ABU DHABI // This weekend could be more relaxing than most for those attending a workshop on how to turn stress into useful energy. Whether it was in depressed housewives, nervous teenagers or exhausted parents, "it seems there's a lot of stress in Abu Dhabi", said Karl LaRowe, a psychologist and mental health consultant at the American Center of Psychiatry and Neurology in the capital, which is organising the event.
"Stress manifests itself on each individual differently," he said. "Some are always exhausted, some are short-tempered, some find difficulties with relationships or are unable to sleep, others feel a constant tightness in the neck and shoulders - all are symptoms of stress." Mr LaRowe, a stress management specialist, will be one of the speakers at the workshop. "People have a hard time identifying that what they are is stressed, but there is rising awareness about the physical consequences that stress has on the body," he said.
The World Health Organisation predicts that, by 2020, stress will be one of the leading causes of disability in developing countries. Stress is also considered one of the main risk factors leading to cardiovascular disease, which causes 40 to 45 per cent of deaths in the UAE each year. Stress, defined by Dr Hans Selye in 1936 as "the non-specific response of the body to any demand for change", was considered to be the epidemic of the 21st century, said Mr LaRowe. "It is the speed of our lives today, and how fast the pace of our lives has changed over the last 10 to 15 years, particularly here in Abu Dhabi, that makes stress so much of a problem for so many," he said.
The workshop's aim is twofold - to properly define stress, describing its symptoms and how they differ from person to person, along with a more practical side that will teach participants different breathing movements and techniques to handle tension. The workshop, which costs Dh100 (US$27) per person, is being held at the Hilton Abu Dhabi hotel, from 9am to 2pm on Saturday. Anyone interested can call 02 666 4866 or e-mail email@example.com .