These are tough times. With the economy in a tailspin, people are losing jobs–and the future is uncertain due to the pandemic.

Stress is inevitable under these circumstances. And working from home doesn’t make it any easier.

Let’s look at Rajesh and Maya, two advertising executives who have been working from home for the past few months. It is a tightrope walk between managing their children, household chores, and an increased workload. They are also under great financial stress because of salary cuts. This leads to constant tension and arguments between them.

Have you ever experienced such stress? If so, you are not alone. Stress is regarded as one of the most serious issues of our times. Most of us feel stressed at one point or the other.

It’s essential not to succumb to stress and learn about stress management.

Definition of stress

But first, let’s understand the definition of stress. The widely accepted definition of stress is a ‘physical, mental, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension’. It can be caused by external factors such as the environment and stressful situations, or internal factors, including illness.

Symptoms of stress

The common symptoms of stress are irritability, headaches, panic attacks, acidity, heartburn, sweaty hands and feet, sleep problems, tiredness, loss of interest, and rising fear. Chronic stress can hurt one’s mental and physical health.

Life is full of changes and challenges. So there’s no escape from stress. Some amount of stress can be helpful. For example, pre-examination stress drives you to study hard and do well in exams.

But too much stress can be damaging. That’s why it’s important to learn effective stress management. You need to first understand the causes of stress in order to manage stress.

Causes of stress

Stress can be caused by many factors, big and small. Being stuck in a traffic jam and getting late for a meeting leads to stress. Unfair treatment or favoritism in the office also affects your mental well-being.

Your parents’ expectations, peer pressure, and your inability to cope up with them is another major stress factor.

Some other causes of stress are:

  • Financial issues leading to anxiety, guilt, and arguments

  • Being constantly judged by others

  • Workplace politics

  • Failures in personal relationships

  • Marital discord

  • Tensions in parenting

  • Hectic lifestyles

 

Effects of stress

Excess stress is a silent killer. It is hazardous to your physical as well as mental well-being. Doctors agree that chronic stress interferes with the digestive system and the immune system. Stress-related disorders can lead to increased blood pressure, stroke or cardiac arrest, susceptibility to allergies, and so on. 

Do you know that the level of stress one experiences depends on their personality traits? One person stuck in a traffic jam might curse the situation. Another might open a book and start reading or wait calmly while listening to music. 

If you want to enjoy a peaceful life, stress management is important. 

 

What is stress management?

 

Stress management is a crucial skill set in life. According to the Gale Encyclopaedia of Medicine, the meaning of stress management is a set of techniques and programs intended to help people deal more effectively with stress. This helps people analyze the factors that trigger stress and minimize its harmful effects.

At any stage, a resilient human being is capable of taking charge of his or her life. It is important to find what stress management strategies fit you best, and apply them.

 

Importance of stress management

 

Stress management is critical for dealing with challenges and setbacks. It helps people bounce back from failure and forge ahead. 

  1. For a better life:

Learning stress management skills and applying them to everyday life helps a person take control of his or her life. Handling stress effectively builds a positive outlook. A solution-oriented approach helps in overcoming problems and living a better life.  

Having a purpose also helps you find your way through challenging and stressful situations. Your sense of purpose provides a strong foundation that enables you to climb out of difficult situations.

 

  1. To improve health:

Constantly being under stress affects your health. It makes you prone to various diseases and accelerates your aging process. Research shows that stressed individuals age faster than those who are stress-free. Stress also causes weight gain and obesity. It is important to identify and treat stress at an early stage in order to lead a healthy life. 

 

  1. To move on:

Jim Carrey, a famous actor, has acknowledged that he had suffered from stress and depression. He describes how he felt it was necessary to get out of bed every day and say that life is good. Though it was difficult for him at times, he did this. So it’s imperative to sort things out and move on. Eating healthy was one of his tools to battle stress.

 

  1. To strengthen relationships:

It takes no time for relationships to collapse under stress. Building or re-building trust and bridging the communication gap are the right things to do. If you value your relationships and want them to survive the storm, opt for suitable stress management techniques. 

 

  1. To enhance performance:

Stress at work has become common in today’s fast-paced world. Workplace stress hampers one’s ability to perform well and succeed. 

Workplace stress may lead to emotional burnout, low self-esteem, or a feeling of worthlessness. It can also impact your career growth. Hence, believe in the importance of stress management in an organization and take necessary steps to reduce stress. Don’t be stressed about things that are beyond your control. 

 

  1. To improve communication:

Once you start handling stress, everything falls in place. Stress management starts untangling your problems. Your communication process improves. You open up more and try to express your feelings. Misunderstandings are cleared. 

“The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind,” said philosopher William James. 

Final thoughts

 

In the current global pandemic situation and economic slowdowns, stress is becoming a major issue. Stress management is the need of the hour, and this process can be enhanced if you find a purpose and set goals for yourself.

Harappa’s Discovering Purpose course teaches you how to find purpose in your life in whatever you do. It teaches you the concept of Ikigai, the Japanese word for a reason to live. It is a concept for understanding what makes your life meaningful. The course is designed to empower you to be your best possible self and make most of the opportunities that come your way.


Explore our Harappa Diaries section to know more about topics related to the Lead habit such as anger management, the importance of emotional intelligence, and the characteristics of a leader.

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