MANAGING STRESS AND DEPRESSION AS SCHOLARS IN A DEPRESSED ECONOMY (NIGERIAN YOUNG ACADEMY (NYA) SOCIAL SCIENCES/HUMANITIES WG ONLINE SEMINAR/INTERACTIVE SESSION, 1-2-2023)
MANAGING STRESS AND DEPRESSION AS SCHOLARS IN A DEPRESSED ECONOMY
(NYA SS/HUM WG INTERACTIVE SESSION)
01 FEB. 2023
Definition of Terms
- Stress – Any event that strains(stretches) or exceeds an individual’s ability to cope.
- Frustration – Being unable to satisfy a motive.
- Conflict – When two or more motives cannot be satisfied because they interfere with each other. Sadly, we are currently at this stage and we need a way out.
- Pressure – A kind of stress that arises from the threat of negative events like the hike in fuel price, light bill, water, food etc. We are also under pressure in Nigeria.
Forms of Stress
- Eustress – This is caused by positive life events like wedding, promotion, adding anew degree, house warming, getting a grant, etc.
- Distress – This is caused by negative life events like non-payment if salary arrears, death of a loved ones, etc.
Difference between Eustress and Distress
Eustress comes with a positive satisfaction/achievement of a motive amidst the stress, while distress removes a sense of achievement/satisfaction thereby leaving one frustrated or depressed.
Facts about Stress
There are many sources of stress and of most interest to us is the depressing economy right now.
So many of us have slipped into depression- frustration & conflict. Which we are finding difficult to manage or transfer it to the wrong person/place.
If stress is inevitable and too much of it is a threat to our psychological and physical well-being, then coping well with stress is of utmost importance.
But in all, a healthy and happy person is someone who can enjoy the good times and cope with bad.
Examples of frustration
- Selling of landed properties and cars to keep up with family needs.
- Inability to pay for paper publication or attend conferences necessary for academic progress.
- Inability to take part in academic engagements for self development due to paucity of funds.
Coping with Stress
- Effective coping
This indicates removing or reducing stress, cognitive coping (reappraisal), managing stress reaction, having a good social support.
- Cognitive Coping
It involves changing how we think or interpret stressful events that push or shove our lives (reappraisal).-focussing attention away from the stressful events that cannot be changed.-religious coping.
- Religious coping
This is taking care of your body and health which is God’s temple so as to live longer on earth.
B. Ineffective coping
- This results into withdrawal, aggression (e.g temper tantrum), self-medication (e.g smoking & drinking), defence mechanisms (e.g displacement).
Results of Ineffective coping with Stress
This can lead to the following: stroke/paralysis, numbness of some body parts just like that, hightened or lowered B.P., Cardiac arrest, and even death.
Solutions to Stress
To manage depression in a depressed economy, do the following:
1.Get a legitimate source of income,
2.Strengthen your social support (e.g bossom friends, family members- both nuclear and extended, social/religious group),
3.Talk to someone about your stressor(the source of your stress) and receive professional help,
4.Run away from borrowing by all means by cutting down any high taste bud established in the family,
5.Learn to ask for help from the right source (no shame/status),
6.Burn out excess worry or energy via sports/exercise,
7.Finally, look up to God Almighty for supply, for help comes from above and not from abroad.
Do not be shaken, worried or disturbed about the current situation in Nigeria because all the challenges are distractions from the pit of hell. Humans and human systems of government will continue to fail but God never fails. Circumstances are not permanent like God. That is why our hope should always be in God and not humans or their systems of government.
In times like this:
1.Continue to pursue your dreams and goals according to God’s will and don’t give up,
2.Keep on investing in yourself in all areas and be wise to invest in business that God is leading you to start no matter how small you may start. Remember Isaac invested in the midst of famine (Genesis 26 v12 -15),
3.Avoid negative and depressing discussions, they drain energy& zeal to move forward,
4.Use your time so wisely to achieve greatness,
5.Proclaim God’s promises for your life on a daily basis. He said he will supply all your needs (not according to borrowing or begging), but according to His glorious riches in Christ (Phil 4v19).
Mrs. Morenike OMONIYI
Department of Psychology, University of Nigeria, Nsukka
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