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Stop Stressing and start living

Stress is a common problem that affects almost all of us at some point in our lives. Learning to identify when you are under stress, what is stressing you, and different ways of coping with stress can greatly improve both your mental and physical well being.

What is stress?

Stress is the non-specific response of the body and mind to any demand, whether it is caused by, or results in pleasant or unpleasant conditions or any situation, good or bad that causes you to readjust. It has also been termed as anxiety, tension, fear, phobia and panic.

Having defined stress, it is important to know if stress is bad for you. While too little stress may result in boredom, too much stress may cause an unproductive anxiety level. Hence, “moderate stress” is the key. In fact, moderate level of stress may actually improve performance and efficacy. Let us now classify what can be good and bad causes of stress (stressors).

Good stressors Bad stressors
Getting married Death of a family member / dear one
Raising children Losing things you hold dear
Buying a new house Brokenness in the family
Shifting to a new job Not being able to find a life partner
Getting a promotion Unemployment
Going on a holiday / vacation Chronic illness

It is now very evident that any activity in our day to day lives can become a stressor. While it is senseless to remain idle throughout the day, worrying that it may add to your stress, your view ought to be how best you can make of every situation that comes your way.

During a stressful period, your body will perceive that there is a change from its normal routine. These manifest as physiological, cognitive and behavioural signs.

Signs of stress

Physiological Cognitive Behavioural
Increased Blood Pressure Confusion Withdrawal
Increased pulse rate Difficulty in decision making Suspiciousness
A heart-pounding feeling in your chest Blaming others Excessive humor or silence
Dilation of the pupils Poor concentration Crying spells
Dry mouth Memory problems Increased smoking, Alcohol or food
Increased perspiration, especially on the palms Change in Activity level
Fatigue
Muscle Tension
Fast, shallow breathing
Head ache

What will happen if your body fails to respond adequately to stress?

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  • Coronary artery disease and heart attack
  • Respiratory disorders and worsening of asthma attacks
  • Migraine
  • Insomnia (lack of regular undisturbed sleep)
  • Cancer
  • Unintentional Injuries
  • Cirrhosis of liver
  • Depression and finally suicide

How can you effectively manage your stress?

The key word for managing your stress is balancing. Described below are 10 techniques that can calm your mind and relieve your stress.

1.Humour: Laughing is indeed the best medicine for any disease. If we spend a minimum of 30 – 50 minutes per day smiling, our whole body muscles feel relaxed and our stress will seem to be relieved naturally.

2. Forgive others: Forgetting and forgiving others will help us not lug around psychic wastes in our mind. The act of forgiveness will truly liberate us and free us from stress.

3. Rehydrate: Taking more liquids and fluids will improve our brain function and help in balancing our body and mind.

4. Brisk walk & Self talk: Brisk walking for 30-45 minutes daily can relieve both physical and mental stress. Additionally, there is nothing like giving yourself a pep talk for motivation.

5. Crying: Crying is one of the easiest ways to release our stress. It acts as an outlet of our pent up emotions and must not be considered a sign of emotional weakness and.

6. Yoga & Meditation: It has been repeatedly proven that stress can effectively be beaten by yoga and meditation techniques. Not only do they improve our breathing, they help to de-clutter our minds.

7. Limit alcohol, smoking and drugs

8. Sleep well with plenty of ventilation: The body is fit and fresh if it gets adequate sleep for about 6 – 8 hours. Anything less or more than that will leave anyone tired or lethargic. Sleeping in a well-ventilated room can hence relieve stress.

9. Don’t compare your values & beliefs with others: By constantly comparing ourselves with the world’s yardstick of being smarter, prettier, richer, we live our lives in a race, by totally ignoring what our natural gifts and beliefs are and never being content with what we have. We must always remember that our values, beliefs and capabilities will be different from other people.

10. Counseling: If all our self management techniques fail, there is no harm in seeking professional counseling from psychologists or psychiatrists who can help solve our stress and its related problems. This can prevent us from falling mentally ill.

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