Stress is a major health concern affecting not only the youth but also the young professional in this extremely competitive and cut throat world. One needs to learn how to manage and cope with stress. There are several methods of coping with stress.
Ankit Sahay is a second year economics student at the Delhi University. He is the captain of the college basketball team and also a star guitarist. He is also a part of a music band called Punkyard, where he is the lead guitarist. Life has been very good to him as he seems to have everything, almost. The college basketball team is more than a handful as it is a huge responsibility getting the team in shape in time of a tournament. His parents are however, not in favour of the band as they fear drug abuse and feel he is wasting his time there. By the end of the day, Ankit is completely exhausted and has no energy left for studies. Mr and Mrs Sahay are unable to understand as to why their son is lethargic and cranky at all times. They decide to take him to a doctor who probably could find what is wrong with the boy. The doctor unable to find any physical ailment in him suggests that he sees a psychologist who may be able to help him.
Ankit is not the only one suffering from the stress of being in the prime of their lives. Competitive lifestyle is driving the youth of our country over the hill. Neck to neck competition in today’s fast paced times has made it next to impossible to escape the clutches of some or the other form of stress. The young generation is surrounded by images of perfection propagated by their parents, media and peers. The right career, the perfect body, the latest style and the list goes on. They are never satisfied till they get it all and then move on to find newer pastures. In the process of attaining the best in everything, they stretch themselves too much and spread too thin as fragile as a pack of cards. When one hurtles in so many directions at one time, cracks are bound to appear and they ultimately break the young adults.
Youth is always associated with energy and vitality; however, these days it means unthinking brusqueness. The plethora of options available to the youth seems overwhelming and they are not sure of their choices or quite often they are choked by the limited choices deemed correct by their parents. They are under constant pressure of doing the right thing, always. Young men and women today, are facing an identity crisis in their lives as they tend to live under a façade to conform to their peers or get along with their superiors. To cope with this confusion they take to alcohol, drugs. Without an emotional anchor in their lives they get sucked into a whirlpool of vices from which they find it difficult to get out and take recourse to the extreme, suicide.
Parental Push and Shove
Parents play a pivotal role in understanding their child’s problems and in gently showing them the right direction. With the sociological changes that have taken place in India in the last decade, both parents often work and cannot spare time for their wards. Most often the midlife crisises in most couples’ lives coincide with the vulnerable age of their children thus widening the rift between busy parents and their stressed offspring. With the children moving out of their homes to study or to pursue their careers, it becomes difficult for them to have a dialogue to resolve any issues that may arise. Young people looking for help in other places often end in relationships they either cannot handle or cherish. These bad experiences scar them forever as they become casual to emotional bonding and deny themselves a firm foundation for the rest of their lives.
When Things Change
Stress is a psychological phenomenon and thus the symptoms vary from person to person. The most visible ones are however; very general and commonplace like depression, exhaustion and irritation. These changes cause a noticeable shift in the personality of the young person plagued by stress. Dropping grades and popularity further add to the downward spiral that one sets on. Prolonged stress ultimately leads to physical disorders as an unhealthy mind is synonymous with an unhealthy body. Indulging in smoking and drinking to beat the stress leads to lungs and liver dysfunction. Hurrying through their lives at a blinding pace they run out of their stamina and energy very fast and age descends upon them before time.
The youth of any country is the driving force behind its development and India is no exception. The propeller of our country’s leaps and bounds across the globe is under the grave scepter of stress and unless timely steps are taken the collapse of a whole generation can lead to the nemesis of a nation. The youth today needs help and awareness to deal with the stressful situations they encounter. As more and more young people turn to professional therapy the onus seems to have shifted from parents to shrinks. Parents should ideally be the primary source of rock solid support for the youth. They should notice the subtle signs of disturbance and address them immediately and tactfully. For this purpose even parents need to be aware on how to deal with fragile and volatile issues. Young people need an outlet for their pent up frustrations and fears, practices like meditation and a regular exercise regime can help in calming the disturbed mind. Organizations like’ Art of Living’ has programmes focused specifically on the youth and their problems.
Ankit is happy today; after help from his doctor and parents he has developed a positive outlook towards life and is capable of managing the many commitments of his life. As he looks forwards to a bright future, I think that everyone should take a leaf from his book and fight it out and not give up.
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