Before we try to understand how to manage stress, let us look at a very “sneaky” aspect of stress that is often neglected.
The worst thing about stress is that most of the people affected by it do not know that is it one of their biggest problems! Most people affected by stress do not even know that stress exists and the kind of damage that stress can do. Stress has a funny way of making itself look like it is something else, not stress. This is probably not clear, but I shall explain further.
We generally tend to think that a physical problem has physical causes. Like we may tend to think that a weak stomach or loose motions was caused by drinking water that was contaminated or food that was spoiled. It becomes hard to believe that a physical problem may be caused due to “over-working”.
When we are sick and have ulcers, or a weak stomach or a headache we try to look for a physical cause for these illnesses. We may pinpoint the cause as “something we ate the other night”. We never pinpoint the cause as working intensively the whole of last month.
However, the truth is that working intensively without taking a break under unrealistic deadlines can indeed cause ulcers, headaches, weak stomachs and much much more! This is stress! This is why stress is such a big problem! Because no one sees it!
To better appreciate the true nature of stress, take a look at question & answer below. It was asked in a popular health magazine and represents the confused state of most people.
Question: I'm always hearing people talking about stress and how bad it is for you, but I don't really know what it is and if I'm affected by it. I have on occasional headache and some muscle tension sometimes, but I just thought it was a part of getting older. I'm 45. How can you tell if you really are a victim of stress?
Answer: Based on your description of headaches and muscle tension, you could very well be experiencing the effects of stress. Your headaches and tension could be the result of stress, but you should check with your doctor to be sure. In the meantime, there are various other indicators that someone could be suffering from stress, including rapid heartbeat, stiff neck and/or tight shoulders, rapid breathing, backache, nausea, sweating and sweaty palms. Stress also can cause frustration, irritation, and some people may become irritable and intolerant of even minor disturbances in their lives.
The truth is that there are more and more people suffering from stress now-a-days. Most people do not even know this. Every time they get sick, they go to a store and buy medicines. They never work on the real problem. The real problem for most people is stress!
The average thinking is like: "Stressed? Me? No ... well maybe I don't sleep as well as I used to, I do drink a bit more than I should, the kids do say I'm always shouting, the wife and I don't talk any more, I have constant back ache and the doctor says my blood pressure's up.... but no, I'm not stressed.”
It may seem obvious reading this that these are symptoms of stress but when we are living them, we usually cannot see it, we are simply trying to live with it!
Having understood that stress is a silent killer that does not show itself, let us try to understand stress better. How does stress do all that it does? How come stress can make you sick without any reason whatsoever?
Understanding stress will give us the insight into really managing stress.
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