What is stress?
Stress is something we all experience at some point. Speaking of anxiety, we basically refer to the normal reaction of a person when he feels threatened. The situation that is perceived as a threat can be related to our physical, mental or social constitution and security.
For example, we usually have anxiety when we expect the results of some medical examinations. Still, we may be anxious if we need to talk publicly, fearing the exposure and criticism of others. What is important to keep in mind is that stress is first of all useful. Because it is evolutionarily related to our survival.
In situations of real or natural risk, our anxiety motivates us to be prepared to respond in a way that can save us. In these cases the reactions are usually the battle or the flight. At certain levels, anxiety can even be creative.
If, for example, we have a job to do, we may end up doing better than if we did not experience any stress. However, in many cases anxiety affects people with intense and disturbing symptoms. It can create feelings of subjective dissatisfaction, become an obstacle to the realization of our desires, and ultimately negatively affect the functionality in our everyday life.
Towards a Complete Understanding: Understanding the stress we are experiencing is basically a personal job. This can be done as part of a process of awareness and contact with our emotions or even during a psychotherapy.
The social dimension of anxiety
However, we could not ignore its social dimension. Indeed, this dimension is particularly timely nowadays given the crisis and the uncertainty that prevails. Touching an ever-increasing number of people. These are mainly those who are directly experiencing some losses, either businesses where they work or communities where they live. In these cases insecurity and anxiety are diffused and affect the living space of people.
According to some theorists, each person actively evaluates his interaction with the environment. In this case, one evaluates one’s resources. That is, the available sources of these resources and one’s ability to access them. So the loss of available resources causes stress. Not only because of the effects of the loss itself, but also because of the sense of human identity is affected.
If we think for example what it means for someone to lose his job. It is not just the stress of survival that this situation is causing to us. It is the feeling of change. It is about changing a significant part of our identity and roles. In this example, from an employee I become unemployed.
The effects of anxiety on the finances and the protection of children
For families experiencing the effects of the economic crisis, parents need to pay attention to the anxiety that is transmitted to children. This is because symptoms of anxiety in children usually manifest in a different way than in adults (eg enuresis, attachment to parents, irritability). Therefore, they may be more difficult to be identified by parents as anxiety. In addition, parents need to take care of the processing of the information their children receive.
Television, the unpleasant information that is transmitted and the disaster that often prevails in the media should be critically reviewed. Parents should talk to their children about what they understand and explain the difference between opinions and events. This distinction can help children detach what is heard in the news from the reality of the family.
Communication is important
In any case, the open communication of children with parents is an important step in dealing with anxiety, since otherwise the unknown can scare the children.
At an individual level, as we have seen before, each person in his own personal way gives sense to what he experiences as anxiety. This experience can be associated with either financial difficulties or the life events and personal history of each one of us.
However, in general, to understand the stress we are experiencing, it is important to focus on what happens in our thinking, our body and our behavior. This should happen every time we face a stressful situation. Usually anxiety becomes a problem for us when we enter a vicious circle. This helps to keep it: Exposure to one condition makes us feel the physical signs of anxiety (eg sweating, changes in breathing rate) in our body. At that point we can begin to think in a way that does not help us
For example, we can focus on the negative points of the situation, on what we are afraid of, on our inability to control our symptoms, and so on. Essentially these are “prejudices of thought” that need to be replaced by more realistic or balancing ways of thinking.
In the end, we can develop an avoidable attitude towards our anxiety. This attitude temporarily relieves our symptoms. But, on the other hand, it keeps them in time. Sometimes we simply repeat our exposure to anxiety, expecting to overcome our anxiety, but we can not do it. This can even be traumatic.
Methods of coping
Understanding what happens to us when we get anxious is the first step in coping with stress. At a later stage, we could try to reduce the physical symptoms.
-We could use some techniques, such as, for example, relaxation techniques or controlled breathing.
Another way is to engage our thoughts with other things that happen around us without “watching” our symptoms.
-The modification of unrealistic thoughts we do in a state of intense anxiety is a more complex but effective way of managing. We could (after we have recorded the thoughts we are making) write next to it, a balancing and more realistic thought: Think what you would say to a friend of yours who would think that way.
If we focus on a behavioral approach,
-the gradual exposure to stressful situations could help. In this case, it is a good idea to record the goals you want to achieve. By setting small goals and starting from the easiest, we can gradually overcome larger and more complex goals.
Whatever we choose in our effort, will help keep in mind that stress often reaches a limit and then begins to subside.
Stress can be disturbing or even terrifying, but it is manageable. Every effort to understand and deal with our difficulties brings us closer to our fears. It also brings us closer to our resources. That is, in our ability to overcome the difficulties, learn from our experiences and understand ourselves better.