Stress: Is It Really That Toxic?

Life. Well, life is full of hassles, deadlines, assignments, frustrations and demands. Everybody is stressed these days. Be it young aspiring minds, stressing over scoring well in their PSATs. Be it the mid-aged adults who are constantly under the fear of things not working out for them. Be it the elderly, who are stressed about what they are going to do after retirement, or more likely, their health. Therefore, I reiterate the fact that everybody is stressed. Another thing we must understand is well, we really cannot completely eradicate stress out of our lives. Stress is our mind’s way of coping up with overwhelming situations, be it a positive one or a negative one. I personally think that stress is a nosy friend, who keeps interfering in your life even though you do not want it to. 

When I think about whether or not stress is toxic for us, I can easily see both sides of the argument. Some say that little or no stress can make our lives monotonous, mundane and unadventurous, while some say that too much stress can exacerbate severe mental health issues. With respect to being stressed, I think it is all about finding an equilibrium between too little and too much. Some amount of stress is genuinely beneficial for us. It is something that can motivate us to work tirelessly and move one step closer towards our goal. While too much of it can engender serious mental disorders such as depression, anxiety and personality disorders. 

Some stress can noticeably improve cognitive functions and it also toughens you up. Firstly, unless you are at an amusement park and about to ride a roller coaster, you may not necessarily enjoy the panic you sometimes feel in the pit of your stomach. However, if this feeling arises as a response to moderated stress, it has high chances of boosting your brain performance and it can gradually reduce nervousness and hesitation in challenging situations. 

The downside is that too much of stress is hazardous for us. We may not even know what a huge impact stress can have on us, mentally, physically and emotionally. So, if we cannot completely eliminate it, how do we manage stress? How do we not let it have a significantly negative impact on our life? How do we stop it from manifesting into a disorder? How do we find the perfect solution to this never-ending issue? The answer to this question is endless. There are a plethora of ways to handle stress, the right way, and we must be cautiously optimistic towards them. 

The first method, which I think we all are extremely well aware of, yet fail to implement is- Yoga and Meditation. As a matter of fact, yoga has proven to be extremely beneficial to our frazzled minds.  Yoga has been a great medical help treating a variety of health issues, particularly stress-related illnesses and concerns, and has shown a rather promising efficacy. It has been statistically proven that yoga, along with meditation, motivates many to perform better, improves their sleep quality and immensely reduce stress levels. It has been scientifically proven that depression levels decrease by 50% by practicing Yoga consistently for only 3-4 months. This is pretty much perfect for people who do not respond well to conventional depression treatments and antidepressant medications.  I am sure that we all can spare a total of 20 minutes of our day for yoga, 15 minutes for physical yoga, and a bare minimum 5 minutes for mental well-being. Yoga helps with stress relief, flexibility, is likely to reduce inflammation and can also reduce anxiety.  

Secondly, this factor is extremely salient- finding a hobby. Finding a hobby will greatly help in reducing stress because you will invest time in that rather than mulling and stressing over things. Hobbies are something personal to everyone. You never know when the thing you are passionate about may knock on your door. The only thing one has to keep in mind about is to never in a million years let go of that hobby. I too found my hobby, which is now like therapy for me. I am extremely passionate about food. I have personally experienced how relaxing and therapeutic it is to just let go of the stress and go in the kitchen and curate a dish, which is sometimes daring and experimental too. Finding a hobby is like finding your best friend, no matter what, it will never leave your side. It is greatly beneficial to handling stress as it is something you enjoy and can relate to on a personal level, which is basically (and quite literally for me) food for the soul. 

Thirdly, a more sensible approach to stress and stress-related disorders is rational thinking. Rational thinking is basically the capacity to make sense of things and to use logic to scrupulously scrutinize and rectify our mistakes. To develop rational thinking, we must understand that failures and problems are not bad for us. In fact, a failure may be just what we need to understand our strengths and it can also help in making ourselves committed to grow as an individual. Factually speaking, a poll conducted in 2018 showed that only 27 out of 100 people were rational thinkers who analysed issues with appropriate logic rather than coming to a perfunctory conclusion. Obviously, this will help reduce stress and tension as you will then have the quality of being able to deliberate and then apply solutions to real-life problems. 

Therefore, let us begin 2022 on an optimistic note and let us make it a point to give our mental health equal time, importance and respect. Not trying to be cliché here but let us commence this year with taking care of something we cannot function without- a positive, content and unpretentiously happy mindset. 

The level and depth of stress remains unfathomed. You get to know of it only once it manifests into a serious medical disorder. So, it is imperative to manage stress before it shows its true colours and tries to demolish your mental well-being. So, let’s now stop worrying as that is never going to prove to be helpful, and let’s start managing stress in a structured, calm and composed manner. Let’s not build castles in the future and wait for them to appear out of nowhere, let’s build that castle step-by-step and deal with all situations the right way.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors’ and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

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