Stress in today’s world has become an omnipresent phenomenon in every one’s lives. The degree of stress may vary. It is important to manage stress to ensure the well-being of an individual. In this context it is important to understand some basics about stress and stress management.
Stress is the “psychological, physiological and behavioural response by an individual when they perceive a lack of equilibrium between the demands placed upon them and their ability to meet those demands, which, over a period of time, leads to ill-health” (Palmer, 1989).
Stress is a process, not a diagnosis. When the term 'stress' is used in a clinical sense, it refers to a situation that causes discomfort and distress to a person and can lead to mental health problems, such as anxiety and depression. Stress may also contribute to various physical illnesses such as cardiovascular disease.
Stress builds up in an individual over time. Hence it is important for every individual to identify the conditions that stress is building up. It is also important to understand the reasons and type of stress. And manage stress effectively before it causes much damage to the individual.
An individual can start feeling stressed because of various reasons. The reasons can be broadly classified in two categories such as personal and professional. Various personal reasons may include chronic health conditions, unpleasant family matters and married life, loss of close family members, unmanageable financial obligations, overburdened with family responsibilities, inability to give enough time to family and children etc. Some of the professional reasons may include and not limited to, unpleasant work/office environment, too much of work pressure, loss of job, unsupportive senior management, lack of recognition and reward of hard work, lack of professional growth, lack of work-life balance etc.
Whatever be the reason of stress, it starts building and starts taking huge toll on one’s physical as well as mental health. It can exhaust a person leading to complete breakdown.
Awareness of stress and causes of stress is most important for an individual in trying to manage stress. An individual needs to recognize the signs of stress and reasons of the same. At an individual level, one needs to develop a self-care attitude and an overall positive attitude. Becoming more positive is key to effectively manage stress. Keeping company with positive people, seeking help for managing stress from more matured people should be done. Regular physical exercise, playing games, meditation and yoga helps a lot in managing and reducing stress. Reading good books provides very different ways of looking at situations in life. Managing one’s financial obligations well and managing one’s time well are also critical to effective stress management. Prioritizing various aspects of one’s life such as family, friends, finance, work and personal things, with clarity and conviction goes a long way in reducing stress.
The organizations and employers also need to recognize this phenomenon and do their bit to help their employees manage stress effectively. Organizations can provide better work-life balance, mandatory holidays, reward and recognition for their employees, special policies for woman employees such as maternity leave, crèches in office, providing relaxing and conducive office atmosphere etc.
Stress has become an inevitable part of modern life. While stress is mostly negative, but some amount of stress can keep people alert and motivated as well. Right amount of stress can be used to get the best out of an individual also. However stress needs to be managed well for maintaining the well-being before it damages an individual.
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