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Stressed Out of Life

Question and answer details
Reem Abdalla
Stressed Out of Life
2006-11-27
As salamu `alaykum   Lately I have been dealing with a lot of issues like having a hard time starting my own business, the pressure of finding a husband and recently my aunt passed away. So I'm not sure whether my problem is stree related.   You see during Ramadan I, al hamdu lillah increased my worship. After some time of reading the Qur`an I have begun to understand the message that this life is fleeting and not to get caught up in it at all. This has lead me to feel that everything is so insignificant. Nothing is important anymore and I feel like I am just really waiting to die.   I still pray and everything, but I feel lifeless inside. Everyday I wake up and I follow the same mundane routine. I feel like I have to turn into a zombie and that I have nothing to live for. Maybe my attitude may change once I get my life on track, but I can't shake off this feeling. Is it wrong to feel this way? What should I do?   Thank you for your time…
Hwaa Irfan
Answer
As salamu `alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh me dear sister and may your increased worship and prayers be answered in sha'Allah.

 

They say events happen in threes!

 

One can be knocked off ones feet when a series of sad events take place one after the other. How one reacts to those events differ and the affects might not fully surface until we take time out. This Ramadan was time out for you, al hamdu lillah, and it a time I appreciate because I can take time out of the momentum of the year. It seems that the events have affected your perception and understanding of the main leeson you learnt this Ramadan and has left you feeling unable to resume your life as it was before, and neither should you be expected to. You kept on struggling each day and probably hid from yourself for a while in order to keep on going. Al hamdu lillah  that Ramadan came when it did and allowed you to slow down, but you should try to distinguish between what you learnt and how you have really been feeling.

 

Our thoughts and feelings influence the body via the nervous system and the circulatory system. The brain reaches into the body through nerve impulses throughout the body's tissues, the endocrine system, the bones, muscles, internal organs and the walls of the veins and arteries. Stress can affect the heart rate. The brain as a gland releases many chemicals into the bloodstream as well as receive nerve impulses.

Stress ( the instinctual fright or flight response) can affect people in different ways. For some the affects demonstrate themselves through ones health, others through a need to always be distracted/busy, and for some it is a mental process. Stress can take on the following forms:

  • Problems with memory
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Shorten attention span
  • Confusion
  • Repetitive or continual thoughts
  • Misunderstand what others tell you
  • Poor judgment
  • Desire to escape
    Headaches
  • Digestive disorders
  • Muscle tension and pain
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Fatigue
  • Chest pains, irregular heartbeat
  • High blood pressure
  • Weight gain/loss
  • Hair loss
  • Shortness of breath
  • Skin problems
  • Periodontal disease, jaw pain
  • Reproductive problems, such as missed periods
  • Immune system suppression
  • Sweatiness
  • Disinterested in fun
  • Mood swings
  • Restlessness
  • Frustration
  • Anger/resentment
  • Unwarranted jealousy
  • Irritable
  • Overwhelmed
  • Anxiety
  • Fear of failure
  • Inadequacy/reduced confidence
  • Depression
  • Apathy
  • Desire to cry
  • Eat more/less
  • Sleep too much/ too little
  • Isolate yourself from others,
  • Stay home from work/stay at work extended hours
  • Increase consumption of tobacco/alcohol/drugs/caffeine
  • Grind your teeth
  • Laugh/cry at inappropriate times
  • Overdo activities
  • Become bossy/inflexible
  • Lose your temper
  • Argumentative/violent
  • Take inappropriate risks
  • Road rage

Stress is a natural way of coping with lifes pressures resulting in changes in the body , but if the stress response is maintained, there is negative impact. Physiologically the body's immune system is compromised and one is less able to abosrb the necessary vitamins and minerals.

 

Stress can also be self-induced and takes the following forms:

  • irresponsible behavior
  • poor health habits
  • negative attitudes and feelings
  • unrealistic expectations
  • perfectionism

Maintained over a long period of time, natural stress can develop into Acute Stress Disorder which is a reaction to a traumatic event. Generally the symptoms can approximately take up to a month to appear. The symptoms are:

 

  • Intense fear, horror, helplessness
  • Detached, emotionally disabled
  • Reduced awareness of ones surroundings
  • Depersonalization
  • Disassociative amnesia (the inability to recall an important aspect of the trauma
  • Distress when anything reminds one of the trauma
  • Anxiety, increased arousal (irritability, difficulty sleeping, poor concentration, hypervigilent, exaggerated response, restlessness

Stress Management

 

Try one or more of the following:

 

  • Relaxation techniques
  • Support system
  • Time management
  • Exercise
  • "Time out"
  • Positive self talk
  • Acknowledge strengths and be proud of them
  • Do not judge self by unrealistic standards
  • Do not compare self to others
  • Work at overcoming obstacles
  • Accept things that cannot be changed
  • Develop positive relationships
  • Trust yourself and your values
  • Find something enjoyable to do
  • Avoid self put-downs
  • Laughing
  • Exercising
  • Proper nutrition
  • Correct breathing techniques
  • Meditation/make the most of prayer time/dhikr
  • Yoga

The loss of a loved one can make one realize the purpose of ones life or the purposelessness in ones life. The beauty of Allah's grand plan is that no life is ever wasted, it is only we who waste the life we live or/and the lives of others and in Islam, this is indeed a sin.

 

"The implication here is awareness, constant, perpetual, self-effulgent awareness for its own sake, and not an awareness of any particular created thing. Awareness of something is ghaflah –????  – (distraction), because it then we will miss some other thing. But if we have a pure awareness, then we are open and made available, and the knowledge we need in any circumstance will come to us... If we are sensitive enough, we find meaning in every breath, and then every occurrence that takes place in front of us has meaning. But we are generally insensitive, and if we do not see it as it passes, then it is gone forever and we have missed it…Every split second Allah is giving us a meaning in order to show us the total ecological balance in this existence, the mizan – ????  - (balance)" – Sheikh Fadhlalla Haeri.

 

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