What is Mental Stress? Mental Stress is that state of our mental condition when we opt to loose peace of our mind. Paul Brunton has rightly said, “Nothing matters so much that we should throw ourselves into a state of panic about it. No happening is so important that we should let ourselves be exiled from inner peace and mental calm for its sake.”
We generally use the word “tension” or “Mental Stress” when we feel that everything seems to have become too much, abnormal or beyond control – we are overloaded and wonder whether we really can cope with the pressures placed upon us. Anything that poses a challenge or a threat to our well-being is a Stress.
Some Stress get us going on and they are good for us – without any Stress at all many say our lives would be boring and would probably feel pointless because they exhort us to do what we are not doing in normal course but that must be done in our own interests. However, when a Stress undermines both our mental and physical health, that Stress is considered to be bad.
Once we learn how to reduce mental stress, we can bring in a lot of happiness in our life. That means in spite of our all possessions, if we do not have mental peace, we are not happy. When we live a stress-free life, we can have extra energy, creativity and a fun feeling that anything is possible! Then, we take the time to create the things we really want to do, have and become in our lives.
Each time we allow ourselves to become stressed about not having enough time, money or energy, we shrink and feel less capable of our dreams, our targets and our landmarks. When we can create a healthier relationship with whatever we feel is tense, we discover a new energetic source inside. Our real creativity opens the very moment we let go of the thing we assumed was going to be a toxic drain we had to cope with.
So what is it that you find is mental stress in your life? You will have to find out. Is it your way of working? Is it your commutation to the place of work? Is there a certain task, job, or person who constantly makes you anxious and filled with fear? Is it your living alone? There can be any reason which is inducting mental stress in your life.
One of the most interesting things about your mental stress is that it is a psychological disease which can be instantly shifted by changing the belief systems in the mind. For example, if you have an intolerant boss who is constantly pushing you to be more productive, this intense energy could serve to motivate you or may create extra mental stress. It all depends on your relationship with your boss.
By consciously approaching your boss with compassion, understanding the true emotional pain they are battling with inside, the tense pressure is suddenly removed from you and also dissipates from your boss as well.
For many days, you might have going through some mental stress. Have you taken a closer look at what “Your mental stress” actually is and how it is created, what do you notice? Many of us will blame the outer world, saying this person, event, time agenda or situation is causing us to feel mental stressed out and is the real problem. Yet, honestly is this blaming approach really empowering us to be stress free? Whenever we point the finger outside ourselves, we are missing the grand opportunity to grab hold of our inner steering wheel and direct it towards manifesting a life that we love.
The choice is always there to be responsible or irresponsible about the tense situation we are dealing with. We always have the option to say this situation is too much, beyond our control and can let it all go. We also can take the path of seeing it is something that can be easily shifted with a little more time, love and patience. Ultimately in the end what matters is how we feel about ourselves inside. Whenever we take full ownership of where we are creating our own inner stress, we awaken our most empowered self and discover the greatest gift of being perpetually free from mental stress on the inside.
A stress-free lifestyle is easily created by prioritizing trust, patience and appreciation above everything else. This approach is based in knowing we are connected with everyone and everything in a deep synchronicity, enveloped in the most impeccable cosmic timing one could imagine.
This sweet stress free approach to life contains a natural spiritual acceptance that a higher intelligence is taking care of us. We know we don’t have to be the general manager of the Universe, and always have to keep our eyes on the road ahead. Instead, we can rest into this deep acceptance and appreciation that all is well right here and right now. From here a profound feeling of abundance can enter.
The very moment we release the white knuckled grip (we didn’t know we had) on our life’s steering wheel a miracle happens! We tend to relax and know that everything in life is going to work out for the highest good. We enter each conversation knowing our lives are this natural amazing expression of this trust.
Every action we take comes from a place of not being attached to the outcome, yet curious as to how it may unfold. We start to live a life that is without suffering and this contagiously spreads around to everyone that we know.
It’s vital to be aware of the power of stress in our lives, and is something to be dealt with and not ignored. It is the killer of every dream, goal and fantastic adventure. This hard heavy stress is very serious about life and is the underlying cause behind every disease known to mankind. It is what creates the emotional stress, destroys marriages, creates feelings of poverty and is what blocks us from truly healing ourselves on every level.
All mental stress is created from a deeper resistance to life. When we are not fully accepting what is, this is what initiates the cause of our pain. When we judge that a certain person is not good for us, and we create a wall of resistance around them in our mind. Yet ultimately, where does this wall show up? It is actually felt inside ourselves, protecting our own heart from getting hurt. If this inner wall is not removed at some point, the consistent mental stress can produce painful emotional symptoms or even a physical illness down the road.
The person who lives a life filled with mental stress often functions like a horse with blinders. No matter what occurs, they continue walking straight ahead, thinking they have no choice where they are looking, and not able to see the beautiful planet they are actually living on.
These blinders are caused by very narrowed or fixed ideas about who we are, what will bring happiness, and where in life we are going. This type of mindset is unable to stop and smell the flowers along the way. The mind cannot open to the unknown, and misses out on the abundance of love, creativity and possibility that the Universe is penetrating us with in every direction.
Every human being was born to transcend their apparent limitations. Every day we are given a set of specific challenges to overcome, so we can grow, learn from our mistakes, and become a stronger, healthier, happier, and smarter multi-dimensional being. From simply living 20 to 90 years of life, we are meant to master it. We are here to learn how to deeply enjoy this amazing blazing glorious celebration of existence. The only thing stopping us are the emotional memories from the past, in which we’ve over identified ourselves as being something less than divine.
Stress comes up due to certain stressors. The difference between “stress” and “a stressor” – a stressor is an agent, factor or stimulus that causes stress. Stress is the feeling we have when we feel that we are under pressure to do something, to abstain from doing something, or to tolerate some unpleasant condition while stressors are the things we respond to in our environment. Examples of stressors are noises, unpleasant people, a speeding car, or even going out on a first date. Generally, the more stressors we face, the more tense we feel.
The way we respond to a challenge may also be a type of stress. Part of our response to a challenge is physiological and affects our physical state. When faced with a challenge or a threat, our body activates resources to protect us – to either get away as fast as we can, or fight against the stressors.
If we are upstairs at home and an earthquake starts, the faster we can get ourself and our family out the more likely we are all to survive. If we need to save somebody’s life during that earthquake, by lifting a heavy weight that has fallen on them, we will need components in our body to be activated to give us that extra strength, an extra push. At that time, our body produces larger quantities of the chemicals cortisol, adrenaline and noradrenaline, which trigger a higher heart rate, heightened muscle preparedness, sweating, and alertness – all these factors help us protect ourselves in a dangerous or challenging situation.
Surprisingly at that time, non-essential body functions slow down, such as our digestive and immune systems when we are to go away or fight against the stressors. All resources can then be concentrated on rapid breathing, blood flow, alertness and muscle use.
When we are tense, we can feel rise in the blood pressure, our breathing becoming more rapid, our digestive system can slow down, our heart rate (pulse) may also rise, our immune system can go down, our muscles may also become tense, or we may not be able to sleep (heightened state of alertness). It depends upon our individual how we take mental stress in a given set of factors. Most of us have varying interpretations of what mental stress is about and what matters. Some of us focus on what happens to us, such as breaking a bone or getting a promotion, while others think more about the event itself. What really matters are our thoughts about the situations in which we find ourselves.
We are continually facing various situations that confront us in life. We assess each situation, deciding whether something is a threat, how we can deal with it and what resources we can use. If we conclude that the required resources need to effectively deal with a situation are beyond what we have available, we say that that situation is tense – and we react with a classical stress response. On the other hand, if we decide our available resources and skills are more than enough to deal with a situation, it is not seen as tense to us.
When we succumb to mental stress it affects our health. At that time, we do not all interpret each situation in the same way. Because of this, we do not all call on the same resources for each situation. We do not all have the same resources and skills. Some situations which are not negative ones may still be perceived as tense. This is because we think we are not completely prepared to cope with them effectively. Examples being: having a baby, moving to a nicer house, and being promoted. Having a baby is usually a wonderful thing, so is being promoted or moving to a better house. But, moving house is a well-known source of mental stress.
It is important to learn that what matters more than the event itself is usually our thoughts about the event when we are trying to manage mental stress. How you see that tense event will be the largest single factor that impacts on your physical and mental health. Our interpretation of events and challenges in life may decide whether they are invigorating or harmful for us.
A persistently negative response to challenges will eventually have a negative effect on our health and happiness. Experts say people who tend to perceive things negatively need to understand themselves and their reactions to stress-provoking situations better. Then they can learn to manage mental stress more successfully.
Perception of mental stress affects heart attack risk.
People who believe their mental stress is affecting their health in a big way are twice as likely to have a heart attack ten years later, researchers at the University of Western Ontario found. In another study carried out at Pennsylvania State University, the investigators found that mental stress was not the problem, but rather how we react to stressors. It appears that how patients react to stress is a predictor of their health a decade later, regardless of their present health and stressors.
Lead researcher, Professor David Almeida said “For example, if you have a lot of work to do today and you are really grumpy because of it, then you are more likely to suffer negative health consequences 10 years from now than someone who also has a lot of work to do today, but doesn’t let it bother her.”
Continuous mental stress can cause a tendency to sweat, Back pain, Chest pain, Childhood obesity, Cramps or muscle spasms, Erectile dysfunction, Fainting spells, Headache, Heart disease, Hypertension (high blood pressure), Loss of libido, Lower immunity against diseases, Muscular aches, Nail biting, Nervous twitches, Pins and needles, Sleeping difficulties and Stomach upset etc. Mental stress can affect our thoughts and feelings. It can bring about unwarranted anger, anxiety, burnout, depression, feeling of insecurity, forgetfulness, irritability, problem concentrating, restlessness, sadness, fatigue etc. It affects our behavior too.
We may afford eating too much or too little, food cravings, sudden angry outbursts, drug abuse, alcohol abuse, higher tobacco consumption, social withdrawal, frequent crying, relationship problems etc.
Some common causes of mental stress-
We all react differently to tense situations. What one person finds tense another may not at all. Almost anything can cause mental stress and it has different triggers. For some people, on some occasions, just thinking about something, or several small things that accumulate, can cause mental stress.
Stress at work?
A study conducted by the charity Mind suggested found that 34% of people considered their jobs to be very tense. Bereavement, Family problems, Financial matters, Illness, Lack of time, Shifting of households, Matrimonial relations, Abortion, Becoming a mother or a father first time, Conflicts in the workplace, Driving in bad traffic, Fear of crime, Losing job, Miscarriage, Noisy neighbors, Overcrowding, Pollution, Pregnancy, Retirement, Too much noise around, Uncertainty (awaiting laboratory test results, academic exam results, job interview results, etc), Maternal stress and bullying later on at school, too much investigation/worrying about any purchase or sale and Job issues can be responsible for creating mental stress to us.
According to a UK charity “Mind”, work is the leading cause of mental stress in British people’s lives, concerning factors that may have a significant impact on their wellbeing.
Sometimes, it is also possible that a person feels stressed and no clear cause is identified. A feeling of frustration, anxiety and depression can make some people feel tense more easily than others.
Diagnosis of mental stress
A good General Medical Practitioner) is able to diagnose mental stress based on the patient’s symptoms alone. Some doctors may have some tests, such as a blood or urine, or a health assessment. The diagnosis of mental stress depends on many factors and is complex. A wide range of approaches such as the use of questionnaires, biochemical measures, and physiological techniques, to stress diagnosis have been used.
However, the majority of these methods is subject to experimental error and should be viewed with caution. The most practicable way to diagnose mental stress and its effects on a person is through a comprehensive, stress-oriented, face-to-face interview.
Dealing with yourself as a Mental Stress patient:
With a little practice you can easily reduce any level of mental stress by adopting a healthy daily routine that helps you harness the power behind the wild horses of the mind.
Here’s a few practical things you can do to immediately reduce the mental stress in your life this week:
Start your day with some form of exercise. Do it first thing in the morning for at least 20 minutes, or until you break a sweat. This means engaging in some physical movement you love doing that feels good to your body. If you don’t love it, it is creating a negative mental stress and impacting you in a psychological harmful way. After you break a good sweat then do some yoga, stretching your body and relaxing into your heart. Feel the presence of your own sweat soft surrendered presence inside. Then sit for at least 15 minutes just watching the breath rise and fall. Repeat the words, “All is well” or some mantra that makes you feel good inside.
Listen to life, nature or the sound of existence. Spend as much time outside all week as you possibly can.
The secret to finding true freedom from mental stress comes from meditation. A few minutes of practice per day can help ease anxiety “Research suggests that daily meditation may alter the brain’s neural pathways, making you more resilient to mental stress,” says psychologist Robbie Maller Hartman, PhD, a Chicago health and wellness coach.
It’s simple. Sit up straight with both feet on the floor. Close your eyes. Focus your attention on reciting — out loud or silently — a positive mantra such as “I feel at peace” or “I love myself.” Place one hand on your belly to sync the mantra with your breaths. Let any distracting thoughts float by like clouds.
By consistently meditating for at least 15-45 minutes everyday, we can instantly release lifetimes of mental stress. By simply making a daily habit of creating a silent space to be quiet, alone and at ease it shifts something deep inside us. Meditation gives you the gift of observing your thoughts and allowing them to pass over you like clouds. Once you can become detached from your thoughts, seeing that you have the choice to entertain one or not, you discover a greater peace and freedom inside. You realize you are the sky in which the clouds are passing through.
The process of learning to sit quietly in deep meditation can feel as challenging as climbing Mount Everest. The mind always wishes to get involved and participate in some way. Yet, meditation is a state of allowing, having no effort and being in total surrender. You may find that the mind is making efforts to allow your thoughts to just exist without getting attached to them. Any effort at all will engage the mind and stop the blissful state of experience from occurring.
Meditation is the greatest single thing you can practice to create a stress free existence. By simply watching the mind, surrendering to what is, not having any agenda, and being aware of that which is already highly aware of itself very miraculous things will occur.You don’t need a spa weekend or a retreat.
2. Breathing Deeply
Take a 5-minute break and focus on your breathing. Sit up straight, eyes closed, with a hand on your belly. Slowly inhale through your nose, feeling the breath start in your abdomen and work its way to the top of your head. Reverse the process as you exhale through your mouth.
“Deep breathing counters the effects of mental stress by slowing the heart rate and lowering blood pressure,” psychologist Judith Tutin, PhD, says. She’s a certified life coach in Rome, GA.
3. Be Present
Slow down. “Take 5 minutes and focus on only one behavior with awareness,” Tutin says. Notice how the air feels on your face when you’re walking and how your feet feel hitting the ground. Enjoy the texture and taste of each bite of food. When you spend time in the moment and focus on your senses, you should feel less tense.
4. Reach Out
Your social network is one of your best tools for handling mental stress. Talk to others — preferably face to face, or at least on the phone. Share what’s going on. You can get a fresh perspective while keeping your connection strong.
5. Tune In to Your Body
Mentally scan your body to get a sense of how mental stress affects it each day. Lie on your back, or sit with your feet on the floor. Start at your toes and work your way up to your scalp, noticing how your body feels. “Simply be aware of places you feel tight or loose without trying to change anything,” Tutin says. For 1 to 2 minutes, imagine each deep breath flowing to that body part. Repeat this process as you move your focus up your body, paying close attention to sensations you feel in each body part.
Place a warm heat wrap around your neck and shoulders for 10 minutes. Close your eyes and relax your face, neck, upper chest, and back muscles. Remove the wrap, and use a tennis ball or foam roller to massage away mental stress. “Place the ball between your back and the wall. Lean into the ball, and hold gentle pressure for up to 15 seconds. Then move the ball to another spot, and apply pressure,” says Cathy Benninger, a nurse practitioner and assistant professor at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus.
7. Laugh Out Loud
A good belly laugh doesn’t just lighten the load mentally. It lowers cortisol, your body’s mental stress hormone, and boosts brain chemicals called endorphins, which help your mood. Lighten up by tuning in to your favorite sitcom or video, reading the comics, or chatting with someone who makes you smile.
8. Crank Up the Tunes
Research shows that listening to soothing music can lower blood pressure, heart rate, and anxiety. “Create a playlist of songs or nature sounds (the ocean, a bubbling brook, birds chirping), and allow your mind to focus on the different melodies, instruments, or singers in the piece,” Benninger says. You also can blow off steam by rocking out to more upbeat tunes — or singing at the top of your lungs!
9. Get Moving
You don’t have to run in order to get a runner’s high. All forms of exercise, including yoga and walking, can ease depression and anxiety by helping the brain release feel-good chemicals and by giving your body a chance to practice dealing with mental stress. You can go for a quick walk around the block, take the stairs up and down a few flights, or do some stretching exercises like head rolls and shoulder shrugs.
10. Be Grateful
Keep a gratitude journal or several (one by your bed, one in your purse, and one at work) to help you remember all the things that are good in your life. “Being grateful for your blessings cancels out negative thoughts and worries,” says Joni Emmerling, a wellness coach in Greenville, NC.
Use these journals to savor good experiences like a child’s smile, a sunshine-filled day, and good health. Don’t forget to celebrate accomplishments like mastering a new task at work or a new hobby. When you start feeling tense, spend a few minutes looking through your notes to remind yourself what really matters.
To sum up, we can say that if you find there any third person or your spouse having some stress, you can follow three broad methods to treat mental stress, they include self-help, self management, and medication.
Under Self help for treating mental stress,
- You can advise a tense patient to undertake exercise. Exercise has been proven to have a beneficial effect on a person’s mental and physical state. For many people exercise is an extremely effective mental stress buster.
- The patient can be advised to afford division of labor. He may try to delegate his responsibilities at work, or share them. If he/she makes him/herself indispensable the likelihood of the tense feeling is significantly greater.
- The patient must not be assertive. He/she must learn not to say yes to everything. If the patient can’t do something well, or if something is not under the responsibility assigned, the patient must try to seek ways of not agreeing to do them.
- The patient can be advised not to use Alcohol and drugs as alcohol and drugs will not help him/her manage his/her mental stress better. He/she must either stop consuming them completely, or cut down the intake slowly.
- If the patient is addicted to take high intake of Caffeine by way of coffee or other drinks, it must be cut down.
- The patient must care for the nutrition. A plenty of fruit and vegetables should be given. It should be made sure that he/she should have a healthy and balanced diet.
- The family members should allow the patient to have some time to set aside each day just for himself/herself to use that time to organize his/her life, relax, and pursue own interests.
- The patient can take care of his/her breathing habits. There are some effective breathing techniques which will slow down the system and help relax.
- The patient may be pursued to talk to the family members, friends, work colleagues and the boss to express the thoughts and worries.
- The patient is asked to seek professional help if the mental stress is affecting the way he/she functions. Heightened mental stress for prolonged periods can be bad for his/her physical and mental health.
- The patient can be taught relaxation techniques like meditation, massage, or yoga. These practices are known to greatly help people with mental stress.
Other Techniques of Mental stress Management
Stress management can help a patient to either remove or change the source of stress, alter the way he/she views a tense event, lower the impact that mental stress might have on the body, and teach you alternative ways of coping. Stress management therapy will have the objective of pursuing one or more of these approaches.
Stress management techniques can be gained if the patient reads self-help books, or attend a stress management course. Help of a counselor or psychotherapist for personal development or therapy sessions can solve the problem of having stress unnecessarily too. Many therapies which help to relax, such as aromatherapy, or reflexology, may have a beneficial effect.
Doctors will not usually prescribe medications for coping with stress, unless the patient has an underlying illness, such as depression or some type of anxiety. If that is the case, the doctor is actually treating a mental illness. In such cases, an antidepressant may be prescribed. But there is a risk that all the medication will do is mask the stress, rather than help to deal and cope with it. Not only this, even Acupuncture has ‘similar mode of action to psychiatric drugs’. In a controlled experiment with rats, acupuncture was effective against treating chronic stress. Under Endocrinology too, the results suggest a mode of action similar to that of anti-anxiety and antidepressant drugs.
Mental stress found to influence brain networks and reduce self-control. A pet dog can protect our child from childhood anxiety. Mental stress appears to contribute to Alzheimer. Feeling stressed increases the chance of older people developing mild cognitive impairment, which can be a forerunner to Alzheimer.
Columbaa Kalidhar, made a wonderful thought….. “The world is a wonderful place. What goes around comes around. Please help others to the best of your ability. In the long run you may be helping yourself. God never forgets anyone who sows a good seed in other people. Never anything in nature lives for itself. Rivers don’t drink their own water. Trees don’t eat their own fruit. Sun doesn’t give heat for itself. Flowers don’t spread fragrance for themselves. Living for others is the rule of nature. And therein lays the secret of living.
Be Happy. Keep Smiling. ”
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