What Is Stress?

The student comes home with a bag full of home assignments. The college-goer returns with a heavy heart. The businessman has ‘worry lines’ on his forehead. The housewife rushes throughout the day to prepare meals at the right time. In the hurried life of today, where time always seems to be walking two steps ahead of us, we are subjected to too many stresses.

What is stress?

It is a response. When our body is questioned physically or emotionally we answer through stress. Stress is good. It is a wave of energy. Stress is known to increase a person’s performance. During exam time tension to perform well keeps us motivated. A relationship becomes stronger when we make an extra effort. In all walks of life, a little worry does not
harm instead encourages us to do better But then what is this life full of care if, we have no time to stop and stare, as W.H Davies the famous poet has said. Lately, stress has become a bane more than a boon for us. It has opened ways to various problems.

Our body has three glands,

the pituitary in the brain and the adrenals that sit over the kidney, that monitor stress by releasing hormones. Hormones trigger different emotions for different amounts of stress. We feel challenged at first, anxious, and then fearful and insecure. When stress is increased our body starts ‘feeling’ sick without actually being sick. When stress is not controlled within these levels, our arteries start thickening and hardening and heart and kidneys get severely damaged. Diseases follow next.

However, there is a remarkable way of defeating stress. The cure lies within ourselves. In the words of the Roman emperor and philosopher Marcus Aurelius “Nowhere, either with more quiet or more freedom from trouble, does a man retire than into one’s soul. The cure to tension is relaxation. Whatever relaxes us, cures us of stress. Reading a
book, singing, dancing, a stroll in the park, a long ride, a movie, a game, a hobby, talking to your better half at the end of the day, or simply watching the sunset, our retreat can be in any form. All we should keep in mind is, whether we are disturbed or tranquil, depends on our response and not on any external stimuli. By making our thoughts cheerful and pleasant we can overcome any stress.