Obafemi Awolowo University

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OAU Health Centre Advisory on Stress Management



Stress is defined as a state of mental tension and worry caused by problems in your life, work etc. It is normal and productive up to a breaking point where stress becomes counterproductive and inimical to health and productivity. Stress is often relative: what is stressing someone may not be affecting another. And what constitutes stress for someone at a time may not be a problem at some other time. As the body is ageing, the ability to cope with certain stressful conditions may also decline.

Key Stressors

Personal- Health challenges can be a source of stress, these may be of long-standing duration such as, hypertension, diabetes or recurrent attacks of acute illnesses such as malaria etc. The health condition may even be a congenital or inherited disorder such as sickle cell anemia, congenital heart disease etc. It may be very challenging to be able to check, monitor and adequately manage some of these conditions that require periodic hospital visits, laboratory investigations and regular treatment. There are many that have some of these conditions that have never been diagnosed. Whenever they feel stressed, they will just go for self-medication. By the time it would be detected, things would have gone very bad. Exhaustion can cause physical stress due to all work and no vacation.


Financial stress can occur due to a relative or absolute insufficiency and economic lack. There are a lot of pressures that come when you have taken so much loans beyond the capacity of the expected income.

Family- Challenges and issues at home affects many people significantly. Marital disharmony and problem children can cause stress. The issues may be due to night shift, causing poor adjustment from the spouse and may be related to lack of trust and suspicion. And it may also be money related. There are people that become unduly aggressive due to transfer of aggression from home issues.

Work environment- Dangerous and risky work environment can sometimes cause stress. There are bosses or colleagues that could be very unfriendly and difficult, and they create a work environment filled with rivalry, envy and competition.

National and Global Issues- political unrest, insecurities in the nation, poor social welfare, bad roads, poorly funded health and education system etc. are just to mention a few. These bring stress to an average Nigerian in significant ways. Global burdens- global unrest, climate change and global instability are also significantly stressful.

The interplay of all these factors makes it very difficult for stress to be managed properly.

The under-listed points are a few habits you can cultivate to ameliorate stress:

  1. You will need to acknowledge that you are human and that you are subject to breaking down.
  2. You must take life easy, do not be anxious for anything, cultivate the habit of rest, reduce salt and sugar
  3. Take a lot of water daily (3-4 litres). Cut down on snacks and fried
  4. Go for periodic medical check-up, do not be in
  5. Go for annual leave, use it to rest, relax and do medical check-ups during the
  6. Engage in regular exercise: a brisk walk of about 30 minutes per day for about 3-4days in a week is
  7. Ask questions from your doctor and listen to his advice.
  8. Stop alcoholic beverages, stop smoking cigarettes, shisha, Indian hemp,
  9. Shun illicit
  10. Avoid friends engaging in all these dangerous
  11. Do not take too much loan. Only go for facilities you can easily pay
  12. Do not be hasty to get anything
  13. Go for knowledge, listen to news and be current about happenings around. Read books about other life
  14. Learn to play and watch games and movies with
  15. Have a social and a religious life. Listen to good music and learn to
  16. There is a God who cares and takes care of your Life could be too strenuous without you knowing God personally. It's not just about religion.
  17. Make friends and be friendly especially with your colleagues at Watch their back and be very helpful in their time of need.
  18. Be punctual and be dedicated to your


You may feel you need to talk to someone about your stress. Do not hesitate to do so. Remember: If health is lost, all is lost.



OAU Health Centre Management

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