(WHAT IT IS? & HOW TO OVERCOME IT?)
WHAT IS STRESS?
We all face stress at some point of time in our life. Stress is a physical, mental, behavioural/emotional response by our body while coping with the challenges or demands of everyday life. These challenges and needs can come in different forms and means such as:
- Work/job-related pressure/insecurity
- Relationship issues
- Chronic illness or injuries/accidents
- Natural calamities or disasters (e.g. floods, earthquakes, epidemics etc.)
- Financial problems
- Loss of a near and dear one
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF BEING STRESSED?
Whenever we are dealing with a stressful situation, our body undergoes a lot of chemical (Hormonal) changes. Our body through these changes tries to make itself prepared to cope with the stressful situation. These changes manifest in the form of physical symptoms which makes us aware that we are under stress such as:
- Dry mouth
- Excess sweating
- Cold hands and feet
- Stomach upset (Diarrhoea, constipation)
- Loss of sleep (Insomnia)
- Rapid heartbeats (Palpitations) etc.
- Rapid breathing
IS THE STRESS GOOD OR BAD?
Whenever we encounter a stressful situation (Physical, emotional, etc.), our body reacts to it by releasing some hormones (Cortisol, adrenaline, Nor-adrenaline, etc.). It makes our brain alert, increases pulse, quickens the breathing, makes muscles tense, in short, increases the supply of blood and oxygen to the vital organs (brain, heart, etc.) and prepares our body to handle the stressful situation. It is called Fight or flight response/ or our body’s way of protecting itself.
But the question remains, is it good or bad for us?
The stress of a shorter duration can be helpful as it primes our body for action, makes us alert, focused and better prepared to perform under pressure. It helps us in meeting project deadlines, Clearing exams, protecting our self from catastrophic/life-threatening situations (E.g. Accident, injury, fire, floods, etc.). Once we have overcome the stressful situation, our body reverts to the normal physiological state. In other words, it helps us countering the situation effectively.
Sometimes, when the stressful situation persists for a longer time, and the body continues to fight it, the stress becomes chronic. Chronic stress is bad for our health. During chronic stress, our body continues to remain alert, even if the Stress causing stimulus is ceased long back. It can harm our physical and mental health. It can cause damage to various systems in our body (E.g. Cardiovascular, respiratory, nervous, digestive, immune systems, etc.). If not corrected in time, it can lead to serious health problems such as:
- High blood pressure
- Acidity and stomach/intestinal ulcers
- Increased risk of heart diseases (E.g. Heart attack)
- Anxiety and or Depression
- Obesity/ Excess weight loss
- Reduced immunity (Frequent infections)
- Insomnia (Sleepless nights)/ Excessive sleepiness
- Skin irritation
- Brain ‘fog’/ poor judgement
- Gynaecological issues
- Sexual dysfunction
HOW TO OVERCOME CHRONIC STRESS?
Stress is an inevitable part of our life. It cannot completely disappear from our life. The stress of shorter duration can be beneficial as it helps us to overcome the challenges, difficulties and problems in our life.
But, the stress of longer duration, i.e. chronic stress is extremely hazardous to our health. We must find a way to overcome it if we want to remain fit and healthy.
But how to do it?
Don’t worry; it is not very difficult.
We must pay attention to the triggers which are responsible for our stress and ways to overcome them. Practising ways to relax our body and mind can help us in keeping calm and balanced attitude in a stressful situation. It is essential in neutralizing some of the adverse effects of stress on our Health. It also improves our ability to cope with difficulties and challenges.
Now let’s see how to do it,
A few things mentioned below if done, can help us in overcoming this chronic stress, such as:
- Having faith in God, doing regular prayers and submitting oneself at the feet of God.
- Keeping oneself busy in everyday activities like household work, cleaning, cooking, gardening, etc. (It will keep the mind occupied and divert the attention from the source of the stress, at least for that time).
- Doing regular exercise: (It keeps our mind and body fit to combat the stress effectively)
- Eating a healthy and balanced diet.
- Taking regular outdoor walk: It helps in relaxing the mind and calming down our nerves.
- Listening to the good soothing music. (It relaxes the mind).
- Learning to manage our time effectively. (An effective time management can help us get over some of the stressful situations like meeting deadlines, clearing exams, etc.).
- Spending time with family and friends: (It makes us relax, calm and keeps our mind positive)
- Developing some hobby like Singing, dancing, playing a musical instrument, gardening, etc. & giving time for it: (It helps in relaxing our mind and also keeps it occupied).
- Reading good inspiring books to develop a positive attitude.
- Practicing relaxation techniques: (Deep breathing and other Pranayama, meditation, Yoga Asana, etc.).
- Taking sufficient sleep (It gives the body much-needed relaxation and also Keeps our mind and body fit to combat the stress effectively)
- Being in the company of positive-minded people.
- If necessary, consulting a professional trained in stress management.
As we know, we cannot throw out stress from our life completely. It is part and parcel of our life. If there is no stress, then there will be no challenges and obstacles, and If there are no challenges & no obstacles, then we cannot progress in life.
But at the same time, we must ensure that this stress should never become so big that it will make us ill or jeopardized our Health. Whenever this starts happening, we must get aware and try to overcome it by following some of the means mentioned above. Because Health is divine wealth and we must not compromise on it.