Keep stress at bay


Life in 21st century has become speedy. People are always on the run. There is so much to do in so little time. On the process they develop a major problem in their life i.e. stress. So what is stress? There is much debate over what is an accurate definition of stress. This is about the simplest and most complete definition I have found. “Stress is the physical and mental reaction to a challenge.” In short, stress is a negative emotional experience associated with biological changes that trigger your body to make adaptation. For example in response to stress, your adrenal glands pump out stress hormones that speed up your body, your heart beat increases leading to many diseases. Today most stress stems from interpersonal situations. Hans Selye who is considered the father of stress management defined stress as the wear and tear on the body. Once you are in a state of stress, the body adapts to stress by depleting its resources until it becomes exhausted.

Managing your stress is no easy feat particularly since there are different types of stress. Here, we will discuss about two types of stress: Acute Stress and Chronic Stress. Acute Stress results from an acute situation such as a sudden, unexpected negative event or a difficult task like organising a wedding or planning for a conference. Acute Stress can be episodic. Meaning that one stressful event follows another, creating a continuous flow of acute stress. I sometimes refer to acute stress as the good stress. Often good things from this kind of stress, even though it feels stressful or bad in the short term .On the other hand Chronic Stress can be referred as bad stress .It results from boredom and stagnation, as well as prolonged negative circumstances. These kinds of situation can lead to depression, low self-esteem, and a host of physical illness.

Here are few tips to help you keep stress at bay:

• Eat Well: Eating well helps to regulate our stress levels and our moods. The “B” vitamins are important for mental health. When you don’t have enough “brain foods”, you can become more prone to stress, anxiety or depression. So, plan a diet that is based on a variety of foods, rather than one that is mostly carbohydrate. Try to cut down on substances that stimulate your heart and increase irritability. Caffeine and Nicotine are the worst aggravators during stress.

• Sleep Well: Sleep deprivation is one of the chief aggravators of stress. Lack of sleep increases levels of cortisol, a stress hormone. Napping after work for couple of hours (or during the day if you work from home) can dramatically improve sleep deprivation. Avoiding alcohol and caffeine before bedtime also can help.

• Practice Yoga and Meditation: For many, yoga is not just about various stretches or postures. It is actually a way of life it involves relaxing meditation, breathing, and physical postures designed to tone and soothe your mental state. Meditation helps to relieve a range of stress-related symptoms such as anxiety, panic attacks and irritability .It requires you to stop thinking (about your life, problems etc.) and just be. Going for a nature walk, listening to music, and listening only the sounds of your own breathing are all forms of meditation.

• Be creative: Creativity can

dramatically lower stress levels. Creative activities include are in all its forms: words, fine arts, visual arts, performing arts, hobbies or sports. Writing particularly in the form of journaling or writing poetry or letters is a stress buster.

• Make friends: In the mean

time loneliness is stressful. Make friends so that you are not alone and thinking useless things. Join a club, partying or find some sort of social group to belong to by looking into clubs, art classes and so on. This will help you keep yourself busy and stress no more.

• Reorganise your Work Place: You may not be aware of how much stress you endure by simply working in the nine-to-five work place.

The work place is a volatile stress factory for most employees. One reason is the constant threat of losing your job, as mergers and downsizing have increased job stress for

millions. The most significant factors in job stress is a sense of powerlessness over your job or duties. So, if you do what you love, you will love what you do. And you will feel so much better, even though you may not make as much money. Besides if you still feel overwhelmed by stress talk to a professional. Simply finding someone objective to talk to can make an enormous difference. Life is short eat desserts first!