Stress is a common factor in everyone's life. At different stages of life human beings undergo or experience stress due to various reasons. Let's glance through certain general myths about stress here.

Myths about stress

1. Myth 1: Stress is external

Stress is more intrinsic in nature. Though stress could be caused externally by situations or by people, it is still at the discretion of the individual to take it or process it. Even avoiding them will not put an individual under stress.

2. Myth 2: Stress makes a better performer:

Stress can either make or break an individual's performance. To put in view, there are two kinds of influencers that lead to stress i.e., procrastination of work and working on the objective within a short span from the deadline, or worrying about getting a work done and idling without even starting to work causes stress, in which case stress can't make a better performer, but can be a perceived threat

3. Myth 3: Stress is a motivator or a stimulator:

There is a fine line between stress and stimulation. Many think that stress is a stimulator, a motivator, and some even have a perception that life without stress would be very boring; but the fact is stress drains your energy whereas stimulation gives you the initiative and the drive to complete a given task. I'd like to quote examples of stress inducers as whenever there is a need for change, and when a challenge is posed. But stress is very much in the mind of the beholder, as changes and challenges are inevitable aspects of life which actually help an individual evolve into a better person.

4. Myth 4: Exercise, breathe right and relax:

This is again a common myth that people are entrapped in. Though it is admissible that these tools help individuals to pump in oxygen to their head which gives them some ease, but understanding the pattern of accumulation of stress is sure to give clarity on some more techniques to get rid of stress. Stress is actually the precipitation of perception of a situation, or an experience in an individual. When such experiences stay in the memory for a prolonged period of time, it can get solidified and create certain core beliefs; for example, writing exams, meeting new people or public speaking can be stressful. So stress, undergoing or sustaining stress depends upon the core beliefs arrived at as the result of repeated past experiences. Thus, stress is a choice and therefore an individual has the freedom to choose between what to take to heart and what to desist. Wagging off the myths and with the clarity gained so far, let's get into stress management practices.

Stressors Lead to...

Stress is actually caused by the physiological and psychological responses in an individual that disturbs the very balance of the mind. Some examples of the physiological indications of stress are palpitations, sweating, breathlessness, dry throat, dizziness and stomach upset etc. Stress can be measured by checking the blood pressure of a person under stress. On the contrary, psychological stress a person undergoes could not be measured; the indications are inability to sleep, irritation, restlessness, mood swings, over eating or lack of appetite to name a few. So, a combination of physiological and psychological factors can really shape the very balance of an individual's behaviour.

Stress –The reality today

With the technological boom today, with the invariable penetration of print, visual and social media in the society, and other peer influences leads to enormous stress induced. I wish to add clarity in perceiving "peer pressure" as "peer influence", as an individual still has the choice to give in to such influences or define their individuality and brush such influences off. To elaborate, it would be better to consider few instances in the life of adolescents and even adults where at times, they get carried away, or feel deprived about their peers' belongings or trendy possessions like a costly watch, I phone, latest gadgets etc.

Identifying the "stressed" in a Group:

Stresses that youth undergo are many and multifarious, like stress to perform well due to the family pressures, to stay cool midst the peer group and above all, the academic pressures on code of conduct, behaviour and performance make them hassled. Generally, a stressed adolescent becomes vulnerable and susceptible to the peer pressures and some might get influenced by the environment or the influencers and make choices that could harm or hurt others. Further, for an adolescent at home or in an institution is a problem as there are chances of parents or teachers labeling the individual, and monitor or corner them even if the individual's behaviour is good over a period of time.

Addictions as stress busters – The myth and reality

Addictions are largely attributed to busting stress and succumbing peer influences. But it happens as various phases where an individual gets hooked to a practice as a time pass, as a devise to derive pleasure which then develops into dependency and finally into addiction

Cause and Effects of addiction

An individual under addiction gets spoiled of its everyday functions, get isolated from their very existence, and indulge in their addictive practices forgetful of their responsibilities. One of the major causes of addiction is the inability of an individual to cope with the stressors of life. Other instigators of addiction sums to adventure seeking behaviour, which puts an individual to try out on some practice for the sake of thrill that finally fall through the cracks and become dependent.

Solutions to get rid of addictions

  • Getting influenced by the negative influences should be avoided. Individuals with high stress should also work on keeping a healthy mind.
  • While handling adolescents that are troublesome and behave notorious, reaching to the root cause is more essential to help the individual to develop stress coping skills.
  • Having someone unbiased to share matters, either within the family circle or apart who has the wisdom to guide a stressed individual towards coping with it and making right choices to come out of it would be better.
  • For individuals with adventure seeking instinct there are alternatives like sports, singing, involving in volunteering, art and sculpting and such hobbies that gives adrenaline hype.

Hope this piece of information has started working out your scheme to get de-stressed by yourselves. The next article would talk in detail on the stress that teachers and students experience, and how to work them out. Keep peace with you till then!

Author's Profile

Professional Counseling Services was started in 2002 with an objective to enable positive changes in the lives of people. Mrs. Saras Bhaskar, Founder, Professional Counseling Services (PCS) has a private practice in Chennai. She offers counseling services related to a variety of issues related to the individual, pre-marriage, marriage, family, children, and adults. She is well-recognized for her professional services at the family and corporate level. She has facilitated successful training programs, workshops for corporate and NGO's. With the experience she has garnered over 19 years in the U.S. as counseling and corporate consultant, she now offers her services to academic institutions as well.

Her vision to empower counseling professionals in the field of psychology gave birth to Chennai Counselors Foundation. Started in 2004, CCF provides a platform for counseling professionals to share knowledge, expertise, provide cross-referrals and train for growth and advancement.