Stress describes a person’s physical or emotional response to the demands or pressures of daily life. It is also a normal reaction the body has when changes occur resulting in physical, emotional and intellectual responses. Stress responses help your body adjust to new situations. Stress can be positive (eustress) keeping us alert, motivated and ready to avoid danger, for example, working harder by staying awake in exam periods, but stress becomes a problem when stressors continue without relief or periods of relaxation.
As averred by Mrs. Bosede Famaye, Head, CRIN Health Services Division, when you encounter sudden stress, your brain floods your body with chemicals and hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones get one’s heart beating faster and sends blood to muscles and important organs making one feel energized so one can have heightened awareness so as to focus on the immediate needs. Some types of stress are: Physical, Psychological, Phycosocial and Psychospiritual. Some causes of stress are: Financial problems, Pressures at work, Family responsibilities, Health concerns; Emotional problems such as depression, anxiety, anger, grief, low self-esteem, Prolonged divorce proceedings, Traumatic event, Abusive relationships, Parenting and Unhappy marriage.
According to the health expert, physical symptoms of stress include: Aches and pains, Chest pain or a feeling like your heart is racing, Exhaustion or fatigue, Insomnia and other sleep problems, Headaches, dizziness or shaking, Digestive problems, High blood pressure, Muscle tension or jaw clenching, Trouble having sex or lower sex drive, Weak immune system, Eating too much or too little. Stressing further, she stated that stress can lead to emotional and mental Symptoms like; Anxiety or irritability, Depression, Panic attacks and Sadness. According to her, often, people with chronic stress try to manage it with unhealthy behaviours, including: Drinking alcohol too much or too often, Gambling, Overeating or developing an eating disorder, Smoking and Using drugs.
Some strategies for stress relief prescribed by her are: Exercise such as walking, Goal setting, Relaxation activities such as meditation, breathing exercises and muscle relaxation, Taking good care of one’s body by eating right, Getting enough sleep (6 to 8 hours) in the night and observing siesta as necessary, Staying positive and practicing gratitude, Accepting that you can’t control everything and let go of worries about situations you cannot change, Learning to say ‘no’ to additional responsibilities when too busy or stressed, Staying connected with people who keep you calm, make you happy such as friends, family member or neighbours and most importantly, Staying connected to God and meditate on the word of God. She concluded by stating that Life being what it is; it’s not possible to eliminate stress completely but one can learn to avoid it when possible and manage it when it’s unavoidable. She advised that “If you can’t manage your stress or it’s accompanied by anxiety or depression, see your doctor right away. These conditions can be managed with treatment as long as you seek help. You might also consider consulting with a therapist or other mental health Professional.”
~ Mrs. Bosede Famaye