Hours prior to a written examination, I often experience a gurgling sensation in my abdomen pulsating right up to the shoulder resulting in spasms. My mother calls it the examination fever. She frequently experiences bouts of restlessness, lethargy and blackout, post an argument at the dinner table and pops in a tablet. My father calls her emotionally weak. On weekends, he jots down the monthly expenditure while rubbing his eyes occasionally. My mother terms it sleeplessness. A bunch of already worked up professionals on a rejuvenating break outside the office premises are indeed calculating their performance targets. The employees call it production pressure. The reactions differ but each is a response to a common stimulus–stress.
Who is the culprit?
People often say he/she gives me stress. Is it literally possible for stress to be passed on from one to the other? Stress is a way one’s body responds to an unusual behaviour or an adverse situation. According to Padmini Ramesh, founder of Chennai-based Pranic Healing Home, “Stress is an energy prevailing in an environment or an energy field that can physically contaminate you and make you tense.” It is an illness in the emotional body, which if neglected, affects the physical body over a period of time. It may be conveyed emotionally as an outlet of anger, sadness, frustration, fatigue, inability to cope with pressure, unable to live life to its potential or physically as aches and chronic illnesses.
The effects of stress can be diminished by recognising the source of it. Survival stress–the acute stress response–is an unavoidable automatic inborn response system in man affecting the sympathetic nervous system that prepares the body to fight or flee from an anticipated threat or harm. This creates an enormous muscular excursion ensuring survival and is considered good during emergencies. The Global Organisation for stress points out at other common sources–environmental and psychological. Environmental stress is caused by irritants like dust, noise, pollution in the surroundings.
Psychological stress begins with a thought, whose persistent repetition in the mind accumulates into a mountain of apprehensions causing strain in the muscular system.