Stress – The Islamic Perspective

Stress – The Islamic Perspective


What is Stress?

Modern life is full of hassles, deadlines, frustrations, and demands. For many people, stress is so commonplace that it has become a way of life. Stress isn’t always bad. In small doses, it can help you perform under pressure and motivate you to do your best. But when you’re constantly running in emergency mode, your mind and body pay the price.


When you perceive a threat, your nervous system responds by releasing a flood of stress hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones rouse the body for emergency action.


Your heart pounds faster, muscles tighten, blood pressure rises, breath quickens, and your senses become sharper. These physical changes increase your strength and stamina, speed your reaction time, and enhance your focus – preparing you to either fight or flee from the danger at hand.


Stress is a normal physical response to events that make you feel threatened or upset your balance in some way. When you sense danger – whether it’s real or imagined – the body’s defenses kick into high gear in a rapid, automatic process known as the “fight-or-flight” reaction, or the stress response.


The stress response is the body’s way of protecting you. When working properly, it helps you stay focused, energetic, and alert. In emergency situations, stress can save your life – giving you extra strength to defend yourself, for example, or spurring you to slam on the brakes to avoid an accident.


The stress response also helps you rise to meet challenges. Stress is what keeps you on your toes during a presentation at work, sharpens your concentration when you’re attempting the game-winning free throw, or drives you to study for an exam when you’d rather be doing something useless.


But beyond a certain point, stress stops being helpful and starts causing major damage to your health, your mood, your productivity, your relationships, and your quality of life.


What are the effects on a person’s health?

Ø  Pain of any kind

Ø  Heart disease

Ø  Digestive problems

Ø  Sleep problems

Ø  Depression

Ø  Obesity

Ø  Autoimmune diseases

Ø  Skin conditions, such as eczema

Am I in control of stress or is stress controlling me?

Ø  When I feel agitated, do I know how to quickly calm and soothe myself?

Ø  Can I easily let go of my anger?

Ø  Can I turn to others at work to help me calm down and feel better?

Ø  When I come home at night, do I walk in the door feeling alert and relaxed?

Ø  Am I seldom distracted or moody?

Ø  Am I able to recognize upsets that others seem to be experiencing?

Ø  Do I easily turn to friends or family members for a calming influence?

Ø  When my energy is low, do I know how to boost it?

Source: The Language of Emotional Intelligence by Jeanne Segal, Ph.D.

Causes of stress

Top Ten Stressful Life Events

1.    Spouse’s death

2.    Divorce

3.    Marriage separation

4.    Jail term

5.    Death of a close relative

6.    Injury or illness

7.    Marriage

8.    Fired from job

9.    Marriage reconciliation

10. Retirement

Source: Holmes-Rahe Life Stress Inventory

Common external causes of stress

Ø  Major life changes

Ø  Work

Ø  Relationship difficulties

Ø  Financial problems

Ø  Being too busy

Ø  Children and family

Common internal causes of stress

Not all stress is caused by external factors. Stress can also be self-generated:

Ø  Inability to accept uncertainty

Ø  Pessimism

Ø  Negative self-talk

Ø  Unrealistic expectations

Ø  Perfectionism

Ø  Lack of assertiveness

What’s Stressful For You?

What’s stressful for you may be quite different from what’s stressful to your best friend, your spouse, or the person next door. For example:

Ø  Some people are more productive under deadline pressure; others are miserably tense.

Ø  Some people are eager to help family and friends through difficult times; others find it very stressful.

Ø  Some people may feel that changes at work represent a welcome opportunity; others worry about whether they’ll be able to cope.


The Islamic Method of coping with Stress

1. Du’a

When Du’a comes from the heart, it will relieve anxieties and bring solace. We must learn to convert each worry, concern or stress into a Du’a. We should use it as an opportunity to ask Allaah Y for peace and guidance.


2. Understand that the world will soon come to an end

We must always remember the temporary nature of this life on Earth, particularly in times of distress. This will make the stress easier to bear.




3. Dhikr

The remembrance of Allah I has the effect of calming the soul and displacing anxieties and strains. We live in a busy world and only tend to remember Allah I at the end of everything.

4. Salaah

It provides us the chance to escape from the rushed world 5 times a day in order to communicate with Allah I. One should take care that the Salaah will help in relieving his stress and tension and that he should spend his entire Salaah in worry about the problem he faces.


5. Sabr

After every hardship comes ease.


6. Shukr

If we are grateful for what we have it will spur us on to handle every difficulty.


7. Happiness with the decision of Allah I

This is especially effective in those situations where something beyond ones control occurred. If one is happy with every decision of Allah I, then he will look at the possible good in every situation, even if it be life threatening.


8. Think of others

There has been and there will be many people in the world that have far greater problems than us, that live in much worse off conditions than us and yet they live happily and are surviving. If we feel that our problem is so great that no one else understands or there is no possible solution, then we are mistaken.


9. The fear and consciousness of Allah I

Allah I says that those who fear Him will have a way out for them in all difficulties and sustenance will come to them from avenues from which they did not perceive. If we make this a part of our life and not just be aware of the concept, then life will be very much different.


10. Take time out daily to keep yourself on track

Many people wake up desirous of wealth, spend the entire day looking for it and go to sleep even greedier. Many people wake up desirous to please Allah I, spend their day in it and go to sleep satisfied and content. Which group do we want to be part of? Spend some time daily to think what you are doing in life, what you want to achieve and how you intend to succeed. Look for ways to please Allah I and you will find great enjoyment in life, for then you will not care or worry or stress about what everyone says.




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