Thursday, 22 October 2009

Managing stress

I came across this article by Dr. Khairi Rahman, a consultant psychologist at Pantai Medical Centre, on how to manage stress. Trust this will help most of us in this crazy and busy world ;-)

What is psychological stress?
- Affects and changes in metabolic rate
- Prepares the body for optimum performance
- Do not call for either fight or flight situation
- Otherwise damage physical and psychological health

Causal factors:
- Financial worries
- Threats of physical violence and abuse
- Divorce and related issues
- Pressure to excel at work, at school or in sports
- Family conflicts and cultural values
- Moving house
- Alcohol or drug abuse
- Bereavement
- Unemployment

Who gets psychologically stressed?
- Stress can be an essential stimulus
- Assist and motivate
- Stress could cause an adverse reaction
- Temporary psychological stress
- Long-term or chronic stress
- Damaging, for individual, friends and family

The symptoms of psychological stress:
Everyone reacts to stress differently...
- Depression
- Irrational behavior
- Constant anxieties
- Loss of sex-drive
- Lack of focus and concentration
- Periods of irritability or uncontrolled anger
- Increased smoking, drinking or recreational drug-taking
- Loss of appetite
- Comfort eating

Physical effects...
- Heart palpitations
- Increased pain from arthritis and other conditions
- Excessive tiredness
- Skin problems
- Aches and pains resulting from tense muscles, backache and tension headaches
- For women, missed periods

When to see a doctor:
- Seek treatment if stress is already causing physical symptoms
- Insomnia and depression
- No diagnostic test for psychological stress

Behavior modification:
Several strategies in behavioral modification...
- Learning to be more assertive
- Never taking on more than you know you can cope with
- Avoiding confrontation with difficult colleagues
- Delegating or sharing your responsibilities at work
- Organizing your time better to get as much done as possible
- Taking regular exercise
- Not using drinks or drugs to cope
- Eating a healthy, balanced diet, rich in fruits and vegetables
- Listening to music or relaxation tapes
- Talking to friends or family, and sharing your thoughts and fears
- Tensing and then relaxing your muscles, starting at the toes and working up to the head and neck.

Medicines:
- Only in exceptional circumstances (antidepressants)
- Tranquilizing drugs
- Cause addiction
- Preferable to identify causes of stress
- Make positive behavioral changes

Other treatments:
- Counseling, psychotherapy and hypnotherapy
- Aromatherapy and reflexology
- Practicing yoga and controlled breathing

Importance of stress management:
People who effectively manage psychological stress consider life a challenge rather than a series of irritations and feel they have control over their lives, even in the face of setbacks.
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