Managing Stress in Challenging Environment

Managing Stress in Challenging Environment


Personal effectiveness involves managing stress which is the body-mind mechanism’s reaction to any demand placed on it.  Health experts are of the view that some stress is essential for human survival. As growing demands are placed on a person’s body and mind in present challenging environment, there will be some kind of automatic reaction. When this reaction is positive, the stress helps individuals perform their jobs better and meet their daily challenges effectively. Positive Stress, called eustress, can lead individuals to a new awareness of their abilities and a completely new perspective on their jobs. However negative stress or distress  upsets individuals and can make them physically sick. It can lead to feelings of distrust, rejection, anger, and depression, which may lead to a number of medical problems, including stroke, heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, and ulcers.

As stress is inevitable in the face of emerging challenges, one should cultivate appropriate ways to respond the stress. Positive Psychologist, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is of the view, “It is how people respond to stress that determines whether they will profit from misfortune or be miserable.” There are a number of life events, experienced at one time or another by everyone, that cause stress. An individual’s control over the situation will determine the amount of stress these events will cause.

For managing stress, one should know the cause of stress. The common workplace stressors include time pressures, too many responsibilities with conflicting roles and responsibilities,  unreasonable deadlines, adapting to new technology and new environment,  situation of uncertainty and anxiety, working beyond one’s capacity, organizational politics with harassment and bullying by psychopaths, etc. Once these factors are known, one can manage stress in effective way by addressing these causes.  

Managing stress involves building and maintaining physical, emotional, mental and spiritual resources on continuous basis along with developing time management and interpersonal skills. One has to take care of one’s body with healthy and balanced diet along with regular exercises to keep it as a fit vessel for optimum functioning. One should avoid inflicting emotions and cultivate positive emotions to create positive energy around oneself. Sometimes we have to work with psychopaths who indulge in harassment and other cheap tactics. As far as possible, we should avoid them. But sometimes we are forced to work with them. In such a situation, equanimity plays dominating role to create emotional insurance in such circumstances. To look nice, we accommodate people, but there is certain point where we have to say no to avoid depletion of our inner resources. We may ignore stress by taking extra tasks, but stress creeps in the body-mind mechanism and affects us ultimately.

One has to cultivate profound focus on one’s core activities and cherished role by cultivating detachment towards irrelevant and illusive things. This helps to manage stress in effective way. With this, the work shall not pill up pending on daily basis and consequently stress shall be avoided. As we have saved time, we can give this time to our families, friends and creative works.

To take care about spiritual aspects, we should practice meditation. Scientific research findings state that meditation is a great stress reliving way. Meditation results in change in sensory perceptions, cognition, hormonal activities. Consequently it is used in psychological and medical practices for stress management, control of emotions and depression. There are scientific research findings that advocate great effect of meditation on stress management. With meditation, there are changes in brain structure and functioning like thickening of the cerebral cortex, and lower frequency of alpha and theta waves that help to manage stress by lowering blood castrol level, slowing respiratory rate and lowering cardiovascular risk factors like lower blood pressure and heart rate and better endocrine system. All these help to reduce stress and to fight stress contributing factors in better way. Research in meditation demonstrates that we can bring significant progress in developing qualities such as attention, emotional balance, altruism and inner peace through meditation that help to reduce the stress level. Meditation helps in controlling the level of stress by filtering irrelevant thoughts and keeping away vague fears, sharpening attention and controlling scattered and confused mind. It also helps to  calm turbulent emotions, accentuate the process of healing through relaxation and revitalization of different organs of body and brain, developing emotional balance, and cultivating inner peace and harmony.

Stress can be managed by practicing meditation techniques that suit one’s temperament and timing. These meditation techniques are practiced by various religious cults and communities in the form of chanting mantras, mindful breath awareness, feeling emptiness in one’s mind, sitting in silence and observing oneself and feeling subtle flow of vibrations, cultivating detachment towards negative and illusive world, maintaining equanimity, and wishing wellbeing of all sentient  beings.  

Author: Varinder Kumar

Naveen Goel

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