Stress is probably one of the most widely used words these days with every person experiencing at least some amount of stress in daily life. It has become a part of our life which cannot be avoidable and yet, we cannot seem to function with it constantly looming around us. As if we already weren’t living in stressful situations and adding to it is the even more frustrating situation of the pandemic. It makes it even more difficult for an individual to understand stress & to handle stress.
Concept of Stress
According to the GAS concept of psychology, there are three levels of stress that an individual goes through before the water tides over the head. The first one is the alarm level which is when we perceive a situation as stressful. Our body then initiates the fight or flight (the instinct to either fight or escape from the situation) response to it. The next stage is the resistance or adaptation to the stress. In this stage, an individual tries to cope up with the stress. Then he/she tries to find out the different ways to deal with it. When the stress goes beyond our handling capacity then it reaches to a level known as exhaustion. It occurs when a person feels that he/she can no longer handle the stress. This is the final stage where an individual exhausts all the energy and feels depleted.
To better understand stress how it works, let’s take the example of Tina who is a student in her final year. She has a lot of assignments and deadlines to meet and all these situations are stressing her. Now she either fights the stress by doing the assignments or flights by avoiding it. She tries to get used to it by trying to deal with the stress and living with her stressors but soon finds out that she cannot. As the deadlines comes near, pressure starts building up and Tina is unable to handle the stress anymore. Then she would experience exhaustion. To put it simply she would burn herself out. She would finally reach a situation where she will self-doubt and start to question her capacity.
Have you ever been through such situations in your life?
Are you experiencing something like this right now?
Acknowledge your stress
Chances are that you have. The first step in dealing with stressful situations is to acknowledge its presence in your life. You have to acknowledge whether a certain situation can turn stressful or not. We tend to over-estimate or under estimate situations and when the reality hits then we feel overwhelmed and fill ourselves with all the stress.
Although stress can be both positive and negative it mostly has a negative connotation. Any situation which causes stress for a long time and goes beyond an individual’s coping capacity is harmful.
Stress can not only impact your day-to-day life but it can also harm your health. Various studies have shown that stress negatively impacts the health of an individual and can be linked with several lifestyle diseases such as heart ailments, high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes.
When you acknowledge the reason for your stress and its ill effects on your mind and body then you can focus on how to deal with your stress.
The next article will focus on tips and techniques to deal with stress.