Experts argue that while stress is a common issue in many people, it needs to be managed as it can have serious effects to the body. In this article, PAIDA MPASO learns from experts.
Doctors argue that stress is the body’s reaction to any change that requires an adjustment or response. They say the body reacts to these changes with physical, mental and emotional responses; hence, stress is a normal part of life.
Psychologist Chiwoza Bandawe says most events that happen to and around you put stress on your body. He argues that you can experience stress from your environment, body and thoughts; as the human body is designed to experience stress and react to it.
“One of the things that cause unnecessary stress is the refusal to accept the situation one is in. Most people get angry or upset with the situation they find themselves in. This is an immense waste of energy. No amount of emotional discharge is going to change it. It is like being upset that it is raining. When it rains, it rains.
“Life continues, whether you are in denial or not. It is when you first accept the situation you are in, that you can begin to do something about it. Once you have accepted it is raining, and then you can put on a raincoat or stay under a shelter,” he says.
An article on stress, published on www.helpguide.org, says the most dangerous thing about stress is how easily it can creep up on you. The article says you get used to it; it starts to feel familiar or normal and you don’t notice how much it’s affecting you.
It further says stress affects the mind, body and behaviour; adding that a negative stress reaction can lead to physical symptoms including headaches, upset stomach, elevated blood pressure, chest pain and sleeping problems.
Bandawe says, the first step in dealing with stress is to take personal responsibility in improving your personal life.
“It is important to identify factors that can cause stress and avoid or manage them. This means that you have to improve on personal planning and personal organisational skills. For instance, the day you find yourself with a lot of work that you can hardly cope with, you need to immediately take a bold decision to prioritise what is important,” he says.
Furthermore, Bandawe says Identifying and avoiding the things that can cause stress is another way of managing the problem.
“Organising your work better should be helpful. If you do this all the time, you will be able to deliver more and better output while living a stress-free life. Of course, this also means that you may help prevent stress in others as you will be an unlikely cause of stress in others. Learn good communication skills so that you can improve on how you relate with others at work and in all other activities that you are directly involved in,” he says.
An article on www.psychcentral.com says you should consider what you can control and work on that.
“While you can’t control what your boss does, what your in-laws say or the sour state of the economy, you can control how you react, how you accomplish work, how you spend your time and what you spend your money on.
“The worst thing for stress is trying to take control over uncontrollable things. Because when you inevitably fail — since it’s beyond your control — you only get more stressed out and feel helpless. So, after you’ve thought through what’s stressing you out, identify the stressors that you can control, and determine the best ways to take action,” reads the article in part.
The article gives an example of a work project whose scope is stressing you out. It advises that you talk it over with your supervisor or break the project down into step-wise tasks and deadlines.