" It's not the load that breaks you down, it's the way you carry it. " ~ Lou Holtz
"Stress"; A common word, is it not? At least for a majority of teenagers and the workforce, in my opinion. We usually hear people saying "Oh my gosh I'm so stressed about the upcoming math test!" or "These stressful never-ending bills to pay are the reason for my grey hair!" I can guarantee you that 98% of such people don't know the gravity of using the word "stress" in their conversations. This begs the question, what exactly is stress?
According to WebMD, stress is the body's physical, mental or emotional reaction to pressure from a certain situation or event, which means that not everyone suffers from stress, right? If you believe that, I'm sorry to break it to you, but you're mistaken, because consciously or unconsciously, stress is in everybody, deeply buried. It's only the way we react to situations that it makes its way to the surface and comes out in the form of anger, depression or anxiety.
Let's break it down a bit.
Ever heard of the hormone Cortisol? Well, it's generally known as the 'stress hormone'. When the body is confronted by a fight-or-flight situation, it responds by releasing cortisol from the adrenal glands, thus preparing you to either escape the situation or stay and deal with it. This may sound ignorable, but as it has been said, everything has a purpose, which is especially true for each function and mechanism of the human body.
High cortisol levels usually indicate that the person is suffering largely from stress or other medical issues affecting primarily the adrenal or pituitary gland. Since you obviously won't in your normal routine know if something is wrong with your adrenal or pituitary gland, there must be something going on in your life that makes you feel sad or angry or not in control of yourself.
This may seem cliché but some common things are "stressful" for teens; for example, the constant need to have a "social life", the nerve-racking time of college admissions; the fear of what comes after high school, or what if I mess up in college and ruin my future? etcetera, etcetera. For adults, any financial obligations or personal relationships or health-related problems prove to be the cause of stress every waking hour of their lives. People just have so much on their plate nowadays that, surprisingly, it's hard for them to decide what even the actual cause of their stress is! Unbelievable right?
I must warn you not to underestimate stress. Today's world thrives on perfection and competition, which leads to either a boost of confidence or a lifetime dose of self-doubt. Know that stress has long-lasting effects on the body, including but not limited to increased heart rate and blood pressure, unexpected weight gain, depression, anxiety, irritability, shortage of breath, aches and pains in the body. One must learn to stay calm in stressful situations and let go of things or people or situations that are not required in one's life. Even smartwatches nowadays come with a meditation and relaxation feature! Let go of what was, accept what is, and have faith in what will be!
My advice? Just breathe and let it go. He who continues a task that is taxing for him is his own worst enemy. Read a book, connect with your friends and family, go for a run or workout, listen to music, eat your comfort food, travel somewhere, talk to someone who you think can help you or understand you, or do whatever pleases you! There is no limit to what you can do! There is so much more to life than just stressing about things, especially those which are beyond your control. And even if you can control them, what's the point of having stress then? Today's generation, in my opinion, needs to carefully re-evaluate their lives and focus on things that matter instead of living under stress or burden. I could write a whole other article on the topic of stress management alone, but you'll be sick of me at one point, and I do not want that! So, your turn now!
What are your thoughts on this social issue? Let me know in the comments below!
Wash the weight of the world from your shoulders, and breathe...