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“Always fight for your highest attainable aim but never put up resistance in vain…’’.
Hans Selye (FATHER OF STRESS)

Stress is an unavoidable consequence of life.

We have experienced stress several times, probably while being stuck up in traffic, when we are getting late or when receiving that unexpected bill or when we cannot cope up with work or probably after our close relatives death or having argument.

As Hans Selye (who coined the term as it is currently used) noted, “Without stress, there would be no life”.

However, just as distress, it seems possible that there are good stresses that promote wellness. Stress is not always necessarily harmful. Winning a race or election can be just as stressful as losing, but may trigger very different biological response.

Increased stress result in increased productivity – up to a point. However, this level differs from each of us. It’s very much like the stress on violin string. Not enough produces a dull, raspy sound. Too much tension makes a shrill, annoying noise or snaps the string. However, just the right degree can create a magnificent tone. Similarly we all need to find the proper level of stress that allows us to perform optimally and make melodious music as we go through life.

It has been estimated hat 75 – 90 percent of all visits to primary care physicians are for stress related problem.

Job Stress is the leading source of stress for adults but stress level have also escaladed in children, teenagers, college students and the elderly for other reasons, including:

    • Threats to personal safety;
    • Pernicious peer pressure that leads to substance abuse and other unhealthy lifestyle habits;
    • Social isolation and loneliness;
    • The erosion of family and religious values and ties.

Showing signs of stress does not mean that you are a weak individual who cannot cope! It means you are human like everyone else! Our body is a wonderful machine and like a machine when some demand is placed, it has to respond.

Some machines can be like racehorses while others can be like turtles. Some people like racehorses, thrive on stress and are only happy with a vigorous and fast paced life style. Others are like turtles requiring peace, quietness and a generally tranquil environment to be happy.

People react differently to the situations they have to face because they are all unique individuals. Some may be very passive personalities whilst others may be very competitive.

Each of us reacts to stress differently. Some of us tighten our muscles; others dump more acid into their stomach, still others have freezing cold hands or feet, can’t sleep, headaches, …….. and, of course, it gets even worse as things get out of hand.

Too much stress can slowly build like a kettle on the stove. Within minutes it is hissing. After a few more minutes it is bubbling with the lid rattling. This can happen in a few minutes, a few years or over a lifetime.

    Stress, unchecked, can make you ill and can lead to chronic illnesses like

    • Allergic Rhinitis ( cold and cough often )
    • Migrane headaches
    • Skin Diseases like eczema, urticaria, dermatitis, wart, acne etc
    • Acidity and heartburn
    • Stomach ulcers
    • Hairfall, dandruff, alopecia
    • Spondylosis, backache, arthritis
    • Irritable bowel syndrome
    • Anxiety neurosis, Depression
    • Anorexia Nervosa ( loss of appetite )
    • Hormonal imbalance leading to Thyroid related problems, PCOD etc

It is very important to take positive action when faced with stress as, if experienced over a period of time; it can seriously impair your mental and physical health.

Not all stress or tension is bad. You need to have some to drive a car safely down a city freeway or watch a two year old at the playground.

To know stress and how we can manage it, let’s understand it through this case given below.

CASE

Mr. Sharma, 37 yrs old man, was recently diagnosed to have hypertension. He also complained of burning in stomach, on fasting. He said he had acidity since years.

When he came in to my clinic he looked edgy and uncomfortable. He looked at his watch as he sat down and he seemed to be in a hurry.

I asked him, as to anything that was worrying him recently? …. He laughed wryly.

He then explained that his company had recently promoted him to a new position. As a result of his promotion he had been given much greater responsibility. He had to do lot more traveling and was in charge of several other employees under him. He told me that all the extra work he had to do, have created havoc with his home life and had meant that he had no longer time to play with his younger children. He confessed that he had never before in his life felt quiet so much under stress. He wanted to know as to how he could cope up with his stress.

Let us first understand what stress is.

Stress is our own physical and emotional reaction to

    • Challenges
    • Demands
    • Change

The body has an inbuilt physical response to stressful situations. Faced with pressure, challenge or danger, we need to react quickly, and our bodies release hormones such as Cortisol and Adrenaline to help us do this. These hormones are part of the “fight or flight” response and affect the metabolic rate, heart rate and blood pressure, resulting in a heightened – or stressed – state that prepares the body for optimum performance in dealing with a stressful situation.

Very often, modern stresses do not call for either fight or flight. Nevertheless, the same stressing hormones are released as part of the reaction and this natural reaction to challenge or danger, instead of helping, can damage health and reduce the ability to cope.

Basic sources of stress

    • Environment - Weather, noise, traffic
    • Social - money, job, deadlines, disagreements, demands, losses, family problems
    • Physical - adolescence, menopause, illness, aging, accidents, poor nutrition, too little sleep
    • Thoughts - how we think about ourselves and the world
    • Emotional - fears and anxieties
    • Chemical - pesticides, pollution, nicotine, excess caffeine

Here are few tips with the help of which Mr. Sharma could cope up with the stress better.

Follow some simple rules

    • Cut out unnecessary work whenever possible. This is just as important at home as at work. Many chores become habits – even though they may not be necessary. Like, don’t wash the car unless it’s really dirty or never iron your socks or knickers. You need to take judgment as to which work is necessary and which one is unnecessary.
    • Leave a quarter of your time unscheduled. If you pack your day with appointments and commitments then the inevitable crisis will throw you into a panic.
    • Make a list of everything you’ve got to do each week. Put urgent items on one list; less urgent items on second list and non-urgent items on a third list. This way you can make sure that you do the urgent stuff first-before you get chased.
    • Break down big jobs into small, manageable parts to reduce the stress levels.
    • If you have to take on something new, try and make sure that you give up some thing that you are already doing – otherwise your work quantity will simply expand until you collapse.
    • Allow other people to help you as often as possible. At work, delegate whenever you can. Try to surround yourself with people who you can trust. At home when your children are older enough, gradually increase their responsibility of work.
    • Make relaxation a priority – and put it onto your urgent list every week. You should spend some time everyday relaxing – and you need to be able to relax effectively and thoroughly.
    • Make physical fitness a priority – the fitter you are the better you will be able to cope with stress and pressure.
    • Don’t let your work invade every aspect of your life. If you take work home, make sure that you only work in one room.
    • Learn to say “no”. It may be hard. But it is often a lot easier than saying ‘yes’ to things that you don’t really want to do, as for which you haven’t time

Along with counseling and tips to cope up with stress, homoeopathy medicine was also given. i.e. his constitutional medicine was given along with Ginseng mother tincture.

Along with counseling sometimes medicines are also necessary. Whenever we go through mental strain, chemical imbalance takes place that cause certain illnesses. This can be only corrected with medication like homeopathy, which doesn’t have any side effects.

Ten Useful Stress Busters

Stress busters are temporary stress relievers that anybody can make use of in their daily lives. They are simple and yet very effective.

Laughter

Adopting a humorous view towards life’s situations can take the edge off everyday stressors. Not being too serious or in a constant alert mode helps maintain the equanimity of mind and promote clear thinking. Being able to laugh stress away is the smartest way to ward off its effects.

Regular exercise

Go for regular walks everyday in the morning, it is the best time to go. If you have been very busy in your social life then this will help to give you space, to plan your day.

If you have not been a social animal then morning walks will help you to make social contact. Apart from this it also helps in the following way:

    • Increases vigor
    • Makes you feel better
    • Improves posture
    • Improves (deepens) sleep
    • Helps you maintain a good weight
    • Increase alertness
    • Reduces fatigue
    • Reduces depression
    • Increases self-esteem
    • Reduces tension

Balanced Diet

Eating a well balanced diet at right times helps a lot. It helps in:

    • Increasing productivity
    • Makes your feel better
    • Reduced risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, stroke, osteoporosis
    • Helps maintain normal weight.

Yoga / Relaxation

Yoga is known to help you to relax completely. It also gives positive energy.

For those of you who are religiously minded, a moment of meditation and prayer goes a long way towards serenity.

For relaxation these exercises given below takes only five minutes is very useful.

Five Minute Exercises

If you’re feeling exceptionally stressed, try some of these five minute exercises.

    • Count slowly to ten. Breathe deeply in on the odd numbers and breathe out on the even numbers.
    • Tighten your entire body from head to toes. Then, slowly relax the muscles in your body starting with the toes and working your way up to the neck and shoulder muscles.
    • Do a few small circular muscle Stretchers with your wrists, ankles, and neck.
    • Close your eyes and imagine a place where you feel happy and relaxed.Keep that image in your mind when you are stressed.

Live food

Fresh food like, green Vegetables, carrot, fresh fruits, ginseng, iced tea and stress busters since they are anti oxidant.

Hobbies

Give some time to yourself. Know what your interests are and divert some time towards it. Like reading, writing, cooking, listening to music etc. do something that gives you pleasure.

Take time for you

Our life is not meant to be spent in work and tension all of the time! You need to take some time for yourself. Go see a movie, attend a happy hour, cruise the mall, or get to the gym! There’s more to life than WORKING and, let me tell you, there will ALWAYS be more work to do!

Communicate

One must have a close friend, whom you can trust, with whom he/she can relate to. Talking usually help and gives a sense of relief apart from that you can also get some opinion.

If you don’t have anybody, look into the mirror and try talking about your problems to yourself.

Bathing

You must have noticed that the day when we do not take bathe our whole day becomes lousy. After you had a busy day and you are really tired and you want to look fresh as ever, the best thing to do at that time is to take bath. It will give you a sense of relief.

Take time outs

We give children time outs when they need a break to cool off and get back on task. Why not give yourself one every now and then? When you’re feeling a little hot under the collar and are ready to strangle somebody for sometime…anything….that’s the moment you need to take a TIME OUT! Turn away from the situation, go out into the hallway, and collect yourself. You’ll find that even with a small amount of distance, your blood pressure will lower and you will have a fresh look at the situation.

Visit a stress counsellor

It may be prudent to visit a stress counselor as sometimes you may need medication as well as counseling.

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