Stress emerges from a host of external and internal factors. For example, job anxieties, the ominous peril of ethnic violence, or terrorism, our ego, and its understanding of both personal and peripheral events. In realistic terms, the ego triggers a remarkable amount of stress, and also unique, individual responses to it. The fact is no two persons experience stress the same way — if one element of stress is intimidating to one individual, the same factor may be frivolous to another. This only emphasises the view that stress is what stress is, based on one’s understanding of each situation, including one’s response to it.
Philosophers surmise that when our ego reacts, our soul responds. The two reactions are ‘mindful’ choices, all right. This is one reason why balanced responses are brought about by a clear conscience, residing in a calm, serene mind. This is also what philosophers refer to as a ‘pure heart.’ It is exactly the opposite of the veneer that many of us present in our countenance — that we don’t have stress, but ‘activate’ stress in others around us. Beware — these ‘balanced’ folks are time bombs waiting to explode.
Stresses that affect you and me are actually sometimes healthy — they drive us to achieve and fulfil our goals quickly. However, when stress becomes a song of one’s burden, they are destructive. They are also the cause of illnesses and syndromes — right from sleeplessness to high blood pressure and diabetes, among other maladies. When they are uncontrolled or not managed suitably, they can be fatal. Just think of the other side of the spectrum. When you turnaround ‘bad’ stress to ‘good’ motivational stress, your pressures within become not only exciting, but also ecstatic. You will be able to do what you thought you could never do with renewed purpose. Well, the paradox is — most of us recoil at the thought of stress in our stress-crammed world and don’t easily accept the latent idea of intensity and enthusiasm. We are also ‘marooned’ by our own negative thoughts of burnout, fear and anger, as being garishly evil, not deliciously inspirational.
Stress is related to the physics of consciousness. It is the force, or pressure, applied to a feeling, or thought, enough to twist or break it. This is no rocket science — anyone that is going, or has gone, through stressful situations will know their import, or meaning. Physicians specialising in mind-body medicine evidence that stress is ‘wear and tear’ of the psyche, just as much as arthritis is of the bones and joints. The inference is simple. There is a direct ‘connect’ between stressful distresses and disease syndromes — as touched upon in the preceding paragraph.
Stress is our basic incapacity to cope with problems; a failure of our emotional ‘engines.’ Some philosophers call stress as inner peace gone awry. Whatever the position one takes, or does not take, stress is as composite as it is to resolve. Picture this. Not all of us like change. Change wobbles our comfort zones. It holds more than a modicum of stress — because, many of us dread change and dramatically shift the groundwork of our lives without even knowing what change means to us, our careers, or even existence.
Change is analogous to the stress alarm — because, it projects the idea that something has gone wrong? This is erroneous. It is actually a warning sign that tells us to pull up our socks, adjust gears, direction, and our destiny in the face of adversity. This is best expressed by the ancient Eastern maxim, “Stress is who you think you should be; relaxation is who you are.”