Please let me apologize for my absence in the last month. Hmmmm, it was a hectic time with a lot of stress; work load, broken down car, ….. Let’s just say that it was a “November to Remember”.
You remember that the last series was on Stroke. On the last day (October 31st) I promised to discuss Stress management; as part of Stroke prevention. This topic is pertinent with all the happenings in recent times in Nigeria and the world in general. The Nigerian economic recession has put a lot of financial burden on most families. Superimposed on the economic hardship are issues with security, ill health and all. Many of us are almost losing control; some are coping in all the wrong ways.
In view of this, we will discuss STRESS MANAGEMENT this week.
You are Welcome
Stress is a common everyday word and concept. I am under a lot of stress…. I don’t want any stress… ETC
What is Stress?
Stress is actually a psychological process that is set off by certain events which threaten or harm us as human beings. It results when the circumstances exceed available coping resources It is characterized by psychological responses that are directed towards adaptation Results from physical or/and mental ‘positive or negative pressure’ to overwhelm adaptive capacities.
One of my favourite quotes is by Donald Tubesing. He said “”Stress is like spice – in the right proportion, it enhances the flavor of a dish. Too little produces a bland, dull meal; Too much may choke you.
This gives us the knowledge and understanding that stress is part and parcel of life. There is a level of stress that makes for ‘Normal Life’; everybody needs and actually goes through this type of stress.
Normal stress response
The body responds to stress by releasing certain hormones. The most important of these is Cortisol: also called the stress hormone. These hormones equip you to ‘fight or flee’.
In this scenario, the stress hormones speed through the body causing breathlessness, pounding of the heart leading to increased speed and strength. In addition, the concentration becomes focused, reaction time is quicker. There is also marked reduction of pain. Such a person is primed to ward off or flee from an impending threat. Those fleeing from threatening situations keep running even with severe injuries and only stop when they are safe from the harm.
Magnificent feats are achieved when the stress response is activated. Some of will remember the story of the Malian illegal immigrant who scaled a building from the ground to save a child on the fifth floor in France last year. That degree of strength, speed and agility was because of the ‘Stress Response’. In fact, women have been known to single handedly push off a loaded bus about to crush their baby. A young child may actually carry an ailing parent away from serious harm like a burning house. Such persons will usually say’ I don’t know where the strength came from…… This is because they had an unusual power; not commensurate with their age, size and usual strength.
When the stressful situation ends, the hormonal signals switch off the stress response and the body returns to normal. The enormous strength goes down and the person feels sapped. The person also begins to feel the pains and note the injuries.
This is the normal stress response.
Thanks for reading