A Common Psychological Issue amongst Pakistanis

Pakistan, a country with little to no demand for psychological care is overridden with mental illness.

According to Dawn News, Over 50 million Pakistanis suffer from mental illnesses (2016). Often these illnesses can be easily diagnosed, yet in many cases, these problems are not as apparent. One issue that is as common as it is overlooked is stress.

Stress can be defined as a disturbance in one’s life; this disturbance can be either physical or emotional or perhaps even both.

One should note that in mild levels, stress is not an unhealthy thing. In fact, it helps boost performance. However, when it becomes excessive (which it often does) various problems start to occur. Excessive stress can be very unhealthy and it has been linked to many problems relating to our heart, sleep, and our concentration. A study conducted in the 1950s found that more competitive and driven people (or type A’s) had higher occurrences of heart disease as compared to more laidback people with less stressful lives (type B’s). Stress is a common issue not only in Pakistan, but all over the world.

In Pakistan in particular, it is safe to say that there are a lot of sources of stress. One merely has to turn on the news to get there daily dose. One may get it from work, or from not having work, from school, from their family, from friends, and from society in general. Even worrying about past mistakes or the advent of a possibly difficult future is enough to cause one a lot of stress. Like a child with its mother, you will find it as the companion to almost every problem you face. That analogy works in two ways because essentially, all problems give birth to some stress.

Now a question that one might have at this point is “How do I cope with stress?” Many people have already found their own answers to this question. Some people smoke, some eat excessively while some take it out on their families. When faced with adversity, we will find our own ways to deal with it. While most of us already have answers to this question, one must take some time to reflect on whether are correct ones.

There are indeed many healthy ways to cope with stress. One of the most common is diaphragmatic breathing. This is done by taking deep breaths, as you inhale; the stomach expands instead of the chest. As you exhale, the stomach contracts instead of the chest. According to an article by Healthline, diaphragmatic breathing releases serotonin. This neurotransmitter is released during feelings of happiness. It helps control and reduce stress. Thus when in a stressful situation, remember to take a deep breath.

Another helpful way of releasing stress is exercise. Regular exercise not only improves health, but it also releases endorphins- ‘feel good’ hormones that ease stress.

There are plenty of other ways to deal with stress, and one can make many changes in one’s life to reduce it. A more comprehensive resource on coping with stress can be found at Psych Central.

At the end of the day, life goes on, and it will keep going on, but at some point, we must wonder if we’re doing what we can, to make this life a peaceful one. That is why Psychology is important. Not only for those with mental illnesses, but also for “healthy” people. No man is perfect, nor can he ever be perfect, yet there is always room for improvement in life.

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