Mental HealthSpecialties

Facing The Same Stress Of The Pandemic: Why People React Differently

3 Mins read
  • Many people are reacting in very different ways to the COVID-19 pandemic. Here's what to know about why this is happening

It is extremely rare to live a situation common to all, but it is what the coronavirus crisis has managed to do. It has placed everyone in front of a stressful event which they had to deal with, and they did so in different ways. Naturally, the personal elements in each individual’s life have played a great part into their reaction, but there are other global reasons that can explain their behaviour.

The Need to Manage Stress

Although we deal with stress in various ways, we all have the common need to be able to find solutions which will enable us to manage our stress. Too much anxiety left unchecked will rapidly become a ticking bomb. That’s why was created to help individuals find ways to take control over the stress they are living. No one should simply hope for stress to alleviate by itself, especially today, going through a pandemic that doesn’t seem to want to go away.

Letting stress control our life should not be an option because the damage it can cause is simply too great. By learning the techniques to protect yourself against an overload of stress, you can suddenly regain your energy. Without that energy, it is difficult to remain on top of your day and therefore it only creates more tension in your life. Managing stress will also help you to sleep better, another element in your life which will help you replenish the battery. Overall, when you take charge of your stress, you will enjoy a stronger mental health that will make it easier to face the new stressors that will come your way.

Understanding How Stress Affects Us

Because the reaction to stress is different for everyone, it is crucial to be aware of how it affects us, personally. It is the only way we’ll be able to recognize the signs of depression, which in the worst-case scenario can lead to fatal result, if not treated properly and rapidly.

With some people, stress is visible physically, which can help since other people around them can notice and ring the alarm bell. But for some other, it is much more insidious and can suddenly develop into symptoms without having been aware that they were building inside the individuals. In these cases, it is particularly important to already have developed the necessary protective barriers.

Coping with Stress: Problem Focused vs Emotion Focused

There are two main ways to cope with stress: Problem focused coping and emotion focused coping. The first implies that you will try to remove the source of the problem in order to remove the stress element from your life. However, when you find yourself in a situation such as the sanitary crisis caused by COVID-19, you cannot do so. That creates a real problem for those who use the method of problem focused coping.

On the other hand, the individuals who react through emotion focused coping will simply try to reduce or eliminate the emotional distress caused by the situation they are living through. It is a much better way to face the pandemic as it enables the individual to accept his fate and wait patiently for it to resolve itself.

The Dangers

Someone suffering from stress for a long period of time is at risk of many different illnesses. The strain on the mind weakens the body, and it leaves it fragile to such diseases as cancer, lung problems and cirrhosis of the liver. If pushed too far, men and women can suffer from cardiomyopathy (broken heart syndrome), which will cause chest pains and faintness, with shortness of breath. The heartbeat suddenly becomes irregular, and it feels like the person is having a heart attack. A large amount of anxiety caused by stress in children will even lead them to develop mental health issues as they grow older, which if not treated properly and rapidly could remain with them for the rest of their lives.

Great lengths of stress can also cause important changes to your physical appearance. First, it can make you gain an important amount of weight. In fact, American researchers in Florida found that in periods of stress a person can develop an eating disorder which will make him eat 40% more than usual. It can also make you age rapidly as signs such as wrinkles, weak muscles and poor eyesight start developing. Another group of American researchers from California have demonstrated that stress shortens telomeres, which is the structure at the end of chromosomes, preventing new cell to grow back as quickly as they should.

But the most dangerous problem of not coping with a stressful situation is that it can easily degenerate. Someone who is unable to deal with an event can fall into denial, or he can start distancing himself from others. Then, this person will move on to self-blame and isolation, which when coupled with consumption of alcohol or drugs can then lead to aggressive behaviour such as domestic violence or suicide.

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