Tuesday morning was, arguably, found to be the most stressful time of the week among white-collar employees, according to a British research conducted among office workers between the ages of 18 and 45.
All-day meetings, tight deadlines, office politics, detestable traffic, family wars, information overload - all are among the most common yet undesired stress influencers among urbanites.
"People usually look at stress with a negative attitude," said pharmacist Witchulada Paranakian. "And because stress is regarded as such, we therefore tell ourselves to be less stressful and to try to get rid of as much stress as we can. But in fact, in order to manage stress properly we need to first understand what it really is."
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According to Witchulada, stress is not necessarily bad. It is in fact one of our basic instincts. It is the expression of the body and the mind to respond to stimuli or stressors. Without stress, we will have no reactions, if not feelings, towards circumstances, things or people around us. In short, stress is necessary in every human life.
Stress is somewhat associated with Charles Darwin's survival of the fittest theory, she added. The right amount of stress enables humans to survive difficulties in life. Too little, however, is almost as bad as too much.
"Imagine if our house is on fire," Witchulada said. "We would become so alarmed that we were probably able to move a television or a refrigerator by ourselves so that they are safe from destruction. Stress that occurs in such a situation helps us survive and so it is a survival skill. It is how we adjust ourselves so that we can resist or handle certain circumstances in life."
So stress is not all bad. The key is to maintain the right amount of it.
"With too little stress, you will lack enthusiasm, feel sluggish and unresponsive. People can hurt you or do something bad or unfair to you and you feel nothing about it. Conversely, too much stress means too much pressure and misery. You will become too defensive and feel both physically and emotionally unhappy," explained Witchulada.
There are two types of stress: good and bad. Good stress, or eustress, means stress from positive situations such as winning a lottery or an unexpected promotion. Bad stress _ a more familiar type _ is referred to as distress. Distress is stress from unwanted or worrying circumstances such as illnesses, unemployment, the inability to meet job deadlines and so forth.
This type of stress usually begins with the mind, then affects the body, which eventually brings about the onset of illness.
Ideally, stress _ a bad one in particular _ should not last for more than three hours, said the pharmacist. If you feel stressed out over a certain issue, for instance, and keep thinking about it over and over again for more than three hours, this will affect more than 30 types of hormones inside the body. The metabolic system is forced to work five to 10 times harder than it is supposed to. Mild degree of stress can potentially cause headaches and muscle weakness. You might also experience shaking and trembling. Stress also triggers several organ systems, especially the adrenal gland, to adapt itself, releasing biochemicals in response to stress. And if stress is left unattended for too long, it can lead to nutritional and immune deficiency resulting in symptoms like hypertension, heart diseases, diabetes, Alzheimer's, allergies and cancer.
"Other emotional impacts of stress also include short temper, hyperactivity, anxiety, depression and lower self-confidence. Work performance may also be affected. You may tend to smoke and drink alcohol and will have lower social skills and a loss of appetite," Witchulada added.
To deal with stress, first it is important to figure out what exactly you are stressed about. You might probably be worried about a certain issue. But as you think about it five times a day, you tell yourself that it is five different issues.
''List things or situations that cause you stress,'' the pharmacist advised. ''This way it enables you to know your stress so that you can handle it properly. Then accept what happens. There is no use thinking, 'I should have done this and that if I only I knew things would turn out this way'. No one can turn back time and fix the past so embrace your stress and try to find a solution.'' Do not be obsessed with your stress, she added.
This is perhaps easier said than done but it is paramount to get rid of stress as quickly as possible. Thinking about bad things that happen over and over does more harm than good _ and is also a waste of time.
And in today's world where social media plays a considerably significant role in modern lives we tend to be bombarded with a tremendous amount of news _ both good and bad _ with an overload of information from news feeds, online posts and so forth. But apparently, Witchulada said, too much of something is definitely not good.
Too much information that streams into the head is likely to cause stress and it is essential to reduce the exposure to such media channels.
''There is no need to know everything,'' commented the pharmacist. ''Slow down your life by receiving less information on a daily basis, especially negative stuff. Try to abstain from using social media or online communication tools for one day in a week. These things obviously make users impatient and they easily become hot-tempered.
''Also, do not ever think your stress cannot be managed,'' she concluded. ''Turn the word 'stress' into 'problems' and try to find concrete solutions for each of them. This way you will be able to win your battle with stress.''
A lot of people find it difficult to turn their brains off at night when they feel stressed out about certain issues. Quality sleep plays a vital role in physical and emotional health. Pharmacist Witchulada Paranakian suggests five strategies to get a good night's sleep:
 Regular exercise is a mantra to good health. It can also help you sleep better at night.
 Do an activity you like before going to bed such as playing games or listening to music, but remember to do it in moderation. Do not force yourself to do something just because people say it is good. If you hate to work out, find something else you prefer.
 Get out of bed if you lie there for a while and cannot fall asleep. Find something else to do until you are calm and comfortable before going back to bed.
 Sleep in the dark. If you sleep with the lights on, you are less likely to achieve quality sleep and thus the body will not repair and regenerate itself.
 Go to bed between 10pm and midnight. The body's regeneration process normally starts around three to four hours after you get to bed and repair takes approximately two hours. So if you go to bed at, say, 10pm, the body's regeneration process will finish at 4am and then you will wake up fresh and energetic.
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