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Managing Stress, Relieving Oneself 

By Daisy Tabi Manda*

CameroonPostline –It’s surprising that people do not pay much attention to stress as far as health is concerned. They rather focus more on common illnesses like AIDS, malaria, typhoid and fevers.

Magdalene Munjongo, a nurse at Hope Outreach, a private clinic in Buea, says that “stress should not be neglected because it is an issue concerning our health. Stress is caused by many factors such as illnesses, the environment one lives in, dipping of feet into cold water, suppressed desire, poverty and thoughts. When we talk of suppressed desire we mean those things that some people were not allowed to do during their childhood.

Those desires remain in them and when they grow they become stressed up because they skipped a stage in their lives.” Munjungo said stress can result in illnesses, neglect of one’s body and appearance, disturbance in eating habits and agitation. She said mental illness and neurosis are diseases we must pay particular attention to when talking about stress.

“As I mentioned earlier about thoughts as a cause of stress, too much thinking affects our nervous system thus it can result in the illnesses I mentioned,” Munjungo told The Post.
She prescribed sports and good feeding habit, avoiding too much thinking as some of the things one could do to avoid stress. According to another nurse, Pen Ferry, who works at the Seventh Day Adventist Clinic in Buea, stress can be caused by occupational pressure.

“This is stress derived from our work or job. We also have family stress; it is not easy trying to please everybody in the family. As much as we try to fulfil their needs it becomes stressful. There is also sexual network stress, which comes as a result of relationships with our friends, partners, boyfriends or girlfriends,” Ferry said. The nurse said, although stress is not the sole cause of illnesses, when we are stressed we get sick. “It results in high blood pressure which can lead to heart attack. It may also generate a lot of health problems. Also, we have ageing.”

“There are many causes and many ways of dealing with stress, depending on the individual. When am stressed I go to the garden to relax. It is also good to take some time off in order to refresh your mind. In addition, do some exercises like sports. Get a hobby that enables you to feel better. It is important to take some events very seriously; that is when you are faced with a problem it is good to share it with someone or a pastor so that you will feel better. When you keep problems to yourself they affect you and you become stressed. You can go to church, read your Bible or the Koran depending on your religion,” Ferry advised.

He added that people should avoid the idea of smoking and drinking to solve their problems. “It is important to note that alcohol does not help matters, when you have a problem and drink alcohol during that moment you think the problem is solved because you are under the influence of alcohol,” he said.

Meanwhile, a Biology teacher says stress is equally caused by overfeeding, eating late in the night, excess alcohol intake and smoking, and excess movie watching. John said many people are still very ignorant as to what provokes stress, “so when one identifies what causes stress, it becomes a stepping stone to know what its effects are. Knowing its effects educates us on how to avoid stress. Sometimes people think a lot which tires the brain and could lead to psychosis and neurosis, because it affects our nervous system.”

The teacher said, when one is stressed up, it could be discerned in one’s dressing habits that is one tends to be shabby.  To others, their eating habits change in the sense that most of them tend to eat less or not eat at all. “This can degenerate to a disease. Some become agitated, making them cultivate other habits like smoking and drinking that increases stress,” said John.

He adds, “What we have failed to understand is, alcohol does not help solve our problems, instead when we have the notion of drinking to solve our problems it’s very bad. Alcohol only increases our problems and in turn we realise that we are more stressed than before.” Another outstanding fact concerning stress is those who suffer from high blood pressure should do their outmost best to stay away from being stressed.

“High blood patients when stressed risk the danger of their blood pressure increasing. So avoid being stressed to control your blood pressure,” John advises. He too prescribes sports, work, avoiding too much thinking and having a good feeding habit to control stress. For students, he advises them to avoid drinking excess Nescafe because it can cause a lot of stress and the dipping of feet in cold water to stay awake so as to read more.
*(UB Journalism Student on Internship)

First published in The Post print edition no 01375

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