Culture of Stress
In biological terms, stress is nothing but a ‘stimulus’ from a reaction that in turn has mostly a negative or positive effect mentally and physically.
It disturbs the mental equilibrium and can seriously affect health. There are many forms of stress; some are helpful, and some are harmful. Because of our fast-paced lives in America, many believe that we have a culture of stress. Many equate stress with obesity and believe that it is a pandemic that will continue to affect more and more Americans each year. However, new studies are surfacing that paint a much different picture.
We must understand stress before we can attempt to resolve the problem. Stress is something that can creep up without any warning. Many of us do not even realize when it affects us or disturbs our mental equilibrium unless it is at a high level. Causes of stress can be broadly classified into work related stress, life-related stress and inherent stress. It is crucial that we are aware of what triggers our stress in order to help manage it.
Work-related stress: The stress that comes by means of our day to day work can be described as work stress. It can occur from long working hours, no interest in doing the work, or heavy work pressure, mismanagement, working under risky and dangerous conditions, harassment, etc.
Life-related stress: Chronic illness, loss of a loved one, financial strain and obligations, events that are traumatic, loss of job, divorce, etc.
Inherent stress: Fear, anxiety, depression, anger, obesity, change and uncertainty, etc.
The symptoms of stress vary from one person to another. Common and harmful symptoms are:
- Headache and fatigue
- Depression, anger, and sudden mood swings
- Chest pain, anxiety, and depression
- Fertility problems, sex drive changes
- Heart attacks, strokes, heart diseases, high blood pressure
- Abnormal gain or loss in weight
- Insomnia, reduction in concentration power and attentiveness,
Stress in Recent Studies
Recent studies show that stress levels are actually lower than in previous years. Dr. Mercola reports, “On a 10-point scale, with 1 being “little or no stress” and 10 being “a great deal of stress,” the average stress level was 4.9 in 2014, compared to over 6 in 2007. That being said, many are still reporting high levels of stress, especially when it comes to one major factor: money.” So even though our general stress levels are lower than before, money remains a primary concern. In a 2015 study, 72% of Americans report feeling stressed about money in the past month. 22% experienced extreme stress about money (an 8, 9, or 10 on the stress scale).
There are various remedies for stress relief. Before you resort to taking medications with harmful side effects to treat depression and anxiety caused by stress, try a more natural approach. Some can be as simple as picking up a new hobby, listening to relaxing music, laughing more-as laughter releases endorphins which reduce stress to some extent. Procuring better sleep schedules, learning breathing techniques and staying positive even in the face of negative outcomes reduces stress levels. Eating better foods in better portions and exercising regularly also seem to help manage stress.
There are stress management programs available to those who feel that they may need a stronger approach to battling stress. Meditation is one of the best stress relieving activities. Research has shown that it can help re-wire the brain to help achieve a more balanced outlook on life. There are many studies available on this topic, and it is definitely something worth looking into. It releases anxiety quickly and helps increases mental strength. Although stress is lower than it has been in previous years, it is still significantly higher than it should be more optimal health.