Sunday, February 19, 2006

Stress! How Do We Cope With It?

Stress! How Do We Cope With It?
Stress is part of life. Or we can also say that life is stress. Yes these two come hand in hand. Why because life could never exist with out stress and stress cannot exist with out life. We experience stress on a day-to-day basis. We experience stress at home, at school, and even in our love life! But stress does not just happen when we feel on the edge or when we are on the verge of exploding! Stress also accompanies us during our good experiences like your first kiss, getting an A in Chemistry, or even when you get to finish a very brain-drilling project. So this is how we sort of understand stress. But what is stress really and how do we cope with it?
Stress, which we all know is the opposite of relaxation, is a medical term for the "wear and tear" our bodies experience as we adjust to our continually changing environment. Our stress can be classified into two types according to its causes and effects. Eustress, or the positive stress, is essential to life because this kind of stress empowers us to be more productive and it also results in a new awareness and an exciting new perspective. Eustress is the product of extreme happiness. Distress, or the negative stress, on the other hand can result in disease. The longer a person is subjected to distress, the person may be overstressed and the person will experience feelings of distrust, rejection, anger, and depression, which in turn can lead to severe health problems such as headaches, upset stomach, rashes, insomnia, ulcers, high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. There are many temporary relieves for stress, or pick-me-ups, such as sugar, alcohol, caffeine, solvents, drugs, tobacco, and even our own adrenaline. It is not advisable to combat our depression with these pick-me-ups because they are only temporary and they will lead to addiction and dependence to these items. It is more advisable to cope up stress by proper stress management. There are six simple ways to do this. The first way is to identify your stressors, or the factors that cause stress. If you have identified your stressors, the second step would be to recognize what you can change. For example, we AHSE students have 31 units this semester and this is our stressor. To reduce the effect of the stress caused by this since we cannot drop subjects, we can devote part of our time to give attention to each subject and give ourselves breaks. The third way to reduce stress is to reduce the intensity of your emotional reactions to stress. Always think positive and do not linger with the “what ifs and should haves”. Fourth is to learn to moderate your physical reactions to stress. We should learn relaxation techniques like deep breathing. Fifth is to build your physical reserves. We should always stay physically healthy by exercising regularly, eating right, and sleeping right. Lastly, we should maintain our emotional reserves. We can do this by developing a support group.
Coping with stress is not a hard task. All we need is the will to throw away our troubles and just be happy. As the very popular saying would go, it’s a mind over matter thing. We can never get rid of our stressors so we might as well live with it creatively. If you still can’t cope it’s advisable to seek professional help.

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