By: Batumba Tak General Secretary The St. Kitts-Nevis Trades & Labour Union

The Problem Of Stress

In the words of Frank Herbert, Dune, “The mind can go either direction under stress – toward positive or toward negative: on or off. Think of it as a spectrum whose extremes are unconsciousness at the negative end and hyperconsciousness at the positive end. The way the mind will learn under stress is strongly influenced by training.”

During a recent illness, I was completely stressed out mentally, physically and emotionally, so I decided to seek the advice of my Doctor and some elderly in my community as well as some other research.However, recent poll show that stress is on the rise, affecting health, family, relationship and work.Also, about one third of adults are living with extreme stress and nearly half of adults (48 percent) believe that their stress has increased over the past five (5) years.

Additionally it is a fact that stress is now taking a toll on people, contributing to health problems, poor relationships and lost productivity at work, according to a new survey released recently by the American Psychological Association (APA)Furthermore, it is fully believed that if we hold a wooden pencil between our hands and slowly apply pressure as we try to bend the pencil, increase our pressure, and the pencil snaps and break. That’s a perfect example of mechanical stress.Thus, stress is described as a pressure or a strain that tends to distort our body, whether it is a pencil or a person.Therefore, up to a point in our lives, we can all take pressure and strain.

At some time though, however, the stress can become so great that just like the pencil, we “snap.” But if and when we “snap” depends wholly on the ways we handle stressful situations.In addition, to make it even more interesting, all stress is not the same, and to handle the stress in our lives, we need to understand what type of stress can be made upon us.Let us continue by looking at the types of stress: Most stress used to be physical and short-term. Now in today’s modern times, stress is usually emotional and long-term. But what does that mean?The Health Experts have clearly stated that all living creatures experience short-term, physical stress almost continuously. However, finding food, adapting to weather changes, reproducing, and growth are also examples of common, short –term stress situations.For as soon as we find our food, or adapt to the season, or reproduce, then the physical stress brought on by these states is eliminated because it was temporary and for a short-term.

However, this type of stress is quite normal, natural, and perhaps even beneficial. Moreover, without a certain amount of stress, no change, progress, or growth would ever take place because we would be in a continuous state of stagnation unless we experience temporary feeling of stress.Therefore, when these stressful situations become long-term, however, they harm results. In addition, when the stress becomes more emotional or mental and less physical, we will have a harder time of dealing with it.Why? Because the responses to physical stress, such as intense hunger, are already learned, and the body has its very own way of handling physical stress, including, it knows how to best compensate for the temporary demands placed on it.However, on the other hand, emotional stress brought about by uncertainties, or feeling of helplessness is very difficult to handle.The Health Experts have also clearly highlightthat we have not learned yet how to deal with the types of stress produced by overdue bills or individual short comings.Moreover, unlike physical stress, these long-term stressful emotional states and fears can last for weeks, months, or even years.What Are The Effects Of Stress: We already know how stress affects us personally; perhaps it makes you feel tired, fatigued, nervous, or depressed.In addition, it is a known fact that stress may or could make us feel as if the weight of the world was on our shoulders.

Thus, emotionally, stress may make us prone to anger, irritability, or even move to tears.But no matter how we personally react to stress, however, the physiological effects of stress are the same for all living creatures.The question that has been asked however, is What happens to our body when we experience stress?Thus, what is the physiological response by the body to physical stress?a. An increase in arterial pressure.b. An increase blood flow to the muscles with a decreased blood flow to the organs.c. An increase rate of cellular metabolism throughout the body.d. An increase in blood glucose.e. An increase in glycolysis in the muscles.f. Increase muscular strength.g. Increased mental activity.However, the overall effect of these responses is to let us perform far more strenuous physical activity than would otherwise be possible.Moreover, the question that has been asked is, Why Is This? Well because if a stressful, threatening, situation is present, then we would probably need to flee from it or fight it. Thus, this is called the fight flight reaction, because an animal is a physically stress-state decides almost instantly to stand and fight or to not and run.

Therefore, we have provided an example of how extreme physical stress can activate the energy reserves of the body: We have seen in newspapers an account of a eighty-year-old grandmother who had been on crutches continuously for the last two years, when a fire broke out in her neighbor’s house and she heard the cries of a trapped child, and immediately she ran into the house and carried the children to freedom before she realized she had thrown her crutches aside.She therefore collapsed and had to be removed by ambulance. It is fully believed that during a time of great crisis, or stress, her body responded so vigorously that she forgot she was disabled. Research has so far clearly shown that stress does not seem to have that destructive effect, and it does not, if it is short-term, physical stress.

Therefore, when stress becomes prolonged and internalized, however, it has decidedly negative results upon the person’s health.Moreover, it is amazing that almost any type of stress can cause the same reaction in the body. However, most Scientists often refer to two kinds of stress: Physical and Neurogenic.Thus, an example of physical stress is being exposed to extreme cold, and an example of neurogenic stress is worryingabout being unable to pay utility bills. Again, it is believed that a vital body can quickly adapt to physical stress, and neurogenic stress, worry or tension.In our next article, we will continue from where we left off from in today’s article.As we closed here for today we leave you with a quote by Mahogany SilverRain, and a poem by An Unknown Author.

“My body needs laughter as much as it needs tears. Both are cleansers of stress.” – Mahogany SilverRain.

A Man In PainBy: An Unknown Author.

Sometimes I feel like giving up,Because people have already given up on me,Looking inward for hope,Eyeing outward for reassurance,Maybe my eyes cannot see.I see no one; blackness cloaks my mind,The light at the end of the tunnel leisurely disappearing,Expectations quickly ending.
Sometimes I feel like dying,Life has no other key besides the one no one can see.My heart is bruised, bleeding to death,Because no one see’s my worth.Is it a crime to be born?To have aspirations, to have your own sentiments.Is being a child a passport to slavery?Did I apply to work this job with no pay?
Sometimes I feel like getting naked,Completely undressing my heart,So that people know how I feel,So that they understand that this pain is real,You look at me and you may envy my life,I have everything I need except this,Joy unfriends me at times I need her most,My friend is in another place; I think I’m lost.