October 31, 2020
Due to the pandemic of Covid-19, which has affected the whole world, it has also brought all of us to a stressful situation. In India, the number of affected people is jumping in leaps and bounds every day. Among the most affected people are our children as they have lost almost a full year of their academic life. Since it is natural for their parents to experience stress during these pandemic times, I am sharing few of my thoughts with them just to help them know how they can cope with stressful situations.
Stress is actually unavoidable. School Children experience stress while appearing for school exams. An adult experiences stress while appearing for interviews and then in the execution of his or her job. Old people experience stress when they fall ill and cannot move about. Stress is the companion of our life.
Then we can ask the question what stress actually is. In our ordinary language it is nothing else than tension, pressure or burden and strain of our responsibilities. So why do we feel or experience stress in our body? We experience it due to worries, and worries due to anxiety and anxiety due to stress and stress leads to burnout and depression. That is the reason why you must have heard some students or young boys and girls attempt suicide due to their inability to cope with the stressful situation.
An example for stress could be this: someone is competing with me in my job. So I want to prove that I am better than she or he. What is the result? Result is stress. We have many causes for stress. For example, misunderstanding, competition surrounding our employment and targets to be attained, lack of time management so on and so forth. Some people work morning to night - they are said to be workaholics - expecting maybe a promotion and later on they are prone to get exhausted and burnout.
MANAGEMENT OF STRESS
This leads us to the topic of how to manage the stress in life. Stress could be made beneficial to us when we know how to manage and streamline it. Stress helps us to achieve many things in life. But we need to know how to deal with it and manage it. If stress is allowed to go to the extreme, there will be a breakdown. This means stress leads to worries, tension, anxiety and finally breakdown. Do we ever consider that our energy is limited and our potentials are finite? Overburdening our minds and entertaining too many desires beyond our capacities result in stress that can lead ultimately to breakdown.
Research on stress has indicated that approximately 70 to 80 percent of health diseases are related to stress - for instance heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, cancer and the like. Know therefore the importance of stress management. Right from the moment of birth till the last breath, each and every individual is always exposed to various stressful situations. Thus, stress is not only inevitable and unavoidable, but also a normal part of human life. A person without stress is a lazy person, who simply wants to waste his life. If he wants to achieve anything, he has to face stress.
STRESS MANAGEMENT TECHNIQUES
Let me present a few of the techniques which you parents can put into practice in order to manage the stress that you experience in day-to-day life.
The first and the easiest one is the ‘laughter’. It is said that laughter is the best medicine against stress and there is truth in that. It is very difficult indeed to remain stressed and tense when you’re bursting with laughter. Scientifically speaking, laughter is very beneficial as it increases oxygen supply and relaxes muscles in the diaphragm and chest. What happens when you laugh? Your brain produces endorphins which are neurotransmitters of happiness. Laughing is also contagious. If you get a group of friends together and watch funny movies, and if one starts laughing, soon all the others join in.
Other readily available means are body-massage, adequate sleep & rest, playing games and sports, doing some exercises like yoga and most important, eating healthy food. All these are means to reduce stress. Still another help to reduce stress is forgiving, yourself and others. If you go on with hurt feelings and guilt feelings, you can never be at peace with yourself and with others. Therefore forgive and forget, reconcile with others, whoever he or she may be and be at peace. There is no greater medicine than peace for a person who is in stress. Of course, yoga meditations can go a long way to reduce stress. But it needs regular training and desire to learn the methods of meditation. Those who can do it go ahead and be joyful and relaxed.
COPING WITH STRESS
The next important aspect of management of stress is coping with it when it occurs. Hence coping with stress is the next point that we like to deal with.
How to cope with stress? There are some important strategies which you can employ to cope with the stress. These are: learning to take life the way it comes could be one; stop blaming others is another; learning to live in the present and working for the future could be the third one. The fourth one is maintaining a harmonious relationship with others. Responding to situations with equanimity, detachment, courage and determination is the fifth. Avoiding negative emotional reactions like anger, grumbling, gossiping and apprehensions are the sixth; and the last one is seeking professional counselling.
To conclude, we can affirm that Stress is manageable but it needs efforts to regulate your thinking and to change your behavioural patterns. Learn to lead a well-balanced life of satisfaction. Stress is a companion of our life. Only a lousy person who does not want to achieve anything in life can afford to live without stress. But normal stress is necessary for a normal life. Who would like to get up early in the morning and prepare breakfast and pack up for the office to earn your daily bread? Which child would like to get up so early in the morning and go to school – if there was no stress which compels us to do things and perform, we could be totally relaxed. But it is not possible in the contemporary context of the world. But stress is dangerous when we allow it to cross the limits. It is the cause of many physical and mental problems and illnesses, loss of mental peace and anxiety. Hence we need to learn to manage stress. If we manage stress properly, it will be with us to achieve great things in life. Stress will make us dynamic personalities. It will impel us to work systematically and manage our time well. Stress should go along with relaxation. Learn to relax your body and stress will not disturb you. Cultivate the habit of relaxing your mind and stress will make your intellectual life very fruitful.