Overcoming Obstacles faced with Stress

Overcoming Obstacles faced with Stress
Ashita G. ('22)

Many people experience stress as a result of work demands, sleep deprivation, and social/academic pressure. According to the Medline Medicine Encyclopedia, stress is defined as the ‘feeling of physical and emotional tension’. 


All people, regardless of age, experience stressful situations and this can often take a toll on one’s daily mindset and self-esteem, followed by pessimistic thinking. Not only does stress affect one’s mental health, it can also lead to physical symptoms, ranging from high blood pressure to cardiovascular diseases. However, stress is an inevitable part of human nature; it is simply a feeling we acquire due to the obstacles and pressure we receive in the present moment. Nonetheless, we can control how we manage our stress and how we respond to it in our daily lives. 


The American Institute of Stress reported that on average, 55% of Americans feel stressed during the day, compared to the global percentage of 35%. It may seem of trivial value, but this simply translates to approximately 180 million US residents. Stress affects everyone of all ages, from teenagers through to the elderly, in various forms: acute, episodic acute, and chronic stress. 

Acute stress is the feeling people have when faced with challenges but the symptoms of headaches and energy loss are not long-term, as they are resolved after we overcome the obstacles. One example is the result of having an argument with a loved one or studying for an exam the next day. 

Episodic acute stress usually occurs with those who frequently experience stress, and are struggling with organization and managing commitments, or deadlines. This type of stress evokes symptoms of anxiety, and if frequent, can lead to symptoms of heart diseases. 

Chronic stress, the most severe case out of the three, is the result of traumatizing occurrences and ongoing symptoms of depression, anxiety, leading to strokes and heart diseases. Cases, where they are unable to find resolutions, are increasingly growing in numbers. The 3 types of stress, with different underlying symptoms, are seen in children as well, where ‘childhood has become a period of resume-building’, Dr. Peter Gray, a psychology researcher said in an interview with Insider. 


Despite the increases in stress levels, there are numerous ways to engage in activities that would allow people to pursue tasks with a more tranquil state of mind; even the slightest decrease in stress can relieve one’s tension. Ultimately, everyone’s preference for ‘stress-relieving activities varies, depending on how effective or promising it is. Some of these activities require taking time for ourselves, talking to friends/family, embarking on a relaxing yoga experience, and keeping a weekly/daily to-do list for organization. Some may argue that this could distract them from completing an important assignment, however, the efficient use of time enforces productivity, which is why a stressed mindset can be harmful. This is primarily why it is necessary to make time for stress-coping activities each day. 


Living in the 21st century, we are constantly exposed to electronics and technology, which can restrain us from having personal connections with our loved ones and spending time outside in nature. High school students are also often concerned about being accepted into a prestigious university and are pressured to aim for academic achievements, which can disconnect us from our values, feelings, and environment, as a whole.

Therefore, something as scheduling time to eat dinner with our family will allow us to connect and communicate with our loved ones while discussing our days and future events to come. Simply talking about the new movie that came out in the cinemas can help us relax and de-stress, even if it is just for 30 minutes. We have the tendencies to neglect our family and friends when our needs become increasingly complicated and it becomes harder to keep track of others’ schedules. Focusing solely on what we have to do in order to balance finance, school, and work, instead, isolates us from the important relations we maintain in life and ignores our desires to be happy. Thus, we have to ask ourselves where our happiness comes from and how we should set time for our pleasures. Spending time in nature, by ourselves or with a friend, will let us take a moment to pause and think logically with a calmer mindset. It also sets us free from our worries, eases the tension, and lets us enjoy the scenery and play around even just for a little bit. 


Nonetheless, we ponder the consequences that arise from stressing too much or even too little. Not stressing at all about projects to come and forgetting our needs, is equally bad to feeling constant stress, where we neglect the important things that spark happiness. Thus, we must allow time for daily recovery but not exceed our time limits where it may lead to procrastination; this should be the first step to restore balance in our daily lives. 


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