Stress Management - In General


Rubeenabegum. M
Senior Faculty
Vidya Bharati Foundation's
Institute of Business Management & Research


Be it younger generation, adults or Senior citizens, every one of us today are coming to know of the desease only when it reaches to its last stage. This shows that we are not aware of the symptoms, causes, effects of the desease and what techniques and tips to be adapted to avoid the trauma. Here little effort has been made to educate the masses about stress and stress management in general.


Do you feel anxious all the time? Is decision making difficult for you? Are there times you really feel stretched out and want to run away? Do you feel lethargic? Or have you been losing sleep lately? Does the mere thought of change disturb you.

If you have answer most of these questions in the affirmative, you may well be in a grip of stress, a malady of modern times.

Defining Stress:

In the days when prehistoric man had not yet attained self-consciousness, he reacted to any signs of danger in two days: he fought or he fled. This is 'fight or flight' response – a term coined by W.B.Cannon in 1914. During this the body reacts with alarm to the threat: there is rapid increase in metabolism, with hormonal, physiological and biochemical changes taking place instantly.

The body muscles becomes tense and hypothalamus activates the pituitary gland, which secrets harmones that then activate other harmon–producing centres  like adrenal glands. The release of adrenaline and other harmones sustains the alarm reactions and physiological changes occurs in response to the stress stimulus. The body now needs glucose for the muscles to function properly. The liver responds by releasing some into the blood stream. For the glucose to be transformed into energy, extra oxygen is required. The heart begins pumping blood faster to carry this extra supply, leading to a rise in blood pressure.

The amount of blood available in the body is, however limited. In order to deliver extra blood to select areas –the muscles, heart, lungs, kidney and the brain- there is temprory cut off in blood supply to non priority areas. Consequently the digestive system slows or stops altogether, the salivary glands stop secreting, blood vessels in the kidneys, and the abdomen constrict and the immune system slows down.

These physiological effects are categorized as 'arousal '. Concomitant emotional manifestations like fear, worry, apprehensions are termed 'anxiety'.

Once the Neanderthal dealt with the threat –usually   an animal, which he fought off or fled-from the body's reactions quickly return to normal. All of which was fine in the good old days of yore.

"Unfortunately ", says corporate consultant Santhosh Babu , "this wonderful survival tool hasn't adapted to modern forms of stress. Today we react the same way with boss as our ancestors reacted to a tiger-despite the fact that we have choices other than fighting or fleeing. "

If this stressful situation is not resolved (the Neanderthal could be up a tree with a saber- toothed tiger snarling below all day long) the body goes into second stage, the adaptation stage. This also happens when you aren't able to resolve the conflict with your boss. The changes that occurred become chronic, that is they take place all the time. This is the stage when the body is most prone to illness.

The third stage according to Hans selye (1956), "the stage of exhaustion" which came about if the stress was constant and prolonged. Here, the body's resistant finally crumbles and death is usually the consequence.


Simply put, stress has one cause- our perceptions of and reactions to the situation that occurs in our lives. Stress can be caused by something as simple as breaking a fingernail or by something as serious as losing a finger. In addition the positives events in our lives can be as stressful as negative ones.

For example, the birth of a child can be stressful both in positive and negative ways.

"It's a boy ! It's a girl ! It has all of its fingers and toes! Its healhy! Its wonderful !"

First of all, adrenaline flows and we beam with pride as our hearts fill with jubilation  and over whelming emotions ! However, often, anxiety follows.

"Will I be a good parent? Can I provide for my new born? Will I wake up at 2:00am when he begins to cry?"

In the above example, the first reaction is called eustress, or positive stress. The second is all too familiar distress., or negative stress. While coping with eustress is easier than dealing with distress, the truth is that whether positive or negative, stress is stress!

Moreover, what may be stress reliever to one person may be a stressor to another. For instance, a divorce may be the relief for one party and the calamity for the other.


The effects of stress can dramatically impact our lives for better……..or wore.

That extra rush of adrenalin, released during acute stress gives us needed burst of speed when we flee from a danger or an extra surge of power when we decided to stand and fight. However when we fail to release stress while coping with life's situations, it builds up until we either explode or collapse.


Stress management tips and techniques will help to cope with the stress that is caused due to variety of reasons including job related, children/spouse/parent related, health related or finance related stress.

Dealing with stress in a positive manner and with the right attitude will help bring a sense of calmness and control back into life.

There is no single fixed method of managing stress. The main aim should be see how best stress relief can be obtained and what technique works best to reduce stress.

Following are some stress relief tips and different ways to deal with stress.

-- Have realistic expectations (personally and professionally)
-- No matter what, always maintain your sense of humor
-- Never bottle up your feelings, share it with someone you trust
-- Never try to control others
-- Manage your time well
-- Do important tasks first
-- Get quality sleep
-- Exercise regularly
-- Eat well
-- Keep the intake of sugar, caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, habit forming over the counter drugs to a minimum.
-- Keep some time exclusively for yourself
-- Have a lot of fun

Always be aware of your limits. Personally or professionally never try to cross this limit. If required learn how to say 'no'.

Your sense of humor comes naturally in good times. Make a conscious effort to keep this sense of humor intact the moment you sense that stress is taking over. A good sense of humor will help defeat and overcome stress.

Keeping your feelings bottled up within yourself is like gradually building a potent bomb. It will explode at some point in time and create stress of great magnitude. The better option is to get these feelings out to someone whom you trust and who is close to you (be sure that this person is not a gossip-monger, or else this could create further stress at a later date).

Many persons have the tendency to try and control the behavior and actions of others. This does not succeed in most of the cases and leads to unnecessary and undesired stress. It is better to advise and let the other person decide whether to take the advise or not; do not try to control them. They will remain unaffected and you will end up being stressed.

Proper time management is of vital importance. If you know exactly how you will manage time during the day, it will seldom create a situation of stress. Designate specific periods for work, play / fun, and family. Follow the set schedule regularly.

You should always be aware of all the tasks you have on hand. Decide on what is most important to the least important. Get the most important tasks done first.

Sleep is very important in managing stress. Not just sleep, but quality  sleep. When you wake up in the morning you should feel fresh and well rested. If this is not the case, you should visit your physician to find out the cause and get it treated. Poor sleep results in a variety of problems during the day and could be an important factor in causing you stress.

Exercising is a proven stress buster. Exercising regularly will help your body and  mind remain fit and active and will help cope with stressful situations much better. Along with exercise you must also maintain a nutritious and healthy diet avoiding tobacco and keeping alcohol consumption to a minimum.

Keep some time exclusively to yourself during the day. You can use this time to think on all the things that are disturbing you and could be the cause of stress. Find out ways of working on these stressful situations and act on them.

One of the best stress busters is to have fun - lots and lots of fun. Having lots of fun has never had any known bad effects on anyone. If anything it will help you lead a healthier, longer, stress free life.

Rubeenabegum. M
Senior Faculty
Vidya Bharati Foundation's
Institute of Business Management & Research

Source: E-mail May 28, 2010


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