All the conversations around mental health and depression made me think about what triggers this and what the causes are. I spoke to a few people about it, both therapists and people dealing with it. I tried to consume information around this area and reflected on what we could do to tackle it and manage our lives at the early stages and onset of stress. While our lives are chaotic in many ways, from traffic and commute to the food we eat, the pollution we are exposed to and the work lives we lead, there’s bound to be stress and learning how to manage it is key.
I am no psychologist, but in my limited experience I have had enough opportunities to observe this and this piece is just a sharing of these observations and my thoughts about it.
None of us live picture-perfect lives. Everyday is a different journey and a different experience. Life is unpredictable and you never know what could potentially change in the normal everyday that could impact the courses of our lives and change the status quo.
Both mainstream media and social media don’t prepare us for rejection, dejection or failure. Peer pressure to look good, drive a great car, wear the best clothes, travel widely, eat in fancy places, shop in the best malls, party hard, gain success and promotions at work at every step, have a fantastic personal life, invest in lavish weddings and houses, the list is endless. The information and social messaging that we consume constantly is making us insecure and telling us what we have is not enough. That our lives should be impeccable, and we should do well in every sphere.
Say this out loud, think of life and reality and you will realise how outlandish an idea it is. This desire for heady success and elation is a never-ending loop. Also, upbringing has changed so much in the last few generations for various reasons that there is a lot less resilience and at the first sign of discomfort, we buckle to the pressure and let stress get the better of us.
As someone who had dealt with situations that needed intervention both for myself and for people around me from anxiety to hypertension to bi-polar issues, here are some of my insights on stress and building resilience for it.
Let’s look at stress and triggers and managing them first…
- Being overloaded and struggling to cope with everyday can trigger stress
- Stress is a reaction of the body to danger and preparing the body for what’s to come
- It manifests either physically or psychologically
- Short term stress is good as it aids performance
- Long term stress is bad and can lead to bad health
- Careers and jobs
- Family issues
- Financial problems
And the list can go on…
- Building resilience
- Fitness and exercise
- Food, nutrition and clean eating
- Reducing intake of caffeine, alcohol and other such substances
- Relaxation and time for self
- Talking and sharing with support networks
- Tackling the issue
- Reaching out for help
Also, with so much stigma around mental health, there’s barely any awareness on how to tackle it if you are going through a rough phase or if someone around you is dealing with it and what exactly it is. I have had people ask me why I would need a counsellor or therapist if I was educated, wasn’t that enough?
As communications and reputation professionals we lead chaotic lives, building a management system to deal with stress and its triggers can help ease some of it…