Mental and Physical Stress
By Bill Reddie
All people experience stress and anxiety in one form or another. Sometimes it can be helpful but if allowed to become chronic, it produces a physically debilitating, unhealthy and destructive mind-set that actually increases stress levels and lowers immune system efficiency.
Generally speaking, helpful stress is similar to a wakeup call that motivates one to (a) do something that needs to be done or (b) accomplish something that is beneficial and constructive. It is goal-oriented and usually contains a promise of material reward or personal attainment.
Another source of stress is that created as result of unfortunate natural events such as floods, quakes, hurricanes, and like.
However, in today's fast moving and competitive world most commonly mentioned stressful situations are usually those created as result of day-to-day human interaction.
Since all humans are conditioned since birth by familial, social, religious and other forces, human interaction takes place within confines of that conditioning. Because of this, resolution or prolongation of stressful, anxiety filled situations will, more often than not, depend upon how we respond.
Some people become a bit uneasy when told that their stress problems are basically a mental condition. To them, that diagnosis suggests they are flirting with looney bin and in some manner, displaying deficiency and lack of control.
In their view, stress is something created by someone or something outside of themselves such as a boss, co-worker, dead-end job, traffic, competition, not enough time or money, a dysfunctional family, marital issues, et al. In some cases this viewpoint may be true.
But as saying goes, "it takes two to tango" which is a rather old-fashioned but still valid way of saying that when stress begins to negatively affect our health and manner in which we function, we need to take a good hard look at our own participation in what is happening around us.
Granted, we all live in an over-stimulated, stressful world and in midst of all that, it's often difficult to maintain a sense of equilibrium. Why?
Well, much of time, our own perspective gets in way of corrective action. When trouble brews, we tend to stoke fires rather than put them out by allowing our emotions to inflame issues and influence how we think and act. In other words, we allow ourselves to react in a manner that actually produces more stress rather than minimizing it.
Don't think so? Here's a hypothetical example:
Bob works for a company that is going through some corporate downsizing and he has just discovered that a co-worker has been spreading rumors about him that are intended to discredit him in eyes of management.
He doesn't want to appeal to management for support because most likely, they will not be pleased with being dragged into what would appear to be a petty employee situation.
He decides to ignore problem hoping it will go away but soon, word gets back to him that co-worker is now informing others that Bob is unhappy in his present job and will soon be leaving his current employer for a better position with a competing company. Bob becomes increasingly alarmed and emotional over unfairness of it all.
Added to that, his anxiety has led him to imagine that co-worker and a member of management have become a bit chummy of late. That convinces him that management is now actually observing every move he makes and his job must surely be in jeopardy.