There are two Jamaican proverbs which speak about how people deal with stress: ‘Pressure buss pipe’ and ‘Diamonds mek unda pressure’. Which are you? Is the glass half empty or is it half full? This is a common phrase which is used to indicate that any situation can be viewed from an optimistic or pessimistic standpoint. Majority of the pressure we face is based on how we react to the situations we are in or have been through.
As defined by Merriam-Webster, stress is a physical, chemical, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension and may be a factor in disease causation. It is the body’s response to changes, demands or challenges. Stress can be both positive and negative. Also, it can be harmful to the body’s mental and physical health if it becomes long term.
Types of Stress
Good stress can be considered as stress that enables positive outcomes. Physical activity and chess are examples as they both promote brain growth and improve one’s thought process. According to ULifeline, ‘Stress is also a vital warning system, producing the fight-or-flight response.’ On the other hand, bad stress is anything that leads to negative outcomes. This can be broken down into two categories: acute and chronic.
Acute stress only lasts for a short period of time and is experienced by everyone at some point in their life. This may be pressure from exams, the birth of a new child or even a deadline for work. Chronic stress, however, lasts for weeks or months at a time. Examples of this may include but are not limited to; money problems, having a serious illness and family problems.
If a person is chronically stressed, they may have one or more of the symptoms listed below:
- Mental health issues
- Skin problems such as acne or eczema
- Diarrhoea or constipation
- Frequent aches and pains
- Lack of energy or focus
- Sexual problems
- Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
- Use of alcohol or drugs to relax
- Weight loss or gain
What To Do If You’re Stressed
Listed below are
- Finding a creative outlet
- Acknowledging the signs
- Reducing the intake of drugs
- Having a balanced diet
- Talking about it with someone you trust
Stress can be a motivator or it can repress you. It all boils to the way in which you process it. Remember, your health is your wealth. As represented by the Ministry of Health, we agree that it is our duty to ‘love our bodies and treat our bodies right’.