It is impossible in our world today to live a life free from stress and distress. The world is full of problems of living. The people of West Point who lost all they had as a result of the fire that gutted their zinc houses have experienced distress. They are not alone.
Think of the people of Ethiopia, North Korea and the people of Aleppo in Syria who are under the constant bombardment form the Syrian and Free Syria fighters. We experienced ours during the Octopus period when the whistling rockers rained on Monrovia during of our civil war.
Pregnant women aborted while young women menstruated. These were all reactions to the fear of the war. Fear of death or being injured or made disabled triggered those negative emotions.
One of my daughters at age twelve during our civil war had her menses for ten day each time she menstruated. The nurses recommended Vitamin K injections to stop her distress. It was a psychosomatic sickness resulting from fear of our war and most especially, her fear of death from guns, and other weapons.
The constant fear made her to react that way. I was distressed during her period of distress for she was reduced in weight and lost appetite too. My own distress came from my fear of losing her. But as God blessed us, we left the region for a quieter one. As time passed on, she returned to her normal self. And man, when she regained her normal flow, she became a caterpillar or zimba eating voraciously anything we had in the house.
The things with us or around us that trigger stress are called Stressors. We have three major stressors which can cause stress and they are classified into Physical, Mental and Social Stressors. Physical Stressors include, Air and noise pollutions, injury, hunger, thirst, tired, swimming, walking, playing games-[the Olympic Games now on hand], dancing to name a few.
Both air and noise pollution as physical stressors are harmful to us because they affect our health by causing breathing difficulties, cancer of the lungs, and death in many cases. Injury as a stressor produces stress in two ways. The injury itself is stressful and the period of recovery when the body tries to heal is another source of stress.
Hunger, thirst and sleep are all helpful to us for they cause us do things that will help us stay alive or survive. When we are hungry, you look for food to eat and survive. If you cannot survive, then you die. Thirsty, we look for water to drink or die and when we are tired we sleep. When we go swimming, walking, playing games, dancing etc. it is because we want to improve our healthy.
Mental Stressors like feelings of joy, happiness, love and success all involve our emotions, personalities and changes in our experiences. While successes are pleasant and helpful sources of stress, death of a loved one, sorrow, anger, frustration, fear, worry etc. They cause unpleasant source of stress. They harm us, make us upset and cause us to become ill or sick.
As mentioned, our personality can cause us mental stress when it becomes harmful to our expectations from ourselves. This happens when we are never satisfied with ourselves. Or when we create extreme or long lasting stress by living false lives or trying to live to expectations that are not realistic and when we demand more from ourselves. Do not think that your personality is always harmful as expressed above. They can be very helpful like when you learn new things like computer programs, sewing or designing and improving your skills on whatsoever you have learned.
Finally, there is Social Stressors, involving situations or settings where other persons are involved. Examples of these are: making new friends like the man who is assigned to Vahun to work, joining new social clubs while there, the cultural pressure s/he will encounter in terms of dress code and behavior as compared to Monrovia where he used to dress anyhow.
I have said that we should let stress work for us. Here are some of the ways we can make this happen.When you get nervous, you are angry, or upset with someone or something, you should be able to let go those built up emotions or tensions or pressure by involving in physical activities like walking on the beach front every time you are stressed out; go running at a pace you can handle, go to your backyard and do some work there. This way, you are releasing those pent up energy that makes you feel bad. Doing those things mentioned helps to make you relaxed and stress free.
Another thing we can do is to tell your best friend your fears, concerns and worries. Do make sure that the friend you call “best” is one that has the “big padlock on his or her mouth and can keep your secret. One who will not turn it to “EL They Say or EL You Know what my friend is going through?” It must be a friend who can keep your secret, secret, someone who will not call distance lands to gossip about your problems, you need that person who can handle your concerns confidentially.” There are also professional counselors who you talk to when you have problems that have caused distress in your life.
Many times we think that we can handle problems without assistance but we find out that we cannot. We should learn to know how far we can go. This is knowing our limits. The Mende people have a saying that “one cannot take a thorn from one’s back. Someone has to take it from there”. This means that we need others to help us sometimes solve our problems as we cannot by ourselves. We should realize that in life we need other people’s help for our survival.
Sometimes it is good that you take care of yourself and not be neglected. Many persons when under stress, live their bodies unkempt and they drink over plus. Doing these will not solve your stressful live. Take care of yourself. Be neat. Dress well. Appear in the eyes of the public that you are not troubled. Do not put on a turkey face. Let the contours disappear from your face.
Go on for some fun to enjoy yourself and play. Recreation is as good as work itself. A break from your daily routine relaxing and taking care of your well being is good for the mind and body. Get enough rest and sleep especially when irritable and tense from lack of rest or sleep.
Participate in activities with your peers or children. There are a lot of women’s social groups that promote well being activities on weekends that help us become functioning beings. Join them and participate in their activities. Do offer your services as a volunteer in the community in which you live. Work with children if you are shy to work with adults. Don’t be overwhelmed with tasks. Prioritize them and do what you have the capability and competency to do.
Many people sit down as if the whole world is against them or the world is coming to an end. Reward yourself by doing what you like best. Get up and do something by cooperating with people instead of confronting them when it comes to disagreement on ideas or tasks. Get a take and give attitude in your relationship with colleagues and peers. Do you cry? It is good to cry shedding that emotion [catharsis] is very healthy in our lives as it prevents headaches and burns up energy. Run to a quiet place and reflect on those good old days. Play an old time tune [60s or 70s] music and shake yourself a little.
Finally for now, do not get into self destructive behaviors of taking drugs and self medication to calm you down. Drugs and self medication can become injurious to your health as they become habit forming.
Thanks and make your stress work for you!
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