Stress management: Studies indicate that people who spend time caring for others show no stress related increase in dying because caring creates resilience.
The last few weeks have been awash with news about deaths – deaths of people on road accidents, deaths due to medical negligence, and deaths caused by loved ones turning against loves ones. The first two are not a subject of my discussion today. What has really traumatized me is the rate at which love has turned sour. Why would a couple fighting kill and bury their baby in secret? What would make a friend to cut off a child’s head and take her blood? What mistake would a family have done for the father to kill all the children, wife and later commit suicide? More often than not, close relatives and allies describe the culprits of these heinous acts as calm and peaceful. How can a calm and peaceful person suddenly become so beastly to his own best friends?
More murder cases
The trend seems to be the same world over. In the USA, cases of homicide are on the increase. Official statistics in every African country shows that murder cases are on the increase. In South Africa for example, the murder rate increased by 4.9 per cent to more than 50 people killed every day, in the 12 months to March 2016. All these actions may be a result of an underlying problem that only reveals itself at the stage of despair. Stress and depression best describes this condition.
How do certain people cope with the stress, and does it help if you have the right philosophy or disposition?
For those of us working in modern corporations, we see the impact of stress all too frequently, and the result too often is sub-optimal performance.
Health psychologists in their bid to make people healthier teach people that stress makes them sick. Kelly McGonigal, a health psychologist changed her approach to stress management after the release of a report with damning statistics. This study tracked 30,000 adults in the US for 8 years and started by asking people how much stress they have experienced in the last year. People who had a lot of stress, and believed that stress is harmful to their health had a 43 per cent increased risk of dying. 182,000 people died prematurely not out of stress but out of the belief that stress would kill them. This sent McGonigal thinking: Can changing what you think about stress make you healthier? When you change your mind about stress, can your body respond better to stress?
McGonigal believes that when you view the stress response as helpful, you will be less stressed out, less anxious and more confident. This is because how one thinks about stress matters. “Your stress response has a built in mechanism for stress resilience. That mechanism is human connections,” says McGonigal in a Ted recording titled How to make stress your friend. Studies indicate that people who spend time caring for others show no stress related increase in dying because caring creates resilience. How you think and how you act can transform your experiences in dealing with stress. You can trust yourself to handle life challenges and you don’t have to face them alone.