Imagine yourself caught in the middle of a colossal traffic jam. There is an important function / meeting to attend and you are getting tensed up with every lost minute. You start to curse the public administration system and also yourself for taking this inopportune route to office. You can hear your heart pounding hard. There is a burning sensation in your stomach. Your breathing pattern becomes more pronounced. Though the vehicle's air-conditioning is on, you start to sweat. Thinking about the repercussions of this quagmire makes you even more worked up. Stress is nothing but such situations of bodily or mental tensions that tend to alter our existing equilibrium. Prolonged / frequent exposure to such circumstances can wreak havoc in our physiological harmony.

The word "Stress" is derived from the Latin word "stringere", meaning to draw tight, and was used in the seventeenth century to describe hardship and affliction. During the late eighteenth century, stress denoted 'force, pressure, strain, or strong effort', referring primarily to an individual, or to the individual's organs or mental powers. In the 1970s Richard S. Lazarus suggested that an individual's stress reaction 'depends on how the person interprets or appraises (consciously or unconsciously) the significance of a harmful, threatening, or challenging event. 'Lazarus' work disagrees with those who see stress simply as environmental pressure. Instead, the intensity of the stress experience is determined significantly by how well people feel that they can cope with an identified threat.

Understanding the stress factors in our life is the first step towards de-stressing. The world has changed a lot in the recent years. The taxonomical implications of living in an "interconnected world" are many. From the way we work to the way we live, things have become fast paced and complex. There is a sense of urgency in everything that we do. Stress has become a part of life. It is a global phenomenon. We cannot change the world we live in but we can definitely change our perception. Managing stress or de-stressing is more about self management. It depends on how best we can control our mind and adapt to the situation on hand.

There are many methods for de-stressing and energizing. Meditation, Yoga, Physical activities and Music are some of the best mediums for detoxification. But every individual has to find his/her own stress busters. What best works for us is ultimately in our own hands. The sooner we find it, better we will be able to lead a stress-free life.

Always remember that if we do not de-stress, we are not far away from distress.

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