The human being is an emotional being. People experience all kinds of emotions ranging from happiness, sadness, depression, excitement, anger, anxiety and grief. Emotions play a crucial part in our lives, and their importance cannot be overlooked. Stress is one of such emotions. Everyone encounters stress at one point in life. However, how you react to stress is what matters. Different people respond differently to various stressors in life. It is mood disorder that affects a huge number of individuals worldwide. It is affiliated with persistent sadness and general loss of interest. A person suffering from stress is likely to be depressed, acts withdrawn, and unbothered by many things. They tend to avoid people and those who are brave enough resort to using other methods to ease themselves; some of which re extreme and dangerous. As much as it is classified as a mood disorder, stress affects every aspect of a person’s life. It alters their eating, sleeping and thinking patterns. Above all, stress changes the way somebody feels about himself/herself. There are many approaches to stress management.
The significant consequences of stress are direct psychological effects, harmful behaviors, and indirect health-related behaviors. Starting with the direct physical effects of stress, these are all the mechanisms that the body employs in response to stress. In the olden days, there was the fight or flight response that was a very useful technique in combating a perceived threat. However, the modern man would rather accumulate the stress and let it build up until they cannot anymore (Carlson, 2007). They believe in bottling up the stress, and this has detrimental effects on the body. There is an increase in heart rate as more blood is pumped to supply the energy required by various body parts. If this is not kept in check and continues for a while, the person risks high blood pressure which could be fatal. An example of a stressor I encountered that had a similar impact on me was a close shave at a car accident. I was driving home from a local bar one evening when the unexpected happened. High as a kite, I started driving in the opposite lane as mine was too congested. I went a few miles before a trailer came speeding and almost crushed me. Lucky for me, the sidewalk was free from pedestrians, and I swerved there for my safety. All this while my heart was pounding as if wanted to jump right out of my chest.
Secondly, stressed people end up in harmful behaviors to divert their minds from the current state of affairs. One way of doing this is by indulging in drugs. Alcohol is the most commonly abused drugs especially because it is legal and can be easily obtained. Alcohol belongs to a group of drug called depressants because it slows down essential body functions and reduces the person’s brain activity (Carlson, 2007). Under stress, people result into alcohol to avoid facing their problems. Being dumped by my high school sweetheart was perhaps the biggest heartbreak I ever experienced. I was so hurt mainly because I could not figure out a life without her and the thought of her with someone else was mind disturbing. I spent the better part of my days reminiscing, and though they say men don’t cry, I couldn’t hold back tears. It was then that I realized that alcohol numbed my pain and before I realized it had become a hobby. Finally, indirect-health related behaviors include depression. Feeling down now and then is healthy and depressed people are likely to confuse their condition with passing blue mood. However, the two are entirely different scenarios. So what are some of the signs and symptoms of depression? Symptoms of depression include:
- A persistent feeling of hopelessness- one is not capable of seeing the positive side of anything, and most of his/her thoughts revolve around negativity
- Losing interest in daily routine – your hobbies, pastimes, sex and what used to make you happy before stops mattering.
- Incapable of experiencing joy or pleasure.
- Significant loss of weight or gaining weight although this could be indicative of other diseases and conditions.
- Irregular sleep patterns characterized by insomnia
I encountered all these symptoms while trying to move on from my high school sweetheart.
If I were to win the Powerball lottery tomorrow, my living standards would improve a lot. Financial constraints would diminish entirely in my life. I will not have to stress about bills, and most of my material desires would come true. Current research says that money cannot buy happiness and that money is the root of all evil. However, in as much as this theory is correct, money makes life a lot easier and enjoyable. In fact, on the contrary, lack of money is the root of evil. Of course, stories have been told of happy beggars and crying millionaires, but these are just exceptional cases. Determined to establish what made people happy and kept them motivated throughout the course, Maslow came up with a system of set needs. According to Maslow hierarchy of requirements, real happiness comes from self-actualization. Self-actualization is a state achieved when a person is self-fulfilled (Frey, 2011). Self-actualization is the top of the hierarchy. In this stage, one has fully achieved their potential, and their desires have come to be. Happy people are therefore contented, less expectant, and at peace with the world around them (Frey, 2011).
Frey, B. (2011). Happy People Live Longer. Science, 331(6017), 542-543.