Everyone talks of being stressed at some point or another. “I am stressed”, “this job is stressing me”, “these people really know how to stress me out”; are just some of the screams often heard on a daily basis, followed by a shaking of the head, a pounding on the desk, a sigh or even a hiss.
But what exactly is stress? Is it something bad or something good or is it both? Can it be controlled by the mind or is it something that automatically occurs and cannot be switched off?
Interestingly, the American Institute for Stress has the point of view that stress is not a useful term for scientists because it is such a highly subjective phenomenon that defies definition. They made reference that the term “stress” was coined by Hans Selye in 1936, who defined it as “the non-specific response of the body to any demand for change”. According to the Pocket Oxford Dictionary: Stress is a physical or mental strain; distress caused by this, and ehealthMD.com says stress is the emotional and physical way in which we respond to pressure.
I believe stress is a feeling caused by an overwhelming demand on the mind, and stress of the mind then leads to manifestations in the body. Indeed it is quite subjective, as what might be stress to me is simply not to you and visa versa.
Many persons view stress as a bad thing, and when you think about it, why wouldn’t they? Stress may be a trigger behind many illnesses; stomach ulcers, heart attacks, stroke and even depression. Also, due this overwhelming feeling of not being able to cope or manage whatever task at hand, your behavior at work or in the home might change. You may become rude and snappy, anxious, disorganized or look worn out and tired all the time. You might sometimes ignore your family and friends and often times seek a relief by resorting to unhealthy habits, like, smoking and or drug and alcohol abuse. Doing this only makes the problem worse. So from that point of view stress is seen as something bad.
However, sometimes a little stress can be good. In my opinion, whenever we take things too slightly, we do not give it the attention it deserves. When persons find certain situations stressful, they try their utmost best to do things differently next time to eliminate the stress they felt the first time, so it can be seen as something good in this case. It helps to improve work practice.
Can stress be switched off?
I think you can choose to be calm and control your emotions in demanding situations. Note though, that this comes over time with much practice. Applying recommended problem solving skills helps, and knowing when to delegate work in cases where a lot of work is to be done in little time is good, instead of tackling everything on your own. So, even though the work is on, the point of you being overwhelmed is not reached.
Stress will always be a topic that encourages many opinions, talking about it with your friends can be fun, as points of view will definitely vary.
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