Beware of stress

Stress is described as the big “S” of the 21st century. It is viewed as the most prevalent reason for workers’ disability and seems to correlate with several disorders that contribute to fifty percent of workers’ turnover.

The International Labour Organization (ILO) has conceptualized stress as one source of health challenge that affects all employees. Stress attacks everyone. This makes it to be described as being above or more potent than malaria fever, the number one killer in tropical Africa and Asia.

Stress is known to be as old as human existence; it is said to be part of the normal fabric of human existence.  It is a necessary and unavoidable concomitant of life. Every individual regardless of age, occupation, social status, race and cultural background experiences stress in many ways.

Stress means so many things to different individuals.  To some people, stress is a challenge while to others, it is a threat. Stress occurs when an individual is confronted by a situation that is perceived as over whelming and cannot cope with it.

Parents have enormous school bills to settle for their children and wards which often give them stress. Aside the school bills, other bills such as electricity and hospital bills are left at their disposal. Some individuals get stressed out because of their jobs or tight work schedule deadlines and stipulated dates while others may have marital issues and in a bid to satisfy their spouses, get stressed.

There are several other reasons for stress which may include getting married and arranging for burials. These events can be quite challenging and stressful as so much is involved in putting these events together. No matter the reason for your stress, once you are unable to cope with a situation that demands your attention, you are termed to be under stress.

Stress can be caused by both good and bad experiences. For instance, getting married can be a source of stress even though marriage is a good thing. People feel stressed by things that happen around them, their bodies react by releasing chemicals in to their blood system. These chemicals give them more energy and strength which could be good if the stress is caused by danger. Stress could also be bad when it is response to something emotional and there is no outlet for this extra energy and strength to cope with.

The dynamics of stress has given room to diverse definitions of the concept. Stress can be described as adverse reaction people have due to excessive pressure or other types of demand placed on them. Stress can be viewed as a negative emotional, cognitive, behavioural and psychological processes that occur as a person tries to adjust to or deal with stressors. For Shell and Icosian, stress is a feeling of tension that is both biological and psychological which resultant end is a failure to respond appropriately to emotional or physical threats which could be imagined or actual but tasking to the adaptive resources  of the individual system.

Selye the “Father” of stress referred to stress as that general response which the human makes to any demand placed on it. According to Selye, stress includes anxiety, conflict and frustration. Invariably, stress could be seen as the body’s way of rising to a challenge and preparing to meet with a tough situation with focus, strength,  stamina and heightened alertness. Stress can cause wear and tear to the body of an individual when not well handled. It could bring worry, fear, confusion, irritability,  anger, rejection, and the like. Stress can also bring depression which after effect is aches, stomach upset, rashes, insomnia, ulcer, high blood pressure, heart diseases and even stroke.

In defining stress, two schools of thoughts have emerged. The first thought sees stress as a cause while the second sees it as a response or effect. As a cause, stress is viewed as any force that when applied to a system causes some severe changes in its original form and brings it to a disorganised form while the second school of thought which sees stress as a response or effect is responsible for the wear and tear to life of an individual.

Whatever the event, or stressor that causes stress, one must be ready to understand what stress is to manage or get rid of it. It is important to note that what might constitute stress to one person may not be stress to the other person. This may be dependent on an individual’s resilience meaning his ability or capacity to cope with a particular situation or event. The way such an individual sees the situation is a determining factor. He either sees  it as a threat or challenge. When the individual sees it as a challenge he/she rises up to it.

There are signs and symptoms associated with stress and being able to identify and understand them correctly will be the first step to help you curb, manage and get rid of stress.

The most common signs that indicate that you are stressed and should consult your doctor or psychotherapist are as follows:

– lack of energy, taking over the counter medication, high blood pressure, feeling depressed, increase in appetite, trouble concentrating, restless, tension, and feelings of anxiety among others.

Some other notable symptoms are behavioural changes such as: loss of spontaneity, happiness, or enthusiasm, inability to make decisions, increase in alcohol/drug consumption including, prescription drugs, loss of efficiency, obsessive “replaying” of events, particularly negative ones, withdrawal from friends and social situations, increased tension, arousal of aggression, cardiovascular damage, diabetes and poor academic performance/poor adjustment amongst pupils and students.

There are two major patterns or types of stress which include prolonged chronic elevation of stress and situational stress. There are also different levels of stress which comprise of normal stress, severe stress and acute or chronic stress. Whatever be the type of stress or stress level, you may need to learn to manage or get rid of stress.



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