Stress is a condition that thrives here in the 21st century. It can manifest itself in many ways, and these include anxiety, irritability, general moodiness, feelings of helplessness, not being able to get motivated, and being depressed.
Becoming stressed can originate from many sources. Often the causes are multiple, as once you succumb, other activities and situations that you would typically handle and deal with, begin to wear you down and add to the load.
Common causes of stress
A common cause of stress is the workplace. This is particularly the case if you have a demanding job, or you are being subjected to some sort of bullying. Another widespread source of stress is money – or lack of it; something which all too many people here in South Africa experience.
Stress causes physical health problems too
Although stress is a mental condition, when it is prolonged, it can also have real, physical manifestations. Probably the most known physical illness associated with stress is high blood pressure, which of course can lead to heart disease if it is not diagnosed and treated quickly.
There are other manifestations too. These are perhaps not always thought of as being brought about by persistent stress, but they do exist, and they include things like problems with your digestion, trouble with sleeping, muscular pain, frequent headaches, and even changes to your sex drive.
Stress and anxiety attacks
Another symptom of severe stress is anxiety attack. These types of attacks make you feel as if you are having a heart attack. You can suffer chronic chest pain and breathlessness. Although there is no real danger to your physical health, you will nonetheless feel very ill.
The occurrence of anxiety attacks does not always correlate to an actual stressful event. Episodes often take place days and sometimes weeks after the event, which is why they often go undiagnosed for what they really are for extended lengths of time.
Financial stress in South Africa
Most South Africans find that they have to manage their money very carefully in order to get by. This often leads to financially induced stress which, if it is left to take hold, can lead victims into other stressful circumstances that exacerbate the problem. It is therefore essential to be aware of how to deal with stress brought about through money – or not having enough of it.
Stress is an insidious illness or condition. It destroys lives; not only the lives of people who are the victims of stress but those around them too. As mentioned above, stress can lead to depression, and in worst case scenarios, people who suffer from chronic depression sometimes end up taking their own lives.
The problem of stress in South Africa is not helped by the economic situation, and although this is now improving, the suicide rate in South Africa, much of which may be stress related, is a serious cause for concern.
Get a pet cat
On a lighter note, if you are susceptible to stress for whatever reason, perhaps you should consider getting a cat? According to recent research carried out in the UK, stroking a cat can counteract stress.
The purring noise that cats make triggers the manufacture of a happiness hormone in your brain. The research also found that cat-owners are between 18% and 20% less likely to suffer heart attacks and strokes.