Life is full of pressures, but stress is how you handle those pressures. Therefore keep pressures at bay and try eliminating stress. Stress up to some level can be good for you as it can increase your potential of work but if this level is crossed it creates a lot of problems in our daily life. Health and social life starts deteriorating day by day. You may take work related stress in business, job and even in student life. Some people show much stress related issues, even show stress symptoms but others have lesser signs of stress. That shows that they are efficiently managing their work pressures, with good stress management techniques. If they can learn it why can’t you? First of all you should analyze where the problem lies. Stress is a normal reaction of the body to prepare it for various threats which it perceives. Adrenaline and cortisol hormones are produced whenever a stress related problem arises. 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. It’s a normal phenomenon of the body but if these hormones are produced in excess which usually occurs due to emotional disturbances it can either exaggerate the reflexes or depress it. Stress in itself is not a disease but the root cause of various diseases like depression, anxiety, various psychosomatic disorders.
How to Handle the stress successfully: You may feel like the stress in your life is out of your control, but you can always control the way you respond. Managing stress is all about taking charge: taking charge of your thoughts, your emotions, your schedule, your environment, and the way you deal with problems.
Most people ignore their emotional health until there’s a problem. But just as it requires time and energy to build or maintain your physical health, so it is with your emotional well-being. The more you put in to it, the stronger it will be. People with good emotional health have an ability to bounce back from stress and adversity. This ability is called resilience. They remain focused, flexible, and positive in bad times as well as good. The good news is that there are many steps you can take to build your resilience and your overall emotional health.
By making few changes in your life style you can easily tackle the stress. Lifestyle changes are not always easy to make, but they can have a big impact on stress. Take a good look at your own lifestyle.
1. Cultivating supportive relationships: A strong support network is your greatest protection against stress. When you have trusted friends and family members you know you can count on, life’s pressures don’t seem as overwhelming. So spend time with the people you love and don’t let your responsibilities keep you from having a social life. If you don’t have any close relationships, or your relationships are the source of your stress, make it a priority to build stronger and more satisfying connections. Tips for reaching out and building relationships:
• Help someone else by volunteering.
• Have lunch or coffee with a co-worker.
• Call or email an old friend. Go for a walk with a workout buddy.
• Schedule a weekly dinner date
• Take a class or join a club.
2. Getting regular exercise and sleep: Exercise is a natural stress buster and anxiety reliever. Research shows that as little as 30 minutes of exercise three to five times a week can provide significant anxiety relief. Lack of sleep can also cause various hormonal imbalances in the body which can precipitate various stress related disorders so 6-8 hours of good sleep is extremely beneficial for the physical as well as the mental well being.
3. Practicing relaxation techniques: Relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation, and pranayam activate the body’s relaxation response, a state of restfulness that is the opposite of the stress response. When practiced regularly, these activities lead to a reduction in your everyday stress levels and a boost in your feelings of joy and serenity. They also increase your ability to stay calm and collected under pressure. There is a procedure called Shirodhara in Ayurveda which is done by the therapists which is very soothing and relaxing procedure. You can go for it also!
4. Change the environment: When faced with stifling problems, you may try changing the environment or work place. This is beneficial for surviving various job problems, performance stress and work overload. Do not let yourself worked out or harassed by work issues.
5. Challenging negative thought patterns: Not all stress is caused by external factors. Stress can also be self-generated:
• Inability to accept uncertainty
• Negative self-talk
• Unrealistic expectations
• Lack of assertiveness
Stress-hardy people have an optimistic attitude. They tend to embrace challenges, have a strong sense of humor, accept that change is a part of life, and believe in a higher power or purpose. Constant failures in academic field may be a big blow to your confidence and self-esteem, and if you continue thinking of the low performance, even your office work performance may get negatively affected. : If changing the environment is not in your hands, try hardening your emotions. Don’t keep thinking about it and worrying all the more. Just try to feel indifferent about it. Accept the condition and endeavor it.
6. Eating a healthy, mood-boosting diet: There is evidence that changing your diet can alter your metabolism and brain chemistry, ultimately affecting your energy level and mood. Take a lot of fruits, fibers, green leafy vegetables, whole grains in your diet; it keeps your blood glucose and energy level stable.
7. Seek professional help: If positive lifestyle changes and support from family and friends aren’t enough, seek help from a health professional.
If you’re experiencing a lot of physical anxiety symptoms, you should start by getting a medical checkup. Your doctor can check to make sure that your anxiety isn’t caused by a medical condition, such as a thyroid problem, hypoglycemia, or asthma. Since certain drugs and supplements can cause anxiety, your doctor will also want to know about any prescriptions, over-the-counter medications you’re taking. Cognitive-behavioral therapy and exposure therapy are two effective anxiety disorder treatments. Both are types of behavioral therapy, meaning they focus on behavior rather than on underlying psychological conflicts or issues from the past. Behavioral therapy for anxiety usually takes between 5 and 20 weekly sessions.
A variety of medications, including benzodiazepines and antidepressants, are used in the treatment. In Ayurveda there are many brain tonics which can be taken to calm the mind. But the medication should be taken under medical supervision only.
So don’t run away from stress but face it boldly and be a winner!
Department of Kayachikitsa,
National Institute of Ayurveda,