Don't loose your heart to Stress,,, Wellness series in Metro PLus

Written and reviewed by
Dr. Partha Bose 88% (111 ratings)
MBBS, DTCD, MD, FISDA, Fellow Pulmonary, Critical Care & Sleepmedicine
Pulmonologist, Delhi  •  36 years experience
A certain intensity of stress is must for productivity but when it goes on for months it affects your health. It may seem that there’s nothing you can do about stress. There is always stress to change or challenge. But you learn to manage by practising healthy ways. In fact, the simple realisation that you’re in control of your life is the foundation of stress management. Managing stress is all about taking charge of your thoughts, emotions, schedule, and the way you deal your situations.

The first step in managing stress is recognising it in your life. Everyone feels stress in a different way. You may get angry or irritable, lose sleep, or have headaches or stomach. You should learn your own body and identify your symptoms and identify the situations that cause you stress. These are called stressors. Your stressors could be family, work, relationships, money or health problems. Once you understand where your stress is coming from, you can come up with ways to deal with your stressors.

You feel stressed, you may fall back on unhealthy behaviours to help you relax. These may include eating too much, smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol or using drugs, sleeping too much or not sleeping enough. These behaviours may help you feel better at first, but they may hurt you more than they help.

Avoid stressful situations. When you can, remove yourself from the source of stress. Change your outlook. Try to develop a more positive attitude towards challenges. Replace negative thoughts with positive ones. For example, rather than thinking, “Why does everything always go wrong?” change this thought to, “I can find a way to get through this.” Keep stress from making you sick by learning healthy ways .The first step in managing stress is recognising it in your life. Everyone feels stress in a different way. What are your signs of stress? Once you know the signals, recognize the things you can’t change. For example, you have a spastic child which can’t change. But you should have courage to handle the situation in much more positive way that’s is the wisdom of life. Nurture positivity. Positive people are assertive, confidant, happy and humane and they have right emotional wellness. The negative people have low self esteem, are fearful, unhappy and have poor emotional wellness. These are the people who suffer from stress the most. They are fearful, stressful and judgemental. Stress gives anxiety. Anxiety gives restlessness, depression and poor coping mechanism.

A good stress control is must for optimum wellness. First and foremost one should practice talking to oneself on daily basis for at least 10 minutes. This will help to keep a balance between expressive and repressive emotions. Do a daily auto laboratory check, identify strength, overcome weakness by playing strength over weakness. A daily auto mind body check will control anger, frustration, guilt and fear.

Once you are done with your analysis, practise zero feeling though 360 degree wellness practice. This involves physical, mental, emotional, environmental, social and spiritual wellness practices. Stress management needs a daily programme and it should be a habit. Daily systematic practice helps you start your day from zero.

Start a stress diary. A stress diary can help you identify the regular stressors in your life and the way you deal with them. Each time you feel stressed, keep track of it in your journal. As you keep a daily log, you will begin to see patterns and common themes.

Write down:

What caused your stress (make a guess if you’re unsure). How you felt, both physically and emotionally. How you acted in response. What you did to make yourself feel better.

Dealing with Stressful Situations: The Four A’s

A. Change the situation: Avoid the stressor or alter the stressor

B. Change your reaction: Adapt to the stressor or accept the stressor

Practice following steps to overcome stress

Talk to yourself and say I will, I must and I can do
Think of your strengths and weaknesses and now toss your mind
Set your priorities
Delegate responsibilities
Do a proper time management
See the bigger picture, see failure as an event not as failure. Learn from mistakes
Love and pamper yourself
Focus on fitness, do regular brisk activity. Walking, swimming, tread mill, gardening, sweat adequately. Sweat releases feel good hormone called endorphins. Endorphins improve wellness.
Rest and relax. Breathing techniques help relaxation. Annapani sati, Buddhist meditation, do bramhari or do Om chanting . These practices create resonance in your higher mind and helps release of feel good hormones
Breathing exercises mainly abdominal breathing, Kapalbhati increases your parasympathetic activity and counters your sympathetic activity. Do breathing in exercises like Anulom Vilom and do sequential eye, cervical, spinal and finger a toe exercises. Rest in sharvangasana
Eat right. Eat a diet rich in complex carbohydrates with low glycemic index, high protein, plenty of fruits and vegetables. Drink ten glasses of water. Have a sumptuous break fast, take small frequent meals.
Do an auto cognitive behaviour analysis and remove negative thoughts.
Practise visual imagery, feel good by running through your nostalgic photo album
Talk to people, develop dialogue and seek help.
Play games, games relax and make you positive
Develop a hobby
Listen to music
Follow good sleep hygiene, stick to one time to bed, take bath before sleep
Laughing helps
If your can’t manage stress on your own, consider seeing a therapist or counsellor.

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