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AGEING LEADS TO STRESS

Author: Anurag Mondal, II Year of B.A.,LL.B from The West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences.


Introduction

Ageing can be defined as a timeline through which everyone has to go, thereby leading to changes in one’s physical, psychological, and social attitude and behaviour.


While stress could be defined as a situation that arises when an individual must balance the disparity between his “perceived demand” and an “individual's capacity to cope with those demands.”


Aging leads to lead can, psychological and social changes and stress also leads to social, mental, or physical changes. When a person turns old, it becomes evident that changes in attitude and behaviour occur as a natural side-effect of aging. [What changes take place will be discussed later in this paper] With increased age, which cannot be controlled, in-efficiency, un-acceptability, on-resilience, insecurities, im-mobility, and food insecurity crops up. This, in turn, leads to stress. Thus, it could be ascertained that aging is conditionally proportional to stress as it could sometimes become subjective and objective.


Moreover, we could see that with the increase in the stress level coupled with aging, there is an excellent reduction in the level of performance and efficiency of an individual. This could be understood with the help of figure 1.



STRESS: ITS TYPES AND SOURCES

Stress is a state of imbalance and disparity between the perceived or imagined demand with achievable supply, manifested in social, physical, and emotional needs.


There are broadly four types of stress:


  1. Anticipatory Stress: In this type of stress, the body prepares itself concerning specific upcoming three “C’s” “changes, crises, and challenges.”


  1. Current Stress: In this type of stress, the body prepares itself for ongoing stressful situations.


  1. Residual Stress: In this type of stress, the body remains in the “state of arousal” even after the incident has passed.


  1. Positive Stress: This type of stress enables an individual to push oneself beyond one’s limits, thereby increasing their ability to work longer.




SOURCES OF STRESS INCLUDE


  1. Stressful life events: These events can cause a lot of “disequilibrium” and “maladjustments.”


  1. Chronic Stressors: Continuing the “unrelieved state of stress” faced in an individual’s day-to-day life is known as a chronic stressor.


  1. Frustration: State of unfulfilled desires and needs often leads to frustration.


  1. Conflict: State of inner conflict and topsy turvy between two valued goals.


  1. Pressure: State where the situation is beyond our thought and control.

AGEING-RELATED CHANGES

Ageing not only brings about psychological changes but as well brings about physical and social changes in the life of an individual.



Physical changes

The noticeable material changes in women and men are different.


With the increase in age, we could generally see that in men, there is a reduction of strength and retardation in their mental stability. Moreover, their capacity and ability to carry out the work with excellent work labor also retards. Now he needs to depend on his heir or any other person to take up his care. This leads to dependability upon the whims and fancy of that dependable person.


60% of men with an increased age suffer from BPH (Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia). This, at times, leads to bladder stones, infection, dysfunction of the kidney, and even it can lead to cancer. Not only this, but cardiovascular is a joint dysfunction commonly seen in men. Along with these, a man had to undergo osteoarthritis with increased age.


While if we see the physical changes from the perspective of the female, in an addendum to what changes men had to go through, women also live through the post-menopause phase.


These bones get weaker, leading to various bone and muscle disorders.


Moreover, we could see their “skin becomes sunken and sallow, and eventually, wrinkles begin to appear.” Not only this, but also their immune system becomes inefficient in producing antibodies, making them more susceptible to various diseases.



Psychological changes

Senescent opens a floodgate for individuals, men or females, to suffer from Alzheimer, a type of dementia. This form of dementia results in a declination of memory and judgment-making ability. Not only this, it is coupled with changes in the reasoning and thinking skills as well changes in the behavior of both women and men. This makes him much more susceptible and prone to beyond the pale in his own family and society at large.


A woman during this period must go through the “post-menopausal” phase, which carries out various behavioral changes. “Post-menopausal phase” is when the “women do not mensurate for a period longer than twelve months.” Thus, during this period, a woman may feel that she is no longer attractive and charming as she has lost her ability to become fertile, which may drive her to stress. Not only this, but also a woman feels insecure emotionally as she thinks to, post this period, she is no longer attractive and charming. She also becomes moody and irritated. Along with this, they inculcate a daunting feeling.



Social changes

The decrease in the workforce, work efforts, and resilience at work make him unacceptable at the workplace. This, in turn, results in losing his financial stability and, thereby, his security in society, making him a bit thick.


With approaching senescence, the biggest threat that a woman must encounter is their attitude and their approach toward life. Typically with an increase in age, women bring about a lot of change in their lifestyle, and they also change their attitude and approach towards their own life and society. They start believing that they are not the fittest, as per Darwinian thought, for the organization at large. This, in turn, takes them away from society. As a result, she becomes oust in the outgoing group and community activities at large.



CASE STUDY TO UNDERSTAND HOW AGEING LEADS TO STRESS

This is a case study of a professional artist named Apeksha, who works as a professional artist in Valencia, Spain. 


In the early childhood stage, Apeksha had to face the heat of poverty, as a result of which her willingness to carry out dancing, and singing, unlike her friends, was not met by her parents. This, in turn, created “frustration” in the mind of Apeksha, thereby leading to the formation of “anticipatory stress” due to her unaccomplished wishes. Soon after that, she just thought of excelling in academics, but again trouble came her way. This time it was the fees of her school and tuition. This problem of poverty affected her life and subsisted for a long and continuous period, giving birth to “chronic stressors.” These chronic stressors, due to her circumstantial reasons, made her go through “stress continuously.”


But she did not stop; she completed her plus two despite having many problems. Being in college and having gotten some access to government grants, she now had options either to focus entirely on academics or her unaccomplished wishes. But being in a state of “residual stress” because of her past, she had to face inner “conflicts” between the two as now she needed to choose anyone one. 


But destiny had some other plans.


Having doubted her capabilities, her parents fixed her marriage to oust the precious burden. This event, in turn, created a lot of “maladjustments” and “disequilibrium” in her life. But this time, she did not fall into the trap of negative stress. This time around, she made use of this “pressure” and “conflict” to excel in her unaccomplished wishes and to choose it as her career, thereby giving us a perfect example of “positive stress.”


And as luck would have it, she is now a profound professional artist in Valencia, Spain.



CONCLUSION

Age is just a number, while stress is just a state of mind. While with an increase in age, we could see an increment of stress, this logic always does not hold. Because, at times, a person may use the sources of stress to excel. Thereby using those stress to push oneself beyond the limit. While at times, it could be seen that people are falling into the guise of negative stress due to inner conflict, stressful events, and ongoing stressful events like chronic stressors and pressure. This mostly takes place as one age increases. This is because new challenges crop up with age and time; if one cannot address them, this creates a problem as he becomes unacceptable in society because of his decrease in efficiency and utility.


Even after being outs of society, that person could change his fortune if he changes his mindset and thinks of himself as a part of society rather than taking himself out of the equation.



PRIMARY SOURCES

  • Journals:

  • Carolyn M. Aldwin and Lorena A. Yancura, Effects of stress on health and aging: Two paradoxes, Volume 64 Number 4

  • Hui-Chuan Hsu, Age Differences in Work Stress, Exhaustion, Well-Being, and Related Factors from an Ecological Perspective,25 December 2018

  • Laura R. Sauders and Eric Verdin, Stress Response and Aging, American Association for the Advancement of Science, Feb. 20, 2009, New Series, Vol. 323, No. 5917 (Feb. 20, 2009), pp. 1021- 1022



SECONDARY SOURCES

  • Online materials:

  • eGyanKosh, challenges, and issues in the aging process,2017

  • eGyanKosh, Concept of anxiety, arousal, and stress

  • eGyanKosh, Trauma and stress management

  • eGyanKosh, Stress, and Arousal

  • eGyanKosh, Physical Changes (Early Adulthood, Middle Age, Old Age)