STRESS MANAGEMENT

What is stress?stress

This is a very dangerous topic!

We are all familiar with the word “stress”. Your body, however, has a much broader definition of stress. To your body, stress is synonymous with change. Anything that causes a change in your life causes stress. It doesn’t matter if it is a good change or a bad change. They are both stress. In fact, to most of us, stress is synonymous with worry. If it is something that makes you worry, then it is stress. The term stress has been used to describe a variety of negative feelings and reactions that accompany threatening or challenging situations. However, not all stress reactions are negative. A certain amount of stress is actually necessary for survival. For example, birth is one of the most stressful experiences of life. The high level of hormones released during birth, which are also involved in the stress response, are believed to prepare the newborn infant for adaptation to the challenges of life outside the womb. These biological responses to stress make the newborn more alert promoting the bonding process and, by extension, the child’s physical survival.

Problems of Definition

There have been many different definitions of what stress is, whether used by psychologists, medics, management consultants or others. What complicates this is that intuitively we all feel that we know what stress is, as it is something we have all experienced.

One problem with a single definition is that stress is made up of many things: It is a family of related experiences, pathways, responses and outcomes caused by a range of different events or circumstances. Different people experience different aspects and identify with different definitions.

Hans Selye (one of the founding fathers of stress research) identified another part of this problem when he saw that different types of definition operate in different areas of knowledge.

Selye’s view in 1956 was that “stress is not necessarily something bad – it all depends on how you take it. The stress of exhilarating, creative successful work is beneficial, while that of failure, humiliation or infection is detrimental.” Selye believed that the biochemical effects of stress would be experienced irrespective of whether the situation was positive or negative.

The current view

Now, the most commonly accepted definition of stress (mainly attributed to Richard S Lazarus) is that stress is a condition or feeling experienced when a person perceives that demands exceed the personal and social resources the individual is able to mobilize.

All of these are stress

If you are used to thinking that stress is something that makes you worry, you have the wrong idea of stress. Stress is many different kinds of things: happy things, sad things, allergic things and physical things. Many people carry enormous stress loads and they do not even realize it!

When you are in real, immediate physical danger, it is appropriate to feel afraid. Getting your body charged up with adrenaline may well help to keep you alive. However, most of the time when we feel stressed, there is no immediate danger, so it is a false alarm. The fire alarm is sounding, but there is no fire!

How to manage stress

So how do you learn how to manage stress? There are basically two main ways:

Learn how to turn off the alarm system through various relaxation methods.

Learn how to not turn it on inadvertently in the first place.

Relaxation methods work on the idea that you can’t be relaxed and uptight at the same time

Deep breathing – taking deep, slow breaths rather than the shallow, fast breathing we feel when we are stressed. This really works physiologically to help shut off the danger alarm.

Muscular relaxation – tensing and relaxing various muscle groups can work wonders. Try your neck and shoulders, your shoulder blades, your forehead and eyes, tensing these groups for a few seconds, and then relaxing them. You can also combine this with deep breathing by inhaling while you tense, then exhaling when you relax the muscles. There are more sophisticated versions of these muscular methods, like the shower of relaxation and progressive relaxation.

Visualization – imagine a very peaceful scene, like lying on the beach, out in a fishing boat on a lake, in a mountain cabin or whatever. It can be a real place or you can make it up. Try to invoke all your senses as you imagine being in this very peaceful, relaxing place. What do you see? What sounds are there? What sensations of touch, temperature or smell? For example, you might imagine the sun on your skin, the cool breeze on your forehead, the salt tang of the ocean, the grit of the sand.

Try all these methods and see which works better for you. Some people do better with muscular methods, others with visualization. All these can be learned quite readily and often work very well.

The best way to manage stress is to learn to change anxiety to concern. Concern means you are motivated to take care of real problems in your life, but your danger alarm system is not erroneously activated. Changing your feelings is largely a matter of learning to identify and change the upsetting thoughts that are the immediate and proximate cause of upset emotions.

The most important stress is due to our greed, because we can fulfill our needs but cannot our greed. To reduce such type of stress is only to change our mind and remember the epics of GITA

Why do you cry, What have you lost, What did you bring with you that you have lost, What did you create that has been destroyed, You did not bring anything when you were born, Whatever you have, you got it from here, Whatever you gave, you gave it back here, What is yours today, was someone else’s yesterday, and will be someone else’s tomorrow, Change is the way of the universe, May god protect all, Whatever has happened, has been for good, Whatever is happening, is for good, Whatever will happen, will also be for good !!!

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