“Health is a large word. It embraces not the body only, but the mind and spirit as well; and not today’s pain or pleasure alone, but the whole being and outlook of a man”
~ James H. West
One feels stressed when they experience that they lack adequate resources to meet a demanding situation. Do not wait until stress damages your health, relationships and the quality of your life. The first step to stress management is to identify the sources that cause stress. It’s important to understand that your own thoughts, feelings and behavior can contribute to your everyday stress levels.
Once you’ve identified your stress triggers, think about strategies to deal with them. If you cannot alter the stressor, change yourself. You can adapt to stressful circumstances by changing your expectations and attitude. Practicing stress management techniques will help you counter the ill effects of stress and increase your coping mechanism. Total elimination of stress maybe unrealistic, management of stress is an attainable goal which can be achieved by various strategies.
To overcome stress:
1. Add humor to your life-
Being able to laugh away stress is one of the best ways to ward away its ill effects.
2. Maintain a healthy lifestyle-
Eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly and get enough sleep.
Nourished and healthy bodies are better equipped to cope with stress, so be conscious of what you eat. Your diet has a profound effect on your mood and sense of wellbeing. It must make you feel good and energetic. Eat foods filled with colours and fibre and are closest to the way nature made it. Healthy and timely intake of food makes a tremendous difference to the way you look, think and feel.
Physically active people are less likely to experience depression and anxiety as compared with people who live a sedentary life. Exercise is an effective way to relieve stress as it invigorates your body with extra intake of oxygen and facilitates blood circulation. While exercising, the brain releases chemicals like dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine that make you feel good and relaxed. Regular exercise increases strength and flexibility, aids sleep, reduces risk of coronary heart disease, osteoarthritis, type 2 diabetes and depression.
Adequate sleep fuels both your mind and body. It helps to strengthen memory and maintain a good mood, keeps you trim, boosts your immune system and fights inflammation. It keeps your heart and blood vessels healthy, regulates hormonal levels, blood pressure and body repairs damaged tissue while sleeping.
3. Keep yourself hydrate-
Your bodies and organs, including your brain, are significantly dependent on water to function properly. You will function much below your optimum level and will get stressed if the water intake is insufficient.
While urinating you can observe if your urine is clear, indicating that you are well hydrated. However if it is yellow your water intake is not adequate and you should take corrective measures.
4. Make a conscious effort to spend less time in front of a screen-
Social media or television should not be the concluding destination of your evening. Television, computer and phone unmistakably eat into your sleep time, leaving you more drained. Human bodies release a hormone called melatonin that aids to induce sleep. Pre-bedtime exposure to blue light emitted by screens decreases melatonin release. Your sleep is adequate if you can wake up spontaneously without using an alarm and feel rested on waking up.
5. Spend time in Nature-
Urban life surrounds you with artificial environments, radiations and unnatural electromagnetic fields. When you enter the world of nature you will feel peaceful and calm. Being away from anything manmade gives you valuable perspective and insights.
6. Manage to take out time for yourself-
It is important to nurture yourself and take out time for whatever makes you feel alive and happy. You may take pleasure in a massage, dance or listen to music. You may enjoy playing with a pet, an outdoor game, gardening or watching a comedy. Pursue a hobby that interests you and gives you a sense of fulfilment.
7. Diaphragmatic breathing is an important tool in stress management-
Natural breathing is to breathe deeply enabling the diaphragm to move up and down utilising the maximum capacity of the lungs. Few minutes of diaphragmatic breathing instantly lowers the stress levels. It stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system to induce a state of calm.
It remains one of the most effective methods of counteracting stress other than countless other benefits. It helps you to still your mind and master negative thought patterns which are often the root cause of stress.
9. Practice gratitude-
Spend a little time to reflect on all the things you appreciate in your life, including your own positive qualities. Expressing and feeling gratitude reduces stress and helps you keep things in perspective.
10. Think Positive and be conscious that self talk is positive too.
11. Do not try to control things that cannot be controlled.
Adjust and adapt instead.
12. Take help of your support network-
This could include your family, friends, people at work and professional providers, such as counselors or family doctors. Studies reveal that people with a balanced social support structure experience lesser stress-related symptoms and are better stress managers.
Remind yourself that life is fleeting and nothing is permanent. We need this perspective in order to remember what truly matters and that life is too precious to fret. Stress management needs to be regular and a continuous effort.
Anupama Garg is the Author of “The Tantric Curse”
The views and opinions expressed by the writer are personal and do not necessarily reflect the official position of VOM.
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