Someone asked Chanakya – What is poison? He replied with a beautiful answer – Anything, which is more than our necessity, is poison. It may be power, greed, wealth, hunger, ego, laziness, love, ambition hate or anything.
With our current lifestyle food, clothing and shelter are no more our only basic needs. Comfort, luxuries and more of everything have been added to our necessities. We all struggle today for a modernized need of the same things that our ancestors desired for previously. Only that now, it has become more difficult and stressful to accomplish our goals.
These are some alarming statistics regarding stress that are being reported
- Indian women most stressed in the world: Nielsen survey
- Indian employers rank STRESS as no 1 lifestyle risk factor : Towers Watson survey
- Depression is among the leading causes of disability worldwide – World Health Organization
- 75% of the general population experiences at least some stress every two weeks.National Health Interview Survey
- 30% of tweens and 42% of teens say they get headaches. However, only 13% of parents reported being aware of their children having headache
So what exactly is STRESS
Stress is simply a reaction to a stimulus that disturbs our physical or mental equilibrium. We generally use the word “stress” when we feel that everything seems to have become too much – we are overloaded and wonder whether we really can cope with the pressures placed upon us.
The good news is that not all stress is bad. Do you remember the last day studies before an exam? The amount of work accomplished just before a deadline? This little bit of stress, known as “acute stress,” can be exciting—it keeps us active and alert. However, long-term, or “chronic stress,” can have detrimental effects on health
A lot of us resort to certain unhealthy ways of coping with stress. Smoking, excessive drinking, binge eating, pills or anti depressants, withdrawing from family and friends, sleeping too much, zoning out in front of the TV or computer are amongst the common stress relieving methods we resort to. These methods while have been quite effective temporally, their long term side effects would eventually add to your problems rather than help managing stress.
You may not be able to control the stressors in your world, but you can alter your reaction to them. Here are some super easy methods, which will help in Stress Management the natural way.
Yoga and Meditation
We have all read and heard – “If you want more inner peace, well being and happiness in your life, learn to meditate.” Meditation is one of the best and most effective ways for stress management. However, this is also the most difficult. There is no right way to meditate but essentially, we need to achieve a “mental silence” without any thoughts at all. Achieving this total mental silence takes a lot of practice and focus. Follow the steps here to help you in your journey towards meditation.
There are a number of yoga asanas which help in stress management too like Sukhasana, Marjaryasana, Bitilasana, Paschimottanasana and many more. But the one that helps me the most is Shavasana. This asana also helps in laying the foundation for the meditation journey.
While I do practice yoga, am still a novice at meditation and am trying out different techniques. Will share my experiences on this soon.
Stress causes physical symptoms like headaches , elevated blood pressure, insomnia, tiredness etc. Clinical studies show that even a single 1 ½-hour session can significantly lower your heart rate, and insulin levels and reduce fatigue- all of which explain why massage therapy and stress relief go hand-in-hand.
Using essential oils along with a massage enhances the benefits. Essential oils that will help with relieving stress are lavender, frankincense, rose, chamomile and vanilla.
Sleeping and proper resting is something we often tend to take for granted. We all know that our body repairs itself and rejuvenates when we sleep. Good sleep also helps to bring the stress hormones released to a normal level. Discovering your perfect bedtime, and keeping it consistent, is most important for sound sleep. You ideally need to go to bed within 15 minutes of your target bedtime. Most people need to get 5 cycles of sleep, each of which lasts for approximately 90 minutes. Quality sleep is also important where the body is relaxed with minimal or no tossing and turning and interruptions.
There are many apps available that help with sleep tracking and maintain healthy sleeping habits.
Food cravings go healthy
Most of us know our go to methods to combat stress – chocolate and chips is what I go to when I’m stressed, worried or over thinking. While these definitely help relieving stress they also help in adding numbers to the waistline as well as impact health which in the long run would again add to stress. To avoid this vicious cycle I have found healthy replacements for my favourite junk food. So when I crave for something spicy I try do a bhel or a chaat instead of chips or raisins, whole wheat biscuits etc or maybe a Kitkat (chocolate with biscuit) or dark chocolate instead of a regular one to limit the calories. I also do a hung curd dip when crave for cheese.
So do some research and find out healthy replacements for your favourite high calorie foods. Moreover, do not worry too much in case of an occasional craving. Indulge and then make up later by a few more minutes of walk or exercise.
Remember the time when (as kids) we enjoy certain activities so much that we totally lose track of time. Indulging in such a hobby or activity gives your mind a break from the anxiety or stress that you are experiencing. It gives an outlet to feel good, relaxed and confident. Since stress often comes from a sense of feeling out of control, a hobby counteracts this feeling by boosting your self esteem and sense of well being. Painting, music, photography, writing are few such hobbies, which have been proven to help in stress management.
This is one of the most fun ways to relieve stress. Closeness to a partner helps in soothing stress by sharing your problems and anxiety. Being intimate – hugging, kissing and sex goes a step further in stress management. Sexual arousal releases certain brain chemicals that revs up the brains pleasure system. This thus boosts self esteem and happiness thus negating the mental symptoms of stress.
Using these tips and tricks will surely help with managing your stresses. Lastly and the most important – get rid of all the negativity around you. Life is short – live simple to enjoy it to the fullest.
Would love to hear from you – did these tips help, tips and techniques that you use, or even maybe a hello :). You can leave a comment or get in touch on [email protected]