Archive for the ‘Stress Management.’ Category

Parents, friends cause of stress

Monday, October 8th, 2012

KUALA LUMPUR: Young Malaysians, especially students experience stress because of pressure from parents and peers.

National Population and Family Development Board chairman Tan Sri Datuk Napsiah Omar said children were pressured to score in examinations and almost had no time for leisure activities to help them unwind.

“It (stress) is mainly caused by competition among students striving to be the best,” she told the New Straits Times yesterday.

She pointed out the need for an understanding in children’s development to balance study and entertainment.

“Education is important, but this does not mean parents should risk their children’s mental health.”

Befrienders Kuala Lumpur executive director Vincent Pun said they received 21,600 calls and emails from young callers for help over relationship break-ups, interpersonal conflicts in school and at home, insecurity and family problems last year.

“Parents must play their part. When problems are identified, a family should start working on ways to solve them instead of avoiding them.

“If the problems are not resolved, they could lead to youths committing suicide.”

A report by the National Suicide Registry Malaysia estimated that between January and August 2010, 425 people committed suicide, averaging 60 cases per month.

National Parent-Teacher Association president Prof Datuk Dr Mohamad Ali Hassan said parents should be more aware of their children’s emotional status and added that the education system should be less taxing.

“Parents should spend more time with children instead of leaving them to struggle on their own as it may lead to suicide.

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Stress Management – Start Here!

Saturday, January 28th, 2012

Take action quickly when “cracks” start to appear.

© iStockphoto/kulicki

A lot of research has been conducted into stress over the last hundred years. Some of the theories behind it are now settled and accepted; others are still being researched and debated. During this time, there seems to have been something approaching open warfare between competing theories and definitions: Views have been passionately held and aggressively defended.

What complicates this is that intuitively we all feel that we know what stress is, as it is something we have all experienced. A definition should therefore be obvious… except that it is not.


Hans Selye was one of the founding fathers of stress research. His view in 1956 was that “stress is not necessarily something bad – it all depends on how you take it. The stress of exhilarating, creative successful work is beneficial, while that of failure, humiliation or infection is detrimental.” Selye believed that the biochemical effects of stress would be experienced irrespective of whether the situation was positive or negative.

Since then, a great deal of further research has been conducted, and ideas have moved on. Stress is now viewed as a “bad thing”, with a range of harmful biochemical and long-term effects. These effects have rarely been observed in positive situations.

The most commonly accepted definition of stress (mainly attributed to Richard S Lazarus) is that stress is a condition or feeling experienced when a person perceives that “demands exceed the personal and social resources the individual is able to mobilize.” In short, it’s what we feel when we think we’ve lost control of events.

This is the main definition used by this section of Mind Tools, although we also recognize that there is an intertwined instinctive stress response to unexpected events. The stress response inside us is therefore part instinct and part to do with the way we think.

Fight – or – Flight:

Some of the early research on stress (conducted by Walter Cannon in 1932) established the existence of the well-known “fight-or-flight” response. His work showed that when an organism experiences a shock orperceives a threat, it quickly releases hormones that help it to survive.

In humans, as in other animals, these hormones help us to run faster and fight harder. They increase heart rate and blood pressure, delivering more oxygen and blood sugar to power important muscles. They increase sweating in an effort to cool these muscles, and help them stay efficient. They divert blood away from the skin to the core of our bodies, reducing blood loss if we are damaged. As well as this, these hormones focus our attention on the threat, to the exclusion of everything else. All of this significantly improves our ability to survive life-threatening events.

Not only life-threatening events trigger this reaction: We experience it almost any time we come across something unexpected or something that frustrates our goals. When the threat is small, our response is small and we often do not notice it among the many other distractions of a stressful situation.

Unfortunately, this mobilization of the body for survival also has negative consequences. In this state, we are excitable, anxious, jumpy and irritable. This actually reduces our ability to work effectively with other people. With trembling and a pounding heart, we can find it difficult to execute precise, controlled skills. The intensity of our focus on survival interferes with our ability to make fine judgments by drawing information from many sources. We find ourselves more accident-prone and less able to make good decisions.

There are very few situations in modern working life where this response is useful. Most situations benefit from a calm, rational, controlled and socially sensitive approach.

In the short term, we need to keep this fight-or-flight response under control to be effective in our jobs. In the long term we need to keep it under control to avoid problems of poor health and burnout.

Introducing Stress Management:

There are very many proven skills that we can use to manage stress. These help us to remain calm and effective in high pressure situations, and help us avoid the problems of long term stress. In the rest of this section of Mind Tools, we look at some important techniques in each of these three groups.

This is a much-abridged excerpt from the ‘Understanding Stress and Stress Management’ module of the Mind Tools Stress Management Masterclass. As well as covering this material in more detail, it also discusses:

  • Long-term stress: The General Adaptation Syndrome and Burnout.
  • The Integrated Stress Response.
  • Stress and Health.
  • Stress and its Affect on the Way We Think.
  • Pressure & Performance: Flow and the ‘Inverted-U’.

These sections give you a deeper understanding of stress, helping you to develop your own stress management strategies for handling unique circumstances. Click here to find out more about the Stress Management Masterclass.

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Causes of Stress in Teenagers

Tuesday, July 5th, 2011

A world fueled with cut throat competition has its own set of problems. The demands of surviving in today’s world have undergone a huge change as compared to a decade ago. Whether it is getting good grades or excelling at sports, the competition has only become fierce. In such conditions, stress is an obvious side effect. Sometimes, stress helps you stay motivated and keeps you driven towards achieving your goals. However, if the stress gets too much to handle, it can lead to dire consequences with very serious repercussions. Many teenagers are victims of such kind of stress. To deal with it, it is important to understand causes of stress in teenagers. If the signs and symptoms of teenage stress go unrecognized for a long time, it can make your child emotionally imbalanced and stymied.

Common Causes of Stress in Teenagers

Change of School
Children have to move places, as parents change their jobs or if the family decides to move to a different place. This means, your child has to change schools, find new friends, adapt to the new social circle and fit into new groups. This change may seem justified to you, helping you in adapting to it faster and better. However, children often find it difficult to adapt to such changes, which can be a serious cause of stress in your teenager’s life. Moreover, as teenage brings with it a rebellious streak in children, it makes finding new friends and getting along with new social circles, a little complex than what is anticipated. As they fail to grasp the idea of changing schools, they get lonely, which worsens the problem.

Bullying at School
Bullying is an age old problem in school. There is always one person who would walk the extra mile to satisfy his selfish interests. To get what he wants, he may get into physical fights and verbal abuse. Getting bullied can make your child feel trapped and cornered. This can further affect your child’s social interactions and self confidence. Bunking school, staying at home and being scared all the time, are some of the signs of stress related to bullying at school.

Academic Difficulties
Academic difficulties, such as inability to understand a certain subject is one of the common causes of stress in teenagers. Not every child has an aptitude to understand every subject. Some kids need extra help besides school work, to grasp a few concepts. Poor academic performance is often laughed at and is looked down upon, by both teachers and peers. In such cases, it can make your child feel isolated, neglected and hurt. All of this, put together, can add to stress, which many a times worsens grades and aggravates the issues.

Relationship Issues
Relationship issues at home, such as divorce of parents, their separation or death of a family member can be one of the biggest causes of mounting stress in your child’s life. Teenage is the time when children explore acts of lying, covering up and other things which were termed as out of bounds so far. Such experiments are likely to get them caught up in fights with peers, leading to estranged relationships with them. As their closest friends and families break away, a teenager experiences emotions, which remained hidden until now. Such kind of emotional upheaval leads to unnecessary stress in your teenager’s life.

Extra Curricular Activities
Extra curricular activities such as playing a sport, refining some art forms or attending classes can weigh heavily on your child’s mind. Juggling between school and extra curricular activities does seem like a burden when you have to excel at both. When the pressures from both the ends gets unmanageable, teenagers tend to get overwhelmed and frazzled. Fatigue sets in, leading to stress related issues such as lack of concentration in school.

Great Expectations
Fulfilling expectations of parents, school teachers and peers can cause chronic stress. It is unfair to expect your child to excel at everything he does. Such great expectations is the main reason why children tend to reel in self-doubt and peer pressure. The constant demands from parents and micro monitoring of every activity, to ensure your child becomes the best at everything, can make your child emotionally and physically exhausted by the end of it.

by Mukta Gaikwad.

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How to Deal with Frustration at Work

Monday, June 20th, 2011
Frustration at workplace. The most common emotion experienced by almost all working professionals. A strong disappointment overpowers the positive affirmations within you and everything related to your work seem frugal. Why does this happen? Frustration comes when you fail to achieve your most coveted goals, when you are working under compulsion or if your job entails too much pressure without any productive results. Furthermore, if you are not mentally strong enough to counter corporate politics, excessive nepotism and unfavorable bureaucratic policies, then gradually, you become a victim of all these. Frustration also occurs when you consider the ambiance of your office, the quality of your work and the efficiency of your colleagues are not in par with your standard. This further affects your mental status while working.

Dealing with Frustration at Work

These are the most significant reasons behind frustration at workplace, which further manifests anger and creates self conflicting vibes. The more you challenge your will power to get out of the mixed affairs, the more frustrated you become. So how would to make a way through this impasse? What are the ways to deal with frustration at work? How can you pacify yourself? We provide you some fruitful ways over here to handle frustration and disappointment at office.

1. Focus on Yourself
You tend to become oblivious of your goal when you pay too much attention to others. Maintain a balance between yourself and your surrounding. Focus on your work and follow the right track to achieve your goal, instead of becoming despondent. Take active participation in meetings and official matters to express your opinions. This will keep you in the good books of your organization. Concentrate in your own work rather diverting your mind into the work of others. Sharpen your skills and potentials to climb up the ladder of growth. Introspect more on your present work profile and look for productive ways to achieve the goals of your life.

2. Keep a Good Company
You must know that frustration is highly contagious. If your co-worker moans constantly about his/her personal problems, then you are bound to get affected by it. Although, you have to mingle with diverse characters in a corporate sector, you can avoid mixing with frustrated people as much as possible. Learn to analyze different types of personalities and spend your leisure hours, amidst enthusiastic, professional and goal centric employees. People who toss their personal matters in office are actually the frustration inducers. Choose your friends carefully and engage yourself in discussions that make sense.

3. Visualize Positive Factors
Think on the reasons behind your frustration. No one has ever faced such a despicable situation where all means of getting out are blocked. Channelize your energy only in the positive direction. Draw a picture of your current profile and the positive aspects associated with it. When you are able to eliminate the negative traits completely, only then you can shrug off frustration quite effortlessly. This theory works wonders because frustration is also an outcome of negative emotions. Be positive and feel the positive vibes around you. You can also keep a note of such things and refer to them whenever needed.

4. Stop Procrastinating
Benjamin Franklin says, you may delay, but time will not. This is what exactly happens when you keep your work pending. The load piles up, the deadlines end and you are unable to achieve your target. Procrastination has dangerous consequences at workplace. How? You tend to postpone your work just to escape from the hardships. This definitely fetches momentary pleasure but when you make it a habit, the burden of work gradually becomes humongous. The ultimate consequences are, stress, exhaustion, pressure and frustration. Therefore, try to complete your work within the stipulated working hours and the given deadlines.

5. Share Your Feelings

by Saptakee Sengupta.

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Stress: Can We Cope?

Thursday, June 9th, 2011

As modern pressures take their toll doctors preach relaxation

“Rule No. 1 is, don’t sweat the small stuff. Rule No. 2 is, it’s all small stuff. And if you can’t fight and you can’t flee, flow.”

—University of Nebraska Cardiologist Robert Eliot, on how to cope with stress

It is the dawn of human history, and Homo sapiens steps out from his cave to watch the rising sun paint the horizon. Suddenly he hears a rustling in the forest. His muscles tense, his heart pounds, his breath comes rapidly as he locks eyes with a saber-toothed tiger. Should he fight or run for his life? He reaches down, picks up a sharp rock and hurls it. The animal snarls but disappears into the trees. The man feels his body go limp, his breathing ease. He returns to his darkened den to rest.

It is the start of another working day, and Homo sapiens steps out of his apartment building into the roar of rush hour. He picks his way through the traffic and arrives at the corner just in time to watch his bus pull away. Late for work, he opens his office door and finds the boss pacing inside. His report was due an hour ago, he is told; the client is furious. If he values his job, he had better have a good explanation. And, by the way, he can forget about taking a vacation this summer. The man eyes a paperweight on his desk and longs to throw it at his oppressor. Instead, he sits down, his stomach churning, his back muscles knotting, his blood pressure climbing. He reaches for a Maalox and an aspirin and has a sudden yearning for a dry martini, straight up.

The saber-toothed tiger is long gone, but the modern jungle is no less perilous. The sense of panic over a deadline, a tight plane connection, a reckless driver on one’s tail are the new beasts that can set the heart racing, the teeth on edge, the sweat streaming. These responses may have served our ancestors well; that extra burst of adrenaline got their muscles primed, their attention focused and their nerves ready for a sudden “fight or flight.” But try doing either one in today’s traffic jams or boardrooms. “The fight-or-flight emergency response is inappropriate to today’s social stresses,” says Harvard Cardiologist Herbert Benson, an expert on the subject. It is also dangerous. Says Psychiatrist Peter Knapp of Boston University: “When you get a Wall Street broker using the responses a cave man used to fight the elements, you’ve got a problem.”

Indeed we have. In the past 30 years, doctors and health officials have come to realize how heavy a toll stress is taking on the nation’s well being. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, two-thirds of office visits to family doctors are prompted by stress-related symptoms. At the same time, leaders of industry have become alarmed by the huge cost of such symptoms in absenteeism, company medical expenses and lost productivity. Based on national samples, these costs have been estimated at $50 billion to $75 billion a year, more than $750 for every U.S. worker. Stress is now known to be a major contributor, either directly or indirectly, to coronary heart disease, cancer, lung ailments, accidental injuries, cirrhosis of the liver and suicide—six of the leading causes of death in the U.S. Stress also plays a role in aggravating such diverse conditions as multiple sclerosis, diabetes, genital herpes and even trench mouth. It is a sorry sign of the times that the three bestselling drugs in the country are an ulcer medication (Tagamet), a hypertension drug (Inderal) and a tranquilizer (Valium). Concludes Dr. Joel Elkes, director of the behavioral medicine program at the University of Louisville: “Our mode of life itself, the way we live, is emerging as today’s principal cause of illness.”

by Claudia Wallis; Dick Thompson / San Francisco; Rudh Mehrtens Galvin / Boston.

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Study: Are Music-Loving Teens More Likely to Be Depressed?

Thursday, April 14th, 2011

Ed Snowshoe via Getty Images

Ed Snowshoe via Getty Images

Being plugged into an iPod is a hallmark of adolescence, but a new study suggests that teens who spend too much time listening to music may be at higher risk of depression.

The study, led by Dr. Brian Primack, an assistant professor of medicine and pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, found that teens who reported listening to music more often — rather than using other types of media like TV and books — were at higher risk of having major depressive disorder (MDD), compared with teens who listened to music less frequently. With each level increase in music use, teens had an 80% higher risk of depression, the study found.

The study didn’t measure total listening times, but based on previous data, the study authors estimated that teens in the highest-use group were likely listening to music for at least four or five hours a day. (More on Psychological Problems in Childhood Affect Earning Power and Relationships Later)

“At this point, it is not clear whether depressed people begin to listen to more music to escape, or whether listening to large amounts of music can lead to depression, or both,” said Primack in a statement.

By contrast, researchers found that reading books had the opposite association: with each level increase in time spent reading, teens’ risk of depression dropped 50%. “This is worth emphasizing because overall in the U.S., reading books is decreasing, while nearly all other forms of media use are increasing,” Primack said.

For the study, the researchers surveyed 106 participants aged seven to 17 for two months; 46 participants had been previously diagnosed with depression. Throughout the course of the study, researchers made frequent weekend phone calls to the teens in order to determine, in real time, what forms of media they were using, including television, music, video games, Internet, magazines and books. (More on Kids Under 6 Get Online Every Day)

On average, teens were most likely to be watching a movie or TV when researchers called (26% of the time). Teens reported listening to music 9% of the time, followed by Internet use and video gaming (6% each) and, finally, reading printed media (0.2%). (Sadly, the researchers wrote: “Because there were so few individuals who used magazines and/or newspapers, we combined these data with books into a single print media category.”)

by Amie Ninh.

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Helping students to manage stress

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

Defining stress is quite a difficult and complex process as it can mean different things to different people. Here, Tina Rae gives advice on how to recognise stress in your students, as well as detailing practical approaches at tackling it.

The word is subjective in the sense that it is person specific, similarly to words such as happiness, failure or success. Regardless, experiencing tensional stress is a normal part of everyday life for everyone. It is when young people experience too much stress that they become anxious, exhausted and tired and unable to function appropriately, both in the learning and social context. All of us have an optimum stress-level which allows us to function effectively and efficiently in our daily lives; what is vital is that students learn how to recognise these stress levels, and that they develop coping strategies to fall back on when they experience higher levels of stress. This will enable them to maintain a healthy balance of tension, growth, rest and self-nurturing. Students need to be able to focus and build up reactions that reduce stress alongside understanding, acknowledgement, and coping effectively with the sources of their individual stresses.

Stress symptoms

Students who are experiencing higher levels of stress may exhibit the following behaviours:

  • More aggressive or withdrawn behaviour
  • Feeling tearful
  • Eating disorders
  • Self-harming behaviours
  • School attendance problems
  • Attention needing
  • Dropping performance
  • Lying
  • Heightened aggression

Stephen Murgatroyd (1982) and his colleagues suggests that there are 10 potential stresses or crisis points which are specific to adolescence. It is essential that we acknowledge and understand these, and that in response we support students when developing their own self-help strategies.

The crisis points are described as follows:

  1. A feeling that they are falling short of standards and expectations
  2. Feelings of uncertainty and sometimes a fear of future choices
  3. Feeling fragmented – not feeling that he/she is a ‘whole’ person and yet also not knowing how to achieve such a goal
  4. Feeling too dependent upon others (particularly adults) and feeling unable to break free from such a dependence
  5. An unwillingness to set limits, even those that are known to be needed
  6. Being unsure in the work situation or in the future in a job
  7. Uncertainty regarding sexual roles/behaviour
  8. Difficulties in making and sustaining significant relationships
  9. Difficulties in coping with the range of emotions rising from our consciousness
  10. Finding difficulty in accepting responsibility.

As well as the obvious stressors that occur in school, students may face stressors outside school as well, such as:

  • Family financial problems
  • Family disharmony, especially between parents
  • Family break-up
  • Single parents
  • Bereavements
  • Abuse – physical, emotional and sexual
  • New partners for their parents
  • Moving home
  • Moving school
  • Friends moving away.

The ‘5 looks’

An extremely useful strategy for young people to develop and use is the ‘5 looks’. This is, in effect, a basic summary of effective solution-focused stress management as follows:

1. Look about!

  • Try to measure the level of stress you are coping with.
  • Try to include usual daily hassles and things that you have adapted to recently. Remember – not all changes are negative BUT they may be a drain on your energy.

2. Look to yourself!

  • Try to regularly reflect on your own symptoms – are you getting anxious or irritable?
  • Are you trying to do too much or becoming inactive?
  • Try to identify any changes that may be due to a build up of stress.
  • Try to THINK about the way you think, act and feel.

3. Look forwards!

  • Always try to think about SOLUTIONS and particularly focus on whether the solutions you choose will be useful both in the short and long-term.

4. Look back!

  • Think about what worked before and learn from the most helpful and useful patterns of behaviour and strategies.
  • Try to learn from the less helpful responses – what could you do differently next time?

5. Look after yourself!

  • Pace yourself and try to do one thing e.g. eat, rest, see friends etc without doing other things at the same time.
  • Use LISTS to aid memory and prioritise.
  • Take breaks when the pressure builds up.
  • Use breathing, relaxation and exercise and keep to a healthy diet and lifestyle.
  • Give yourself treats and rewards.
  • Try to reframe negative self-talk and respect yourself.
  • Try to enjoy life and your relationships!

by Tina Rae, a senior educational psychologist in the London Borough of Hillingdon and the emotional literacy co-ordinator for Chantry SEBD school in West Yiewsley. Tina has extensive experience of teaching, research, programme development and consultancy across the country

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Need for plan to overcome stress

Sunday, March 6th, 2011

MOST Malaysian students feel pressured. Apart from going to school and sitting for the numerous class tests and public exams, they are also required to attend co-curricular activities.

This is not all, there are also music lessons, art classes and even religious lessons their parents would insist on after school hours, besides rushing for tuition, just so that they excel in their studies and have the extra edge over their peers.

Education is the process to nurture and realise the human potential — intellectually, emotionally, mentally, spiritually and physically.

There is no doubt our country, Malaysia has one of Asia’s top education and schooling systems.

However, I think it is too examination and results-oriented with too much effort and focus being concentrated solely on academic achievements.

It neglects the mental, emotional, spiritual and physical development of the child. This has put all parties concerned — teachers, parents and students — under tremendous pressure.

The current system may have produced graduates of high intellect, but with poor living, social, communication and interactive skills.

Many also lack life-coping abilities and often suffer in silence when faced with difficulties.

These young people have little or no self confidence, self-esteem and emotional maturity in this very demanding and competitive world.

The situation is made worst by a materialistic and consumer-driven society!

Many cannot cope with the demands of society and this has resulted in them leading very frustrated, stressful and miserable lives.

Some have turned to alcohol, drugs, gambling and even crime to seek release from the everyday tensions of life. What is tragic is that many have suicidal tendencies as stated in your Cover Story under the heading “Driven and led astray by emotions” (StarEducation, Feb 13).

Perhaps it is time for the government to incorporate a more humane and holistic approach into our education system. Students could be taught life-coping skills where they learn to handle stress, failure, pain, peer pressure and other forms of negative culture.

Besides the government, parents, religious bodies, the private sector and the mass media have a role to play in helping combat stress and other shortcomings.

by David Tih.

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School pilot project to detect stress and depression among students

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

PUTRAJAYA: A rising number of youths suffering from mental health issues has prompted the Government to launch a pilot project in four secon­dary schools to identify and address the situation.

Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said the Health and Education ministries would jointly launch the project in the schools, which had been randomly selected.

The move was among efforts to identify those facing problems like stress and depression, and to help the students before the problems worsened and led to dire consequences, he said, adding that the increasing number of youths suffering from mental health issues was one reason such a programme was introduced at schools.

“According to my ministry’s National Health Mobility Survey, the number of people seeking medical attention for mental health problems was 10.6% in 1996 but this rose to 11.2%, with 6.4% having considered suicide, in 2006.

“We feel it is alarming that a high number of those seeking treatment in 2006 were those aged between 16 and 19, and those aged between 70 and 74 years,” Liow told a press conference after attending the Mental Health Advisory Council meeting here yesterday.

The pilot project, which will begin immediately, will be conducted at SM Sains in Teluk Intan, Perak; SMK Ahmad Badawi in Kepala Batas, Penang; SMK Simpang Bekok in Malacca; and SMK St Michael in Penampang, Sabah.

Under the project, students will be asked to take a mental health evaluation test to determine if they are facing any mental health issues and the level of the problem they are facing.

Liow said there were various reasons why those aged between 16 and 19 were more vulnerable to mental illness.

They included family problems and the inability to cope with the different kinds of pressure.

He said medication would also be given if experts who examined the students felt they needed it.

“We will take good care of them,” he said.

Mental Health Advisory Council member Dr Omar Mihat said the project would involve selected teachers being trained to translate the results of the tests and determine if students were suffering from problems and advise them on what they could do on their own to reduce stress or depression.

“The project will be over six months to gauge its effectiveness. We expect to introduce it in schools nationwide by the end of the year once we have ironed out any teething problems,” he said.

National Union of Teaching Profession (NUTP) secretary-general Lok Yim Pheng said such a mental health programme in schools needed careful implementation.

“Mental health is still a very sensitive issue in our society. Before the programme is carried out, it is very important that parents are aware of its objective and the mental health evaluation test that their children have to take,” she said when contacted yesterday.

National Parent-Teacher Association Collaborative Council president Assoc Prof Datuk Dr Mohamad Ali Hasan said the programme should aim at identifying the causes of and ways to help students overcome mental health problems.

“This programme should involve both students and their parents.

“It is important to determine students’ backgrounds to better understand the factors that make them suffer from mental problems,” he added.

by Dharmender Singh, Priya Kulasagaran and Kang Soon Chen.

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Flush Your Stress Down the Toilet

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

There’s something that you usually flush down the toilet. It doesn’t smell good, it looks just as bad and if you smell like it, nobody wants to be anywhere around you. That’s right, bad stress is like the brown thing that you flush down the toilet. There are two kinds of stress, good stress and bad stress. Good stress does all these cool things for you: -
•           Pushes you further up the success ladder
•           Keeps you excited about life
•           Gives you an adrenalin rush
•           Creates a sense of achievement once you conquer good stress

The evil part of stress, the bad stress does the opposite, uncool things to you.
•           Keeps you ineffective and unable to perform at work
•           Thus you earn less than your colleagues
•           You are more likely to be broke
•           You have less friends because there’s a permanent frown line on your brow
Like any regular toilet, if it’s not flushed it turns into toilets resembling your local neighborhood mamak.  Bad stress is like your local neighborhood mamak toilet, if you don’t flush your bad stress away, you will begin to stink like one. You will notice that fewer friends want to hang out with you, your colleagues will keep 10 feet away from you and you will not be invited to any parties. Visiting the mamak toilet is like an option of last resort, either wet your pants, or endure the stench. Do all your friends and loved ones a favour and don’t become like a mamak toilet.

How much stress we have in life does not come from external circumstances or events. It comes from: -
1.          How we interpret these events. Does this bad event have a positive meaning or is it all bad?

2.         Our ability to gain control of the event. Do we reach out when we have problems? Do we take action to organize our work or are we paralyzed by fear?

Rain at 5pm can mean two things. It can mean that the night will be cooler and it can also mean that the traffic will be worse. Choose to focus on the fact that the night will be cooler and that you will have a better night’s sleep. Don’t focus on the traffic. If you do focus on the traffic, the stress will envelope you, you will then go home with a big menacing frown and your loved ones won’t appreciate it. Take a second example; you are having a disagreement in the office. You can choose to focus on either the learning opportunity or the chance to understand your colleague better, or you can focus on his “supposed” disrespect to you. Focus on the learning and you will get a good outcome and less stress. Focus on the argument and you will be stressed and worked up the entire day. So do yourself a favour, flush the negative meaning down the toilet.

Stress can be defined as “Stress is a feeling we get when we perceive we are out of control”. So one way to control stress is to get in control. There’s lots of ways to gain control of your life. I believe the mother of all ways involve the three habits: -

a.         Set your goals every morning before your day begins
b.         Track what you do with your day.
c.         Review your entire day and see what you could have done better

Gain control of points 1 & 2 and you master your stress. If you would like to learn more on how to Flush Your Stress Down the Toilet, we are giving away a free e-book entitled “Flush Your Stress Down the Toilet”. For a copy, email

Edmond Yap
by Edmond Yap
Education Republic.

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