Home African Caribbean Is Stress A Modern-Day Phenomenon Or A Myth?

Is Stress A Modern-Day Phenomenon Or A Myth?

by Tony Kelly
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Tony Kelly resident Diabetes expert

Recently I have attended a few health conferences and stress has been featured at each by various healthcare professionals. That is certainly not a coincidence but a reality of everyday life, so it is really good to see it being acknowledged and discussed. Stress was  not a word one used to hear mentioned  in years gone by but unfortunately it is commonly referred to now and some might wonder what is the reason for that. Stress is defined as a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding  circumstances. Hence anxiety, worry, fret, botheration and tension are all factors that can increase  levels of stress.

Several tips have been shared with participants  at the aforementioned health conferences and along with others that I am aware, are listed in this my fortnightly Caribdirect.com article.  How to recognize and deal with stress  can at times be difficult as sometimes the stressed person is not aware of the symptoms associated with this modern-day phenomenon. The life of people in a by gone era was simple and effective without all the  distractions  and pressures that exist now.  Every day stress, work-related stress, stress in relationships, stress in the run-up to Christmas, exam stress,  stress whilst coping with a bereavement, stress of planning for celebratory events, stress of meeting targets or deadlines and stress in competitive situations are just a  few  of an endless list that we  have to face and cope with these days.

For example, some people choose to pay for an event planner  for weddings/birthday parties and leave that person to organize everything in order that they can remain stress free. What can be  annoying and often exacerbates stress levels is when one is reliant/dependent on someone else and they fail to deliver in such a situation.  One should always  have a plan b or plan c as a back-up in  case things do not work out.

Stresses of parenthood and caring for the elderly  are so different these days  as are being a working parent, juggling family life including the early morning school routine and supervising homework which add  extra dimensions to the equation. Social media websites and television constantly bombard us with adverts leading to added pressure for the ‘I want’ society instead of emphasis on ‘I need’.      

Laughter is often seen as the best medicine and watching a comedy to get what is sometimes referred to as belly laugh can be therapeutic. Alongside that too is the ability to shed tears instead of suppressing feelings and emotions. Simply put ‘let it go’ by releasing whatever is inside so that one does not end up erupting like a volcano or a pressure cooker. The difference between suppressed and repressed stress  is where suppression can sometimes be a good short-term solution as long as one makes sure to address  those emotions sooner rather than later. Repressed emotions on the other hand don’t get a chance to be processed and they don’t simply disappear but fester  and cause a range of psychological and physical problems. The well-known cliché ‘It is good to talk’ can improve mental health and by so doing counteract stress.

As stated, if not managed properly stress can lead to  many mental and physical illnesses and for a start increases ones level of hypertension (high blood pressure) which  can have dire consequences on the heart.  Should ones stress levels become unbearable there are stress management courses and some are through a referral from one’s doctor.  So cognitive behavioral therapy or other forms of counselling are  solution focused  as coping mechanisms for managing stress vary a great deal and sometimes it might be trial and error  to decide which is best since it is not a one-sized glove approach.

Here is some more advice for relieving stress and increasing  relaxation:

  1. Squeeze a soft ball repeatedly
  2. Burst the bubble wrappings
  3. Deep breathing techniques
  4. Pray
  5. Meditate
  6. Practise yoga or tai-chi
  7. Sleep at least seven hours and have a cat-nap in the afternoon. Siestas are common in the Mediterranean
  8. Have a body massage
  9. Listen to classical music
  10. Invest in a water feature or relax by the sea, river or stream where one can hear the sound of running water
  11. Pilates
  12. Dim bright lights if connected to a dimmer switch
  13. Light scented candles and/or aroma sticks
  14. Have a warm bath
  15. Switch off electronic devices such as iPad, computers and mobile phones

Sonia my cousin in London sent me below an apt  WhatsApp message so placing it here:


Good morning, my brethren in Christ Jesus. 

Luke 12:25 “Who of you by worrying stress can add a single  hour to your life?” 

Philippians 4:6, ” Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything,  by prayer and petition  with thanksgiving,  present your requests to God.
My brethren, each day, has enough trouble of its own. Stop worrying and start praying and living.”

Stress is still one of the main causes of physical and mental diseases, even killer diseases. But what do we do about it?

Psalms 94:19, “In the multitude of my anxieties (stress) within me, Your comforts delight my soul.” The best remedy is to rest in God’s presence, trusting Him in challenging times.

We must be overwhelmed by His peace and not by our crisis. Stop the life of rat race, and start living by God’s grace.

Do not be stressed about anything. Instead, pray about everything, then you’ll have peace in your heart, mind.

Have a joyful week. 
Stay prayerful stay faithful and stay focus.

Rev. Richard Ade-Martins.                  
Fear of the Lord is wisdom and discipline.

Tony Kelly

Tony Kelly

London born Tony Kelly of Jamaican parents grew up in Jamaica and returned to live in Birmingham in 1979.
He is a graduate of Mico Teachers’ College and taught in Kingston high schools prior to working for 30+ years as a middle manager in central and local government with an emphasis on equity, equality, diversity and inclusion. He has a masters’ degree in socio-legal studies from the university of Birmingham.
For over a decade Tony has volunteered as a diabetes ambassador firstly for Diabetes UK and now for the National Health Service – Birmingham and Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group. A multi-award winner doing a yearly average of 150 health and well-being events, locally, nationally and internationally focusing on type 2 diabetes. He was diagnosed with this medical condition 18 years ago. However with a combination of physical activity and diet he has never taken medication thus proving with the right mindset and discipline it can be achieved.
As a diabetes advocate/activist Tony will continue delivering the message of healthy options to readers of CaribDirect.com .


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