Haven’t you felt many a time overwhelmed with stress? A feeling of constant pressure, raised heartbeat and concern about the future? From children to adults, from poor to rich, everyone experiences high stress. The recent pandemic and subsequent lockdown that confined us to our homes have made the situation worse.

Many things in our day-to-day lives make us stressed. Our job, relations, expenses, politics and social media always have something in store to disturb our peace. We are forced to deal with it even after our best efforts to avoid it. The result: we are constantly under pressure.

Indeed, stress is the single most important problem people face today.

The best of times

But we cannot blame our external circumstances alone. When we compare the statistics, it is clear that we are living in the best of times. Steven Pinker, in his famous book Enlightenment Now, discusses this idea in detail. With the help of comprehensive data, he proves that the crime rate, mortality rate and political instability are at an all-time low.

If we discount COVID-19, which is a glitch in the matrix, it is safe to say that we are not living in a life-threatening condition like our ancestors. They faced malnutrition, famine, world wars and whatnot. Compared to them, we are quite safe and secure.

Nevertheless, we are more stressed than our forefathers; Steven Pinker points out. This has resulted in increasing psychological diseases. Hence, if we wish to improve on something, it is the point that we should focus on.

Understanding Stress

There is no need to explain what stress is. We all have suffered in its suffocating grasp. However, it is imperative to know the scientific facts behind stress to deal with it effectively.  Stress is the primitive reaction of the body towards a threat. This fight or flight response helped our ancestors to survive. Whenever there is a trigger, named a stressor, the stress prepared the body to respond to it effectively.

But today, even though we rarely face life-threatening situations, we have several stressors that evoke the same response. The problem is that instead of helping us cope with the challenge, it mars our performance.

Unlike in the wild, we are now constantly under stress. The life challenges sets off the response one after the other. Prolonged stress can cause hypertension, heart diseases, and even affect the psychological wellbeing of a person.

Dealing with stress

Because of its mental, physical and psychological ill effects, it is necessary to deal with stress. Mitigating it is crucial to the overall success. But how can you deal with something that eats you from the inside? There are many effective techniques for this. These are some that I found helpful.

Manage time effectively – Poor time management can put us under a lot of pressure. Many things crave our time every day. If we do not allocate enough hours, they will pile up and compound the problems. Regular work can make us at once more efficient and relaxed.

See the bigger picture– If we can perceive the stressor from a bigger perspective, we may feel relaxed. Many problems that stress us out are irrelevant in the long run. So when you are stressed, think of what you will construe of the present situation in a year.

“When I look back on all these worries, I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which had never happened”

Winston Churchil

Have a good routine – Schedule time for everything. You should have time to work, time for entertainment, exercise and learning. Spend time every day doing something that you enjoy. Do regular physical activity. Also, try to learn something new or do something creatively.

Take it as it is – Inability to accept life situations is a major factor contributing to stress. We have to live with the fact that we cannot control many things that happen to us. So be ready to welcome the unexpected without trying to control it. This will give you some comfort.

“Our anxiety does not come from thinking about the future, but from wanting to control it” 

Kahlil Gibran

Be unattached –  We are guilty of taking life too seriously. Many things do not deserve so much emotional attachment. Try to see the brighter side. Learn to laugh at our own mistakes and enjoy life with all its imperfections.

“Resistance creates suffering. Stress happens when your mind resists what is. The only problem in your life is your mind’s resistance to life as it unfolds”

Dan Millman

Importance of dealing with stress

When we claim that the modern era is better, we have to see its negatives too. The negative, as you have guessed, is undoubtedly modern-day stress. For all the security and facilities that scientific advancement has given us, we have to have a free mind to enjoy it.

Thinking this way, it is clear that someone who can handle stress effectively is the happiest person. If we can prevent stress from affecting us, we can enjoy life to the fullest.

Let us be calm in the face of the storms that lash our lives. Then, and then only, we can live it to the fullest.

Thank you for reading. Please post your views on the topic in the comment box below.

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