As the teacher passed out the test, I saw the sheet slowly fall in front of me and glide across my desk. I felt the sweat build up as I looked down at the questions. I was nervous. All sorts of thoughts rushed through my mind. Was I ready? How hard could the questions be? I flipped through the paper until I reached the last one. Only 10 questions. I took a deep breath as I slowly lifted my pencil. One question down, nine to go. Two questions down, eight to go. Three questions down, seven to go. As I approached the end of the test, I found that I was stuck, almost like I was stuck in a rut, or slowly being pulled away by quicksand. I read the problem over and over looking for the missing details. I began to fiddle with my pencil. I was thinking about the problem for what felt like hours but was only about three minutes. I came to the conclusion that I was not ready for this test. Suddenly, I remembered that this was only a practice test and I was allowed to ask questions about what was on the sheet. I raised my hand nervously as I waited to get the teachers attention, she saw my hand raised in the air and approached me. I nervously asked her what formula I needed and she gave it to me. I then looked down at my sheet as she left. I was nervous but my confidence rose. I began to write as I had found my way through the roadblock and finished the sheet. My brain relaxed and I waited till the test concluded.

Have you ever felt like your thoughts were going to overflow in despair because of internal or external frustration? Or, has a single question kept you awake all night, luring over all possible outcomes? Chances are that you were feeling stressed, causing you to feel overwhelmed and distraught. However, are these just your emotions? What causes stress to occur? What does stress really mean?

Stress is a feeling of emotional or physical tension. Stress can be caused by frustration, confusion or even an imbalance of emotions. It is essentially the way in which your body reacts to challenges. There are two main types of stress: acute stress and chronic stress. Acute stress is your body’s way of protecting yourself. An example of acute stress could be if you are skiing down a hill at high speed. In this case, acute stress would kick in, causing you to feel an adrenaline rush through your veins. This type of stress does not usually last very long as it is temporary. On the other hand, chronic stress is long-term stress and can become unhealthy if it prolongs. Individuals may feel the nerves transcend through their body, but how does one check or even identify what type of stress they are experiencing?

The first step to identifying your stress is familiarizing yourself with its symptoms. Most people are used to being stressed, therefore, do not recognize it until it gets out of hand and they are in physical and mental discomfort. Some symptoms include: fatigue, lack of energy, diarrhea, developing a stiff jaw line or neck or even an extreme lack of, or excessive sleep. Despite acknowledging the symptoms, it is crucial to be able to identify methods to prevent stress in the first place.

Stress has a variety of ways it can be triggered since it is situational. Stress is also experienced at many different durations. A little bit of stress is not something to be worried about. Ongoing chronic stress, however, can cause one to face serious health issues such as his blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, depression and anxiety or even skin problems.

Stress does not fade away in thin air without any action being taken. Stress is natural and all individuals will face it at some point in their lives. There are various routes one can take to manage their stress from overwhelming them and even preventing chronic stress. It could be helpful to see a doctor and evaluate the symptoms, see a counselor to talk about one’s thoughts and feelings, gain perspective from them and allow them to help you manage stress. Meditation is a key practice that can help individuals focus on their breathing and calm their nerves. Bruce Lee once said “it’s not a daily increase but a daily decrease” this is true since you should try balancing what is in front of you.