A feeling of emotional or physical tension arising from anything that bothers you, such as frustration, anger, nervousness, etc. can be termed as “stress”[i]. Stress, in a way, switches on the automatic fight or flight mode in our body. As for teenagers, stress can be an overwhelming feeling of hopelessness and worry caused due to many reasons such as studies, friendships, relationships, family problems, career, etc. Even for an adult, stress can be caused due to similar reasons such as career, divorce, illness, financial obligations, etc.
Now, the question that arises is that does everyone become a victim of stress? The answer is yes! At some point of time in life, each and every individual comes under the pressure of stress. Our body also has many ways of indicating stress, such as always being pessimistic, chest pounding, body pains, loneliness, etc.
According to the economic times, “About 89% of the population in India say they are suffering from stress compared to the global average of 86%. Nearly 75% of respondents here do not feel comfortable talking to a medical professional about their stress and cite cost as one of the barriers.”[ii] In India, most people suffering from stress or any mental health issue for that matter, avoid visiting a professional who can help them. I have observed among friends and family that this happens due to the fear of being judged and categorised by their mental health issues. It is also feared by the fact that they will be labelled by the society, which till some extent is true in consideration of the Indian society. On this note, my personal advice would be to have courage, be brave and face the society without the fear of being judged, this is actually the most important thing which would be required in order to survive in todays world.
Stress impacts individuals in both mental and physical ways. Mentally, stress can cause moodiness, irritability, anger and extreme levels of stress can also cause anxiety and depression. Some of the people also get affected by Post traumatic stress disorder(PTSD), which can be developed after an traumatic or stressful incident. By this, the affected person may have nightmares, flashbacks or controllable thoughts.[iii]
Stress also impacts our bodies physically in many ways which is why I feel it is very important to prevent our stress levels from reaching a point where it starts harming us not only mentally, but physically too.
Some of the techniques that I use which work every time to calm myself are deep breathing exercises, or it could simply be inhaling-exhaling at a slower pace than usual. Meditating for a few minutes before sleeping calms me down and also helps me sleep. Daily physical exercise and healthy meals help keep the positive outlook towards life which is another important thing we should always have in order to have a peaceful and happy life which is under your control. One more thing that helps me stay sane is completing my work on time. To keep doing work as it gets assigned is better than letting it get piled up and then getting worried and overwhelmed later. Last but not least, the most enjoyable and helpful activity that I do is have fun with my dog. We play, we go for walks and not to forget all the love and comfort he provides when I’m feeling low.
Thus, we can conclude that stress is absolutely normal and can happen to anyone, be that an adult or child. We can also conclude that suppressing stress would not help, rather, it would just make it worse. Practicing some of the tried and tested techniques written above along with time management can really help in reducing stress levels in an individual.
– by Gauri Bali.