“I have been doing very well in the past. I was capable of carrying out any difficult task without much effort. I was continuously doing so. But now I feel extremely tired even with simple work. I don’t feel like doing anything useful. Now I forget a lot of things, and easily lose my temper. It seems like I’m always on the edge of my nerves now a days”.
This was the experience of one of my clients who was severely under stress.
What is stress?
Anything which affects our balanced mind or well being can be considered as stress. Therefore there may be no one who was not subjected to stress in his/her life.
There are lots of factors that can cause illnesses and destroy our health. They include poisons, microorganisms, chemicals, unhealthy foods, bad climate and environment, wrong habits etc. Among them, there is a huge invisible ‘germ’!
This germ is Stress – the biggest germ which makes people sick in the modern world.
People are getting stressed out more and more in the modern world. If we think about the present environment, it is not so difficult to find reasons for it.
Today we are living in a very complicated world. People are continuously on the move for more and more attractive, luxurious things. There is a huge competition among them for these luxuries. In today’s world, it may be difficult to survive without defeating others. This is a quick world. We have become used to getting everything done quickly. We have to fight for our targets at every moment – not only when we are awake – but also in our dreams. Even though we get a little rest in between the work, it is not enough to ‘rest’ really.
The natural body reaction to stressful situation is a normal thing. In such situations, there is a sudden rise in our body hormones (eg. CORTICOSTEROIDES, ADRENALINE). They increase the heart rate and respiratory rate; deepen the breathing; increase muscle tension, and cause lots of other changes. The idea is to adjust our body to face such situation. This is called ‘fight or flight reaction’.
This is not harmful in small doses. But if this occurs frequently in large doses, it causes serious health problems. This reaction is frequently occurring in a person who is under severe stress continuously. So, those individuals are more prone to mental and physical illness.
If you increase the pressure inside a water line system, it tends to rupture from the weak point. This phenomenon can be applied to the human body. Stress can cause illnesses in different parts of the body, or can aggravate an existing illness. The physical body acts as a mirror of your emotions.
What are the physical illnesses (signs and symptoms) that occur following stress?.
- aches and pains in certain areas or all over the body
- frequent headaches
- high blood pressure, heart diseases, respiratory diseases
- non healing wounds
- obesity or wasting of body
Stress can cause psychological problems as well.
- lack of energy, tiredness, poor sleep
- poor memory and difficulty in concentrating
- sadness, anger and depression
- alteration of food habits
- social withdrawal, poor interpersonal relationships
- alcohol, drugs and cigarette addiction
There is no doubt that the stress should be controlled for better health and to achieve our goals.
How to manage the stress?
This is the most popular question in the modern world.
The following methods are used all over the world to minimize stress.
1 Adequate rest- taking a short rest between work. But it is not adequate to eliminate stress. Mind needs adequate time to calm down and to recover. The person should be shifted from his regular environment to a completely new situation, and should involve in completely new activities.
2. Healthy food- food plays an important role in stress. Fast food (fast sugar releasing substances), meat products, chocolates can increase the stress level by altering body hormones. Foods which reduce stress are fruits, vegetables, grains and green leaves.
3. Hobbies- this is not difficult to understand. Everyone has hobbies. Sports are very good as a hobby in stress management, as it gives exercise.
4. Excercise- exercise is a very good relaxant. When we involve in regular exercise the mind is also exercising with the body. Body will be fresh and healthy after such activity. Endorphin is secreted during exercise, and it reduces the stress.
5. Professional assistance- There are a number of techniques of relaxation practiced all over the world. Qualified therapists are available for such assistance. Meditation is a very good relaxation technique. Few minutes of proper meditation can give several hours rest. Hypnotherapy is also very effective in stress releasing. In addition to that, traveling, music, yoga, listening to natural sounds.etc can be useful.
6. Proper understanding and simple attitudes- Some people cannot be satisfied with anything. They complain that they are not happy with whatever they have. This is totally due to wrong attitudes they have. That is the nature of human mind. If anyone has lots of desires, requests or hopes, he starts chasing them. This is a direct reason for stress. But on the other hand, a person with a simple life can be satisfied easily. This is the secret of stress management.