M.S. Counselling and Psychotherapy
What is stress?
There are situations in life when a person is required to perform beyond his/her normal capacity, or situations when some expectations are not met. This creates anxiety, fear and anger. This is a situation where a person feels inadequate, under-confident and experiences loss of control. This affects a person's physical and mental wellbeing. This feeling of fear, anxiety, restlessness is commonly known as "tension or stress".
Symptoms of Stress :
Anger and Aggression: While under stress a person starts doubting his/her own capacity and efficiency because he/she feels inadequate or incapable of performing certain tasks. This creates a lot of anger or frustration and sometime, may result into aggressive behaviour.
Irritability: Under stress people get irritated for no reason. There is loss of patience, loss of sense of humour.
Sleep Disorders: A person under stress may not be able to sleep at all or in some cases sleep excessively.
Eating Disorders: A person under stress may lose appetite or in some cases, tend to overeat resulting in harmful effects on body.
Anxiety: Stress may cause a lot of anxiety and restlessness. The person under stress may not to able to concentrate and unable to focus on any activity, making things more complicated.
Depression: In a few cases a person under a lot of stress may go into depression.
High BP: Body and mind are closely connected. Hence stress in mind creates stress in the body and under stress, blood pressure may rise.
High Sugar Level: Stress may increase the blood sugar levels.
Headache or Unexplained Body Pains: Stress may cause headache or body aches in different parts of the body, without any physical reason for it.
Sometimes, there may not be any symptoms for stress but the trauma manifests in the form to heart attack, Stroke etc.
What causes stress ?
Relationship Issues - Conflicts in relationships is a major cause of stress.
Life style - Working for long hours, sedentary life style, unhealthy food habits, along with insatiable urge for money causes a lot of stress.
High expectations from oneself and from others - The peer pressure, the pressure of constant deadlines builds up a huge stress. When a person has very high expectations from himself/herself without corresponding efforts, there is a fear of failure which causes lot of tension. At the same time, having unrealistic expectations from others also is a definite reason for disappointments, resulting in stress.
Physical and Emotional Abuse - When a person is physically or emotionally abused and unable to defend himself/herself for various reasons, it causes frustration. This results in anger and stress.
Competition - Unhealthy competitions with others create a feeling of inadequency and result in lower self esteem and sadness, thereby causing stress.
Health Issues - Chronic and serious health issues cause lot of tension.
Suppressed Emotions - Lack of freedom to express own emotions and feelings, amounts to stress.
Lack of Assertiveness - Inability to say "No", when wanting to say so, inability to fight for one's own rights, causes tension and anger.
Boredom - Lack of creative/interesting occupation may cause stress especially in old people or people with physical disabilities.
Low self esteem, feeling hopeless and helpless - If a person has low self esteem and does not value oneself, it causes lots of negativity and stress.
Why stress management is important?
Body and mind affect each other's functioning. When the mind is stressed out, it gets reflected in the body in the form of high blood pressure, high sugar levels, indigestion, acidity, heartburn, ulcers, skin rashes, headache, nausea, cancer, eating disorders, psychosomatic pains etc. It may trigger asthma, migraine etc.
Because of these harmful effects of stress, the body's capacity to function reduces. At times, it may cause serious threat to one's life. Hence, it is very important to learn to relieve and also to manage stress, in order to have a long and healthy life.
There are a number of ways to relieve stress:
Sleep, take rest, relax.
Take a break from daily routine, do something different, take a short vacation.
Go for a walk/jog/run/cycling. Practice Yoga, meditation, deep muscle relaxation, etc.
Spend time with friends and family.
Play with children.
Spend time with pets.
Pursue a hobby like reading, gardening, painting, music, dance, singing, cooking, etc.
Recreation - Watch a movie, play, picnic, go for a drive or shopping.
Pamper yourself with beauty treatments, massage, or your favourite food/drinks.
How to manage Stress?
Stress is inevitable part of life now. Right from a kid going to Pre-Nursery school to senior citizens staying alone at homes and having severe health problems; all are under lot of stress. No one can avoid stress. But there are certain ways to manage your stress-
Self-awareness. Learn more about your own self. Understand what induces stress in you, what tasks are difficult for you, what situations are difficult for you and then try to figure out the reasons why it is so. Try to resolve or modify your thoughts and attitude.
Identify stressors and explore options. Once you identify what is causing your stress, try to find more options to resolve your issues.
Reasonable Expectations and Feasible Goals. Have reasonable expectations from yourself and from others. Have goals which are possible for you to achieve.
Learn assertive techniques. Learn to express your feelings, learn to fight for your own rights, understand and respect other's rights.
Try to minimise stress in life and lead a happy healthy life.