Handling stress: Tricky business of taming the invisible

Relaxation training and cognitive behavioral therapy can bring about significant changes in lifestyle of people affected by stress (representative image). Image courtesy: iStock

Nobody can avoid mental stress at workplace these days. Even a diligent employee may develop stress after committing an error in unforeseen circumstances. Other causes for the condition include a rebuke by the boss or unpleasant, indifferent or antagonistic attitude of colleagues.

All these can spoil your day. As a result, at home, you may pick up arguments with your spouse or kids over silly reasons. Later in bed, you may recall the unpleasant incident, ruining your sleep.

You get up next morning drowsy and rush to the office. At the workplace deprived of sleep the previous night and suffering from stress, the chances of committing mistakes again are high. Women employees are more vulnerable, as they would be more fatigued, having done all the domestic work before starting for office. Sleeplessness gradually affects work.

Apart from work pressures, other conditions that can ruin sleep include anxiety, depression, addiction, delusional disorder and fear of death. Unless the real cause of sleeplessness is identified and solved, your life as well as career may be doomed.

Two ways to tackle stress

According to cognitive behavioral therapy, all our problems are created basically in our own mind. When an adverse situation develops, we can tackle it in two ways – positively or negatively. How your life changes after an adversity depends on which of these paths you choose.

In fact, everybody has to develop the ability to control negative thoughts. The first step for this is to convince ourselves that we have the potential to overcome every problem that crops up before us.

Instead of running away from a problem, set apart a small amount of time to consider how the issue could be solved effectively.

If you can treat the issue you are facing as a temporary matter and not some major problem, the stress will vanish. Thinking about the issue all the time leads to sleeplessness and could affect your health.

Alcohol is no solution

A large section of society finds solace in alcohol to overcome sleeplessness caused by stress. Starting with small pegs, many people soon increase their intake to become alcoholics. While they may find temporary relief from stress initially by drinking, the alcohol-dependence gradually turns into a bigger problem.

Running away from a hurdle is hardly a sign of maturity. All should realize that alcohol offers only a temporary escape. When the drunkenness wears off, the stress comes back.

Addiction is certain to destroy health and wealth over a period and alcoholics are found to be more at risk of displaying suicidal tendencies.

Treatment for stress

Most people bottle up their feelings caused over minor issues and develop stress, which gradually turns into major conditions such as depression. According to studies, about 20 % of the people in India suffer from mental stress.

In fact, sleeplessness is only one among the main symptoms of stress. Conditions such as lack of appetite and collapse of social relationships are among other signs.

However, relaxation training and cognitive behavioral therapy can bring about significant changes in lifestyle of people affected by stress. While relaxation training reduces stress, cognitive behavioral therapy creates an awareness regarding thoughts and actions.

It has been noticed that majority of people who identify their problem and seek timely treatment for stress overcome the issue and lead confident lives. The message is, “Moments do not linger and this too will pass. Then why feel tensed?”

(The author is a clinical psychologist at Pushpagiri Medical College)