
are unwell physically.
!nother e&ample is if you are ivin an important presentation to a client and
somethin oes wron with the audio system. #f you have some added skills in
dealin with the e%uipment and can resolve the pro$lem, it will mean less stress
for you.
!nother aspect that can influence how we come out throuh stressful periods
is "#at else is #a!!enin$durin that time in our life. #f you lose your /o$ $ut
are still sinle then it would not affect you that neatively, $ut if you lose your /o$
when your wife is /ust a$out to have a $a$y, the added life event of havin a $a$y
will increase the amount of stress you e&perience.
(astly your social su!!ort syste% is very important in how you cope with
stress. This includes your family, friends and colleaues " people on whom you
are a$le to lean durin touh times. #f you have a ood support system then any
stress $ecomes easier to deal with. Remem$er we as a species are a social animal
so support systems really help us ease over trou$led times.
(ookin at stress in this new manner can help us feel $etter a$out dealin with
the pressures that come our way. 0e&t time you feel tense, evaluate the situation
and see where you can $rin in some chane to help you ease the pressure.