Photo credit: Indian Express


Stress Is A Real Deal…


5th of September, 2006. In a village on the outskirts of Jos, Plateau state, Haruna was on his plantation with his mother, wife and two children, when some herdsmen strolled in with their cattle, the bovine grazers were more than three scores. The cattle had grazed silently initially before an argument broke out between Haruna and one of the herdsmen. He claimed they encroached on his farm and had asked them to leave. In a blink of an eye, they had restrained him and seized his family. In the most bizarre view, they forced him look as they slayed his mother and children. He was also made to watch as they battered his wife. He could barely comprehend their language but he knew they had wanted him to watch his wife die a slow death and eventually, they would slaughter him. That Saturday morning, Haruna and his wife had wished the earth would instantly open and engulf them. The herdsmen were soon going to slit his wife’s windpipe when some native farmers came to his rescue. The herdsmen took to their heels, leaving their many cattle behind. After few hours of fierce struggle to stay back, Haruna’s wife eventually lost the battle for her life. She had died of Severe head injury from the assault. Haruna was devastated, broken and torn apart! The following day, it was at night when he set out with his late wife’s elder brother to a settlement where many of these herdsmen lived, and burnt down their huts. Haruna and his brother-in-law were soon captured and immediately beheaded. Their heads, sent back to the centre of his village that same night. A resultant pandemonium broke out, and the villagers called for revenge. They sworn an everlasting hostility against the herdsmen. They resulted into killing all herdsmen dwelling around their village, none that crossed their paths had escaped death. They incarcerated their cattle en masse and sent terrifying messages back to their settlement.


This was how the war continued between the ‘native’ villagers and their nomadic herdsmen. It was called inter-ethnic conflict, and had lingered on till today. Whether ethnic, religious or political violence; violence associated with drug use; reward-motivated violence demonstrated by political tugs, I would naturally not eliminate the basic causal factor, aggression. That’s why I’d like, as much as possible, to push behind ordinary Sociology, so I can bore you with a little of Social Psychology. In Social Psychology, aggression is defined as the act of seeking to deliberately hurt one another.


One of the popular theories of aggression was postulated by Konrald Lorenz, an ethologist, in 1966. He said aggression is a drive which is welled up inside people and needs to be discharged. If it could not be discharged constructively, it would be discharged destructively.


Another theory I once came across says aggression is a secondary emotion made up of two primary emotions: anger and anticipation. Then I imagined Haruna’s story, ab-initio, he was angered by the herdsmen’s impenitent encroachment into his hard-laboured plantation, and he anticipated their leave by all means. On another occasion, I imagined the enormous anger that had welled up inside of him as they slaughtered his family in his presence, hence he anticipated revenge by all means.


So, Where Is The Place Of Stress Hormone In Aggression?

Stress hormones are chemicals that are released in the body during stressful events, these chemicals reinforce our will to fight or flee in terror or danger. They help us to remain focused when there is, for example, a desperate need to avoid an head-on-collision with an animal or even human being that lost control why crossing over an express road. They act to well up the aggression in us whenever we feel cheated or there is a need for violence. It is the long time effects of these chemicals that usually give rise to the many health problems associated with stress.


In Real Time, What Is Stress? How Does Aggression Relate To Stress?

The psychologists see stress as the body’s physiological response to psychological demands, usually in the form of psychological demands outweighing normal psychological response. Much of grammar there, I guess.

Okay… going through the theory of general stress factors, I discovered that the death of one’s spouse carries the heaviest rank when ranking general factors that cause stress in humans.

Now, my inference from Haruna’s story is, he was tremendously stressed by the event that took away his family members, thus manifested aggression as a symptom of stress. However in some cases, this aggression turns to serious violence and destruction. You may agree or disagree with me on this, if stress is not well managed, aggression wells up inside and discharges mostly in the form of violence and destruction!


How Can You Then Tell When one is stressed?

You would naturally see stress coming to play in the following scenarios:


1. On a hot afternoon, a police man, who has been standing on the highway for almost 8hours, cocks his rifle, threatens to shoot at you because he stopped you for no obvious reason and you in turn asked him what offence you’d committed against the law…


2. A market woman, who hasn’t had a single buyer throughout the day, rains curses on you for starting a bargain for her goods’ prices…


3. A maternity staff, who has been the only person on night shift for the past 5days, asks whether she was the person that impregnated you, just because you had begged her to be patient with you while she delivers your first child…


Here Are Five Indications That You are Stressed

1. When your communication with others become characterized by anger, irritability, or violence

2. When your sleep pattern becomes either in excess or in shortage

3. When you start to eat too much

4. When you get worried easily

5. In men, they may notice difficulty in attaining erection

6. As students, you may notice hard time concentrating during lectures


Here Are Ten Health Problems Associated With Stress

1. Depression and anxiety

2. Heart disease

3. Asthma

4. Obesity

5. Diabetes

6. Stress headache

7. Gastrointestinal problems like Ulcers

8. Alzheimer’s disease

9. Accelerated aging

10. Premature death


Five Dangerous Inner Attitudes That Can Cause Stress

1. Anger

2. Pride

3. Jealousy

4. Fear of people

5. Conceit.


Four Simple Methods Of Managing Stress

1. Relaxation technique include; training, meditation, yoga. These methods slow HEART RATE relax muscle tone help clear the brain of stressful event.

2. Progressive neuromuscular relaxation

3. Regular exercise

4. Selective awareness technique.


Seven Unhealthy Ways Of Coping With Stress

1. Smoking and alcohol indulgence

2. Excessive eating

3. Using pills and drug

4. Excessive sleeping

5. Procrastination

6. Social withdrawal.

7. Don’t take out your stress on other people


Here Is What I Do When I Notice I’m Being Stressed

If at work; I’d take a short break, go to the rest room and wash off my head, then get a soft drink and relax somewhere before going back to the consulting room.

If at home; I’d take a shower and have a short nap. In case I can’t get a deserving nap, I simply listen to some cool music or see a comedy movie, these activities take me away from a stressful environment to a refreshing one.

If I may ask, what do you do when your are stressed?

Thanks for reading.




Some of the Information on stress was provided by Dr (Mrs) Tunde-Ayimode, consultant psychiatrist, University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital.


Join the Conversation

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from Ayodeji Erubu's Blog.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This