Stress does funny things to a person. A person’s health and emotional well-being. To relationships. Sure, a little stress is good – motivating even. It can be a needed kick in the pants to help us re-focus and rise to the occasion. But too much stress … it throws that delicate balance out of sync – and the results can be disastrous.
Run a Google search on “stress” and the first site that jumps up on the screen makes the bold statement of “Don’t let stress hijack your life”. A profound statement in itself, because stress really and truly can “hijack” a person’s life.
While it remains to be said that stress comes in all shapes and forms, stressors affect each and every person in a different way. What’s stressful to me may not be that stressful to you. Yet, whatever those stressors may be, stress overload can result in a variety of health conditions. For instance, high blood pressure, migraines, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and asthma, amongst other conditions. Emotionally, things get more complex. Now we’re talking about insomnia, loss of libido, difficulty relaxing, low self-esteem and depression, agitation, moodiness and frustration. Such symptoms can also lead to a cache 22 scenario, for example, suffering from insomnia because due to stress will mean a person is less likely to be able to handle stressful situations because of being sleep deprived. And round and round we go.
And then there’s the ultimate cog in the wheel, the negative impact stress can have on relationships. Some people will emerge as moody, easily agitated and short-tempered ogres, snapping at loved ones and being so impatient and intolerant that unintentionally loved ones are pushed away – or perhaps sent running for the hills in search of cover. In short, the home may invariably become a war zone of disharmony and discontent which only worsens the situation.
I know that we can’t always control what will cause us stress. Yet surely we can find ways to maximise what we actually can control? Seizing power over the foothold stress has in our lives means learning to recognise its symptoms and finding out how to handle it. I found the World of Psychology’s “10 Practical Ways to Handle Stress” very helpful.
The great thing about the Internet is that, thanks to the myriad of websites and blogs dedicated to the topic, the information to help us cope is at our figure tips. Applying it in our own lives is, of course, the real challenge – but not necessarily a battle that cannot be won.