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Stress: An enemy or a Friend


Syed Hammad Raza

Stress is undoubtedly the most common issue of our times but there is more to it than being just a health issue. While most people view stress as some sort of an enemy that makes them diseased, one that kills their social life, makes them lonely and creates suicidal tendencies, ironically it is quite opposite. No that might sound as a blind shot but believe my there are studies that back it up. The most potent study was the one conducted in America whereby the scientists track a group of 30000 Americans for 8 years to see how stress effects them and they used public death records to find out who died at who didn’t. What they found was that people, who mostly died of stress, were actually the people who thought of stress as a harmful thing. On the other hand people who were facing a high stress but didn’t thought of stress as a harmful thing were at a very low risk of dying even lower than the ones that were facing a little stress and thought of it as harmful. This research eventually proved that it’s not actually the stress but the way you think about it that affects you more. Now the question to as if disturbs your social life and makes you anti-social, well to you surprise this also is not true. Stress, ironically, makes you more social. Partly because when you are in stress you share it with people and partly because of the biologics. Ever heard of a hormone called Oxytocin or otherwise The Cuddle Hormone? It is a hormone which makes you more relaxed and more compassionate and the most important point being that it is a stress hormone, meaning that your body pumps this hormone in response to stress, which in turn pushes you to share and be more compassionate rather than just sitting lonely, but only if you choose to do so, only if you think of the stress this way. Of the various other functions of Oxytocin an important one is that it relaxes the blood vessels and helps the heart cells to rejuvenate. And these positive effects of Oxytocin increase when you reach out to people, so more stress, more social contact, more oxytocin, more compassion, even more social contact and even more oxytocin and the chain goes on. Another study that involved over a 1000 adults between ages 34 to 90 concluded that people who had maintained a regular human connection despite of their stresses showed 0% increase in the death rate because of stress. So what we can conclude is that the response of stress on your body is chosen by you, if you choose to think of stress as a positive thing you will get a positive response and if you chose to think of it the other way around you will get a negative effect. No one can run away from stress but we can change the way we think about the stress that we face, so the next time when you are stressed try to think of stress as your friend which is preparing your body to stand up to a bigger challenge and try to share it with your friends so that you get relieved.

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Vision 21 is Pakistan based non-profit, non- party Socio-Political organisation. We work through research and advocacy for developing and improving Human Capital, by focusing on Poverty and Misery Alleviation, Rights Awareness, Human Dignity, Women empowerment and Justice as a right and obligation. We act to promote and actively seek Human well-being and happiness by working side by side with the deprived and have-nots.

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