Stress me not

Head into the healing heart of nature when the pressures of daily life become too much to handle

December 10, 2016 04:20 pm | Updated 04:20 pm IST

Take up a hobby or play a sport. Reach out to like-minded individuals to keep stress at bay.

Take up a hobby or play a sport. Reach out to like-minded individuals to keep stress at bay.

How often has your doctor asked about your stress levels? Irrespective of the illness or the system of treatment (allopathy, homeopathy, ayurveda or naturopathy), the doctor is eager to know this. The answer, however, is not straightforward. One physician concluded in a 1951 issue of The British Medical Journal that, “Stress in addition to being itself, was also the cause of itself, and the result of itself.” People have different perceptions of stress and different stressors. Given that there is no conclusive way of measuring stress, understanding it in relation to symptoms and effects is important to recognise and manage it.

Many emotional and physical disorders are stress related. These range from the simple to the complex — allergies, cold and cough, skin conditions (rashes, hives etc.), gastrointestinal issues (peptic ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome, colitis etc.), insomnia, muscular aches and pains, certain cancers, autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis, and degenerative neurological disorders like Parkinson’s disease — to name a few.

Stress impacts all the key body systems: nervous, musculosketal, respiratory, reproductive, endocrine, cardiovascular and gastrointestinal. While some stress can be a good driving force, excessive or uncontrolled levels are detrimental, creating physical and emotional upheavals.

There are several common signs and symptoms of stress, some quite obvious, others not so. Stress can emanate from anywhere — home, workplace or due to sudden developments. It can be a transient response to ad hoc situations or worse, become more permanent in response to lifestyle, enterprise demands and unpleasant life events. It needs to be addressed accordingly at all levels. Stress management, in a sense, could alter between confrontational and reconciliatory approaches.

Taking tough decisions to confront and weed out some stressors may seem stressful in itself, but needs to be followed through to remove negative influences and seek a more peaceful state of being. Reorganizing our day to day lives is important too.

Time management and understanding priorities are important. This helps in distinguishing the ‘very important’ from the ‘not-so-important’ tasks and achieving them within deadlines. Be realistic in taking on multiple tasks and setting the time frame for their completion.

Pay attention to your health. Eat well, exercise regularly. Get regular health check-ups done. Take up a hobby or play a sport. Reach out to like-minded individuals. Connect with friends.

Invest in time for yourself. Get away from the city. Take breaks whenever possible and head out into the lap of nature. Nature, in all its vastness and beauty, has a big de-stressing effect. It serves as a mind, body and soul tonic. Drink it as often as you can. And last, don’t be embarrassed to reach out to family, friends and/or seek professional help if needed. Remember, no one is immune. All are battling their own stresses.

Vani B. Pahwa is an exercise and rehab specialist, corporate wellness coach, and foot and gait analyst.

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