Being an adult is a stress.

Let’s not get into how stressful it is trying to adult in the Zimbabwean economy.

What is stress?

If you have to ask then you’ve probably never experienced it. Or you’ve misdiagnosed it as mental illness or anger management issues.

Stress is the body’s way of dealing with threats. These threats may be real or imagined. When feeling threatened, your body goes into flight-or-fight mode and starts a chemical reaction.

How do you know that you’re stressed?

Symptoms of stress include irritability, frustration, mood swings, difficulty quieting the mind, inability to focus, pessimism, forgetfulness and avoid other human beings. Physical symptoms include low energy, headaches, digestive system problems, insomnia and frequent colds and infections.

Where does stress come from?

I have an overactive imagination. I need it for the line of work that I do. But sometimes my imagination gets proactive and starts doing pro bono work. This is the main source of my stress. I worry too much. About anything and everything from the past to the present and to a future where I may or may not exist. I worry about my sisters, my mom, my job and myself. My idle mind is the devil’s playground.

How do you cope with stress?

When I feel overwhelmed, I sit down and list all of the things that are on my mind. Once I have that list, I will start to deal with them one by one. What can be fixed gets fixed and what cannot be repaired I make peace with and move past it. Writing it down on paper tends to remove the feeling of being overwhelmed. You’ll realise that it’s only a short list but your mind has blown it way out of proportion. I also find that praying works. Take it to the Lord in prayer.

How not to deal with stress

Stress is like a bill, it needs your urgent attention or else it will continue to grow. How we deal with stress differs but never try to ignore it. Your body will let you know that you aren’t coping. Take a step back and recalibrate your life. Sex, drugs and alcohol will make it better for the short term but once the high is over, you’ll feel worse off than before.

What are some of your stress coping mechanisms?