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  • Malkiat Singh Duhra

Stress in Children and Adults

Stress is a natural human response that promotes us to address challenges and threats in our lives. Everyone experiences stress to some degree. It is a state of worry or mental tension caused by a difficult situation. As your body perceives stress, your adrenal glands make and release the hormone cortisol into your blood stream, cortisol causes an increase in your blood sugar, heart rate, and blood pressure to face the situation.

We live in a time of increased stress in the world. Like adults, many children are struggling right now with stress. We are going through many drastic shifts in the world. But there are many other things that can also lead to stress in children like negative situation at home, violence in school or exams. Even positive changes like moving to a bigger house or making new friends. Parents can help the child and support by guiding how to manage it. Small amounts of stress can be good for us and motivate us to achieve goals like taking an exam or giving a speech. But too much of it, especially when it feels out of control, can negatively impact your mood, physical and mental wellbeing and relationships.

Children may face difficult or painful situations. The following are some causes of stress:

1. Negative thoughts or feeling about themselves.

2. Changes in their bodies like beginning of puberty.

3. The demands of school like exams and more homework as they get more older.

4. Problems with friends at school and socializing.

5. Big changes like changing schools or separation of parents.

6. Chronic illness, financial problems in the family or the death of the loved one.

7. Unsafe environments at home, at school or in the neighbourhood.

8. Children and adolescents don’t always have the emotion, intelligence or vocabulary to express themselves fully, while younger children may lack an understanding of what is truly happening because of their age and level of development.

Helping Your Child:

1. Spot the triggers when they feel stressed.

2. Respond with love.

3. Be a role model.

4. Promote positive thinking.

5. Support healthy habits— sleep timely, study properly, complete homework, play games and eat in a timely manner.

In case of adults, stress is a part of being human, and it can motivate you to get things done. Even high stress from serious illness, job loss, a death in the family, or painful event - can be a natural part of life. You may feel down or anxious and that is normal too for a while. If you feel down or anxious for more than several weeks then talk to your doctor. Common symptoms are— chest pain , headache, upset stomach, trouble in sleeping, and high blood pressure.

How to Handle Stress:

1. Always keep a positive attitude and believe that life is a combination of happiness and sadness.

2. Be assertive instead of aggressive. Assert your feelings, opinions, or beliefs instead of becoming angry, defensive, or passive.

3. Accept that there are events that you cannot control.

4. Learn to manage your time more effectively.

5. Set limits appropriately and say no to requests that would create excessive stress in your life.

6. Make time for hobbies and interests.

7. Don’t rely on alcohol, drugs, or compulsive behaviours to reduce stress. Drugs and alcohol can stress your body even more.

8. Seek out social support. Spend enough time with those you love.

9. Seek treatment with a psychologist or other mental health professional trained in stress management or biofeedback techniques to learn more healthy ways of dealing with the stress in your life.

10. Best treatment is — be mentally strong, exercise, eat timely, be punctual, do hard work, be honest, share and support the needy persons if you afford, trust in yourself/God (God is within you), and give up greed, anger, and jealousy.

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