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Stress management: Why it’s important and how you can address it

Depending on the severity of the stress it may have serious mental and physical health implications. Even the most mundane of stresses may become severe if not managed appropriately. (Photo: Unsplash)
Depending on the severity of the stress it may have serious mental and physical health implications. Even the most mundane of stresses may become severe if not managed appropriately. (Photo: Unsplash)
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Stress is almost a certainty in everyone’s life whether it be due to school, work, society, or family. Depending on the severity of the stress it may have serious mental and physical health implications. Even the most mundane of stresses may become severe if not managed appropriately. Due to the COVID-19 epidemic, Jordan has seen an increase in stress levels in a varying array of topics. One study conducted in Jordan in 2020 on stresses due to COVID found that:اضافة اعلان

32.7 percent of participants were concerned about the impact on their studies/graduation

30.5 percent were highly concerned of the effect on a family member

18.7 percent were greatly concerned of the effect personally

23.9 percent were greatly concerned about their income

22.2 percent were greatly concerned about their ability to get food

18.7 percent were greatly concerned about their ability to get medication

Health concerns of stress
The inability to manage stress properly may lead to manifestations physically, in mood and behavior. Physically, stress may cause:

Headaches

Muscle tension or pain

Chest pain

Fatigue

Change in libido

Upset stomach

Sleep disturbances

In terms of mood stress may cause:

Anxiety

Restlessness

Lack of motivation and focus

Feeling overwhelmed

Irritability or anger

Sadness or depression
Furthermore, stress may cause an individual to seek unhealthy coping mechanisms, especially those at risk due to a previous or family history of substance abuse. Alcohol abuse, drug misuse, or tobacco use are not uncommon in people with high stress and may be difficult to spot by friends or loved ones. Additionally, behavior such as bouts of rage, over or undereating, social withdrawal, and decreased physical activity may all be symptoms of high stress.

Occupational stress and its management
Occupational stress is psychological stress relating to one’s job and may be caused by the working conditions, workplace conflict, long hours, or economic factors. These stressors are often times unavoidable and require the individual to properly manage the associated stress. A meta-review conducted by the University of London compared multiple studies, reviewing the effectiveness of various workplace techniques to reduce stress. The methods that were mentioned were muscle relaxation, biofeedback, meditation, cognitive restructuring/behavioral skills training, and combinations of these. All workplace stress management studies showed a statistically significant benefit physiologically and/or psychologically.

Progressive muscle relaxation is a technique for stress management that is widely employed and accepted. It works on the principle that muscles are unusually tensed in stressed people. In essence, progressive muscle relaxation works by lying down and systematically flexing and relaxing specific groups of muscles. The flexing phase lasts four to ten seconds, all the while breathing in, followed by a sudden relaxation of the muscles and exhale. Then to twenty seconds should be allowed between muscle groups.

Biofeedback is a technique that helps to control certain bodily functions such as heart rate. Although the traditional method is intensive and requires a technician as well as multiple advanced devices, there are a few home remedies that aid in a similar manner. Essentially, biofeedback is a form of meditation where the practitioner uses manipulation of thought, emotions, or behavior in order to control bodily functions that can be observed through a device such as a smartwatch.

There are many forms of meditation and there is no one right way of performing it. Most of today’s stresses come from overthinking and worrying of past or future events. Meditation works by focusing the mind on the present in order to bring a sense of calm and tranquility. In order to focus the mind, perform and focus on deep breathing, mentally become aware of your body and its sensations, and repeat a mantra. A mantra is a sentence of phrase repeated to yourself that helps bring tranquility to you and can have religious focus. With these criteria in mind, the Islamic form of prayer (salat) more than qualifies as a form of meditation. To corroborate this, a study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that salat “produces positive changes in brain function and human well-being.”

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