Stress Me Not
Stress is a silent killer. No one is immune. There is a strong need to recognize and manage stress.
How often has your doctor asked about your stress levels? Irrespective of the illness or the system of treatment (allopathy, homeopathy, ayurveda or naturopathy), the doctor is eager to know this. The answer, however, is not straightforward. One physician concluded in a 1951 issue of The British Medical Journal that, “Stress in addition to being itself, was also the cause of itself, and the result of itself.” People have different perceptions of stress and different stressors. Given that there is no conclusive way of measuring stress, understanding it in relation to symptoms and effects is important to recognize and manage it.
The negative impact of stress
Stress creates many emotional and physical disorders.
These range from the simple to the complex — allergies, cold and cough, skin conditions (rashes, hives etc.), gastrointestinal issues (peptic ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome, colitis etc.), insomnia, muscular aches and pains, certain cancers, autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis, and degenerative neurological disorders like Parkinson’s disease — to name a few.
Stress impacts all the key body systems
Nervous, musculosketal, respiratory, reproductive, endocrine, cardiovascular and gastrointestinal – all systems feel the pressure of stress. Their normal functioning gets impaired, compromising health. Several chronic problems have their genesis in stress. The longer stress is unaddressed, the more severe and chronic the ailments become. The body stops responding well to treatments, making recovery ineffective and long drawn out.
While some stress can be a good driving force, excessive or uncontrolled levels are detrimental, creating physical and emotional upheavals.
There are several common signs and symptoms of stress, some quite obvious, others not so. Everyone has different triggers and responses to them. It takes time but one needs to spot and address the source(s) individually.
Stress can emanate from anywhere — home, workplace or due to sudden developments. It can be a transient response to ad hoc situations or worse, become more permanent in response to lifestyle, enterprise demands and unpleasant life events. It needs to be addressed accordingly at all levels. Sometimes by not procrastinating and taking things head on, and sometimes by learning to let go. Its important to learn to choose your battles wisely. Stress management, in a sense, could alter between confrontational and reconciliatory approaches.
Taking tough decisions to confront and weed out some stressors may seem stressful in itself, but needs to be followed through to remove negative influences and seek a more peaceful state of being. Reorganizing our day to day lives is important too.
Time management and understanding priorities are important. This helps in distinguishing the ‘very important’ from the ‘not-so-important’ tasks and achieving them within deadlines. Be realistic in taking on multiple tasks and setting the time frame for their completion.
Pay attention to your health. Eat well, exercise regularly. Get regular health check-ups done. Take up a hobby or play a sport. Reach out to like-minded individuals. Connect with friends.
Invest in time for yourself. Get away from the city. Take breaks whenever possible and head out into the lap of nature. Nature, in all its vastness and beauty, has a big de-stressing effect. It serves as a mind, body and soul tonic. Drink it as often as you can. And last, don’t be embarrassed to reach out to family, friends and/or seek professional help if needed.
Remember, no one is immune. All are battling their own stresses.
Tips to tackle stress:
Head into the healing heart of nature when the pressures of daily life become too much to handle
Take up a hobby or sport you like
Reach out to friends and like minded people
Accept that it’s okay to not have all the answers
Reiterate your belief in yourself daily
Regularly detox from social media
** Read the published version of this article in THE HINDU here