Stress is a psychological and physical reaction to the demands of life. A small amount of stress can be good, motivating you to perform better. However excessive stress due to continuous challenges can push you beyond your ability to cope with it.
A person can experience stress due to many reasons like financial issues, a loved one’s illness, retirement or an emotionally devastating event, such as the death of a spouse or being fired from work. However, much of our stress comes from less dramatic everyday responsibilities.
Prolonged stress can affect not only mental health but physical health as well. In response to stressors, your body automatically increases blood pressure, heart rate, respiration, metabolism, and blood flow to your muscles. Stress can increase the risk of stroke, heart attack, peptic ulcers, and mental illnesses such as depression. Usually, recurrent stress makes you more and more vulnerable to the subsequent stressor.
A physician can diagnose stress on the basis of mental, physical and behavioral signs like Inability to concentrate, memory lapses & forgetfulness, less intuitiveness & creativity, anxiety, irritability, lack of motivation, constipation or diarrhea, unexplained weight loss or gain, insomnia, social withdrawal, etc.
Anyone can manage stress in a few simple ways-
The first step of managing stress is finding out the root cause of stress because the stress management methods won’t be effective unless they address the root cause. Sometimes a person may feel that he is stressed out because of a certain situation but the underlying stressor might be his attitude towards the situation.
The second step is to eliminate the stressor or trying to reduce the intensity of the stressor.
The third step is to modify your behavior and adopt some easy relaxing techniques which are-
Be realistic– Don’t set unrealistic targets and keep in mind that if you are always pursuing perfection in everything, you will never be content.
Get help from others– Don’t try to be superman/superwoman. Ask yourself, “How much I can do? Is the deadline realistic? Can I do it on my own?” and if you need help never hesitate to ask for it.
Learn to say NO– “No is not always negative” Shed the people pleasing attitude and always consider whether it will comfortable for you before making any commitment or granting favor.
Learn time management– Don’t get yourself overwhelmed by trying to do everything at the same time. Prioritize your activities and eliminate those which are not necessary.
Spend time with friends and family
Spending quality time with family members and friends strengthens the bond and induce a sense of security and belongingness. It can help you to fight stressors
Exercise– Physical exercise promotes the release of endorphins in the brain. These endorphins interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain perception and consequently stress.
Get enough sleep– Though the amount of sleep required varies from person to person, it is important for everyone to get sufficient sleep. A sound sleep helps your brain to restart and helps you to stay focused.
Clear your Ego– Switch from ‘Ego’ to ‘Easy go’. The less egoistic you are the less are your chances to get stressed out by setbacks.
Avoid negativity– Stay away from negative people, places and things. Read inspirational/motivational books.
Listen to music– The soothing power of music is well-established. Listening to music can have a tremendously relaxing effect on our mind and body, especially slow, quiet classical music.
Practice self-affirmation– Sometimes it helps convincing yourself that you are not stressed. Tell yourself “No stressor can induce stress in me, I am the master of my life and I have all the abilities to combat stress”
Get some ‘Me Time’ – Reserve at least half an hour every day for your own. Use this time to be creative and to process your thoughts and feelings without external influence.
Meditation– Meditation can produce a deep state of relaxation and a tranquil mind. During meditation, you focus your attention and eliminate the stream of jumbled thoughts that may be crowding your mind and causing stress.
Get help from experts– Stress can be hard to deal with on your own. It’s okay to seek help if you need it. Talk to your doctor about the stress you’re feeling and how it affects you. A licensed counselor or other health professionals can help you find ways to reduce stress symptoms.
Dr. H.P. Sinha | Consultant Neurology | MMI Narayana Multispeciality Hospital