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Anxiety and stress management

By Inam Ullah (Virtual University of Pakistan)
Anxiety has become a part of human life nowadays. Almost every person suffers from it, belonging to any sort of life. It can affect a person of any age and gender. It could develop because of many reasons. Normally stress is a natural response to an external threat and so it is useful to avoid danger. But when it becomes a part of life, it no longer benefits and definitely makes the person weak and ineffective in their life.
We all have experienced anxiety in any stage of our life. Some suffer it when they have problems in their family or relationship. Some get stress when things go wrong in their life, some experience it due to any physical illness. So these are the types of stress and we are all aware of these and it looks so normal.
But what, when it stays with you 24 hours a day and also does not leave you even when you are asleep? Yes, some people have this problem and they always feel stressed and anxious all the time, sometimes without any reason. This type of stress is definitely not beneficial for a person. And when someone gets this issue it really ruins their life.
When someone gets this type of un-beneficial stress for a long time it becomes permanent and it definitely needs attention to work on it. The good news is that stress can be managed and minimized by understanding the science behind it. Scientifically, stress is a response to any external threat. When our brain receives a signal of thread through the five senses. It quickly responses, it create a state which is called fight or flight mood. For example, a person is crossing the road and sees a truck coming to him. When he looks at the truck, his brain receives a signal of thread and immediately activates the fight or flight mood. Certain changes occur in his body. His brain increases hormone production and release too much cortisol in his blood stream. And his heart start pumping the blood more to the external organs like leg and arms to make him able to fight the danger or run away from it. His blood clotting increase, so if he will be injured he won’t loss excessive blood. Consequently, he runs and gets out of the danger. This process is so quick and natural even unconscious that it looks like the person didn’t know that how he avoided the danger. This is the science behind stress and anxiety.
So how can we manage and minimize our stress and anxiety. We have understood that stress results, when our brain gets signal of thread. And we can reduce our stress if we will change the signal which our brain gets from the five senses. It looks so simple. But it is the most difficult task. It takes time and effort to learn.
To fully understand it, first we will understand a philosophical theory by Dr. Victor Franklin. Dr. Victor Franklin says that “Between stimulus and response there is space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and freedom”. This quotation carries a very broad meaning. It describes that human has been blessed with a unique quality, due to which it has the superiority over all the species in the world. That unique quality of human is that it has the ability to think and consciously choose its reaction. Human is the only creature in the universe which can think and change its mind and react how it wants. So, franklin says that when any stimulus is given to any person, he has the ability to decide, how he has to react and response to the given stimulus. For example, if a person slaps you. It depends on you how will you react on it. You are free to choose your reaction. You are free to slap him back or forgive him. If you immediately react to any situation like this, it doesn’t mean that you haven’t chosen your reaction. Definitely, you have chosen your reaction and only you are responsible for how you react. But how you react immediately and after that you become sorry for what you did. Your immediate reaction occurs, because you have been programmed to react like that. And remember no one has programmed you like that. You have programmed yourself. You have taken the meaning of situations and things happened to you in that way. And you have practiced it so much that it has been pinned in your unconscious mind, and you are doing it automatically, and you think that you don’t have control on it. If you think and consciously choose your response and then practice it, you will definitely be able to react according to your free will.
Anxiety and stress have become the parts of our lives. Almost everyone is its sufferer. I have also suffered it a lot and I started to study about it. Finally I found that how it works and how it can be managed. If you learn that human has the ability to think and response to any external stimulus, you will definitely be able to change yourself. If you will start analyzing your reactions and you will do them with your conscious mind then you will free from the sorrows, stresses, and anxieties of the life. And definitely you will be happy.
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