The Toxity of Stress and the Freedom From it

Every morning we keep our head on the chopping block figuring out the “why” of things we are supposed to do.  In our attempt to scrutinize the lofty placement of things, we happily welcome STRESS in our lives. In no time, we are like a fugitive on a run, escaping the incandescent volcanic eruption. Stress bothers us because we give it underserved importance. Have you ever murmured hymns to awaken God and secure his benevolence? We follow the same trail to appease stress!

I am stressed!

The stress is eating me up!

I should avoid taking stress!

I don’t want to stress myself on trivial issues!

And the awakening continues. This estranged emotion pummels us in every sphere of our lives assuring that we are not devoid of it. Stress has become a concomitant companion in our unceasing ambitions, pre-conceived judgements, intransigent mind-set and non-negotiable validations about life. We all love our life and any impediment in the smooth functioning of it causes stress.  Stress erupts indiscriminately when encountered with change in the vicissitudes of life, complying with something uncalled for, tackling insecurities in personal life and when inundated with numerous responsibilities.  We try to hawk it away but its rests unapologetically on the tarmac of the brain ingratiating the nerve imprints for a “flight or fight” response. Believe it or not, stress is notorious enough to rail us into the black holes

You all must have experienced stressful situations making you grope in the dark. Let’s consider a situation where you have not complied with your professional commitment of completing your project on time. And, consequentially being reprimanded by your superior adds to the disavowing state of affairs. In the entire whirlwind of faltering and pulling up socks again, stress enters with aplomb debilitating the entire functioning of the body and spirit. You may go through invasive thoughts of being labelled as incompetent, irresponsible and casual in your professional circle. So, you live with this till you secure a stamp of being efficient with your next project. And living with this means living with stress, which is vehemently capable of churning the body into a dust of unhealthy particles.

So, how do we sift the chaff from the deleterious grains of stress? First, we have to stop feeling guilty about how our brain works. Our co-worker in the above situation may not be as stress-ridden as we are. The response to the stimulus may not trigger high-pitched cortisol manoeuvring inside the body as it would do for people easily beleaguered by stress. For example, the day of job interview would make certain people jittery causing muscle twitching, palpitations leading to sweating or infusing digestive problems etc. On the flip side, many would travel the road with comfortable boots.  Again, we need not be guilty about it or feel betrayed by our own brain mechanism. We need to accept how the Hypothalamus and Amygdala work, and how stress hormones peripatetically travel all over our body. 

Stress affects both the sexes. I personally feel more needs to be written on this topic so that we can be more compassionate to understand how stress adversely affects a man and a woman.  It’s usually an accepted fact that women bury their heads in stress more than men.  The same old story of women being subjugated by the patriarchal storm and carrying the burden of raising the kids alongside professional commitments blatantly adds to scorns and scratches.

Women go through extreme stress after pregnancy as raising a new-born is an enormous challenge. Taking care of someone based on your presumptions and motives is like a cascading waterfall freezing you from all angles. Extreme stress causes anxiety and panic attacks. So, here stress management plays an important role to carry out further duties efficiently and in tranquillity. Most of the women are able to cross the bridge with a formidable support system but many go through bouts of postpartum depression. Lingering stress and hormonal changes make a new mother fragile and awkward.

During parties and get-togethers, we dig up the dirt on stress and our harrowing rendezvous with it every day.  We often hear people with their Sisyphean oratory of physical and mental symptoms. We give a piteous call to our dilapidated stomach bellowing acidic regurgitations tampering with the structural digestion process. The heart slips out to devious beats throbbing arithmetically and severe aches and pains twitch the body to extreme displeasure. And, we don’t know how to put a stop to all this tarnishing. A lot of times, we are plagued with persistent acidity problems. If acidity is not due to an underlying organ issue, taking antacids will solve the problem briefly to come back with a vengeance. Aren’t we familiar with the Gut-Brain connection so pompously talked about nowadays? When we take stress, the body releases some hormones and chemicals which enter the digestive system. All this discordantly upsets the microorganisms in the digestive system, hampering the digestion process. Stress management therapies and a nutritional diet go hand in glove for a healthy mind and gut. 

As stress becomes despotic, it starts affecting other organs of the body like heart, lungs, and has a debilitating effect on the muscular strength of the body. If stress is not controlled at the nascent stage and gets patchy and unpalatable, it can become chronic giving rise to Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Panic Attacks, Depression and other disorders. All this conspicuously enfeebles the quality of life and compromises on the sustainability of the working metabolism of the body. Our body and mind are our reflectors and any sabotage to them affects our relationship, both personal and professional.

There are myriad options to relive the behavioural patterns gone wrong, but are brushed under the carpet due to an uncanny intolerance to mental illnesses. That’s another aspect to be dwelled on as to why people are dithered to abrogate the taboo surrounding brain drain. The techniques offered to manage stress are for a better living and people with chronic stress problem need to come out of the tunnel to experience the burgeoning light that awaits them. The therapies can do wonders in modulating your emotions and putting an end to the intrusive thoughts.

Living with stress prohibits the body to function normally and that is the last thing we would want –living like a parasite. To combat the Machiavellian stress, there are certain therapies and techniques like Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Psychodynamic Therapy, Behavioural Therapy, Group Therapy and Exposure Therapy. Some techniques like meditation, exercise, eating well etc. also help to regain what we have lost.  Booking an appointment with the right therapist is a kick-start to the entire process. The therapist would take the onus for finally deciding the right therapy for you considering your state of mind and how stress has impacted your perceptions and judgements.

Stress, in fact, is not a disease. It is an outcome of dishevelled and contorted thought process, which needs to be restored and reimagined. People with chronic stress need to chalk out a stress management plan for themselves in consultation with their respective therapist for a better living.

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