Articles on occupational stress

Is Stress Affecting Your Sex Life?

Dr. Sujoy Dasgupta, Gynecologist/Obstetrician
In our modern life, stress is an indispensable part. Career, jobs, studies, incomes, business, money, property- all are associated with some sorts of stress. The problem gets exaggerated when it affects the family life. Because, at the end of the day, we all want to enjoy a happy family life. And a family life has its sense when the husband and the wife are in harmony. Needless to say, that a family is incomplete without a kid. How stress affects family life? Effect of stress is not limited to mind. It has serious effects in the body. It affects blood circulation and the heart. It puts pressure on nerves. It also alters the blood sugar level. And he end result is diabetes, hypertension (high blood pressure) and heart diseases. Ultimately these diseases affect all the organs of our body. Some people try to get rid of stress by smoking and alcohol. These will simply put burden on already affected heart and blood. Stress also alters important hormone levels in our body. The hormones needed for basic reproductive function (sex, conception and pregnancy) are either increased or decreased. Prolactin hormone is increased. Normally prolactin is needed to secrete milk from breast to fed the baby. But abnormally increased prolactin leads to milk secretion from breast (even without pregnancy) and irregularities in periods. Very high prolactin may even lead to problems with ovulation (at middle of each period, the egg gets released from ovary) and as a result, the woman cannot conceive a baby. Even in male, high prolactin leads to difficulty in erection of penis. In some male, it can lead to gynaecomastia (growth of male breast). Excessive high dose of prolatin leads to loss of sex desire in male and interferes with spermatogenesis (sperm production).Apart from increasing prolactin, stress can directly affect the hormones secreted from the pituitary gland of both male and female, the testes in male and the ovaries in female. As a result, all the reproductive functions get disturbed leading to problems in sex (loss of desire in both male and female, problems in erection and ejaculation in male), irregular periods in female and ultimately pregnancy cannot occur. The diseases occurring as a result of stress (diabetes, hypertension etc) also affect the normal functions of ovaries causing irregular periods, even no periods at all. There may be problems in ovulation and thus difficulties in achieving pregnancy. Even if pregnancy occurs, it may be aborted because of these diseases. Similarly in male, diabetes and hypertension will cause sexual dysfunction and will affect sperm production. The lifestyles accompanying stress are also responsible for harmful effects on family life. Smoking and alcohol have been mentioned earlier. Stress may be associated with abnormal weight gain and that will affect the woman’s life in badly manner. There will be disturbances in periods, ovulation problems, infertility and even pregnancy loss. Sitting for long time while driving or keeping laptops on laps, will increase the temperature of scrotum in male and thus will decrease the sperm production. Again there is a vicious cycle- stress leads to family problems like problems in sex and in having pregnancy. That will in turn increase pressures from family (especially in-laws) and the society. This will simple aggravate the stress. So, what can be done to avoid these problems? The answer seems to be simple- that is avoiding stress. But it’s very easy to say and difficult to commit. First thing is try to bring stress at home just keep it at your workplace. Avoid smoking and cut down alcohol consumption. Avoid sitting long time in front of computers and take periodical rests when you are working continuously. The rest does not mean that you have to lie down in bed; just have a short walk. Start exercise that will keep you healthy and reduce your stress. Yoga is an Indian culture that taught the Western world how to reduce stress. Take plenty of water and green vegetables and fruits. Avoid fast food. Always put on comfortable dresses. And if all of these do not work, try if you can do something to avoid the stress- like changing the workplace, talking directly to your co-employees or the employer. If still all these cannot help, consult psychological counselor. A timely counseling will reduce stress significantly. In very few cases, drugs may be needed to reduce stress. But remember, drugs can only be useful if you are trying all the other measures. Simple dependence on drugs won’t help much.Now regarding family problems associated with stress follow simple measures. Often we feel embarrassed to discuss these issues. Try to enjoy time of personal intimacy to the fullest. Don’t think of any problems during that time. If still there are problems, don’t hesitate to take medical help. And please remember, the drugs used to solve sexual problems may have side effects. So, these should be taken only after medical consultation. In case of female, maintain optimum weight. Avoid fast food, alcohol and smoking. If periods are irregular, maintain a menstrual diary. Consult a doctor to find out if there are some serious issues associated with these problems (like hormonal problems, thyroid diseases, even some tumours). You doctor will then decide the best treatment for you. If there are low desire for sex, don’t hesitate to take help of doctor. It may be a symptom of hormone deficiency that can affect your different systems (like bone, heart, blood etc). Now a days, there are lots of treatment options available for this.For male, if there is low desire, consult your doctor to find out the cause of this problem. At the same time, avoid any anxiety, alcohol and smoking. Sometimes there are problems with erection. Instead of trying drugs shown in media or newspaper, feel free to talk to your doctor; because erection problem may be caused by some serious issues like heart disease, diabetes etc. So, if you have erection problems, consult doctor. He/ she will counsel you and give you the best treatment. Now if the problem is with ejaculation (like early loss of semen or very low semen), that issue can also be solved in the same way.What’s about infertility problems? Stress and infertility are inter-related, as described before. Now, if there is problem with fertility, please remember few facts. Even in totally healthy couples, the chance of pregnancy after regular intercourse in fertile period (in the middle of menstrual cycle, usually) is only 20%. Though it appears disappointing, majority of couples conceive in course of time. So, couples are requested to report to doctor only if they tried regularly for one year without any protection. Then your doctor will assess you and try to find out the problem. And again, treatment of infertility is also depending on chance. Hat means we have to increase the chance above the natural chance (which is 20%). So, even one treatment fails, there is enough scope, so no need to lose hope. In other words, there is no need to increase the stress.So, stay healthy, keep your mind healthy by avoiding stress and keep your family relationship totally stress-free. In our modern life, stress is an indispensable part. Career, jobs, studies, incomes, business, money, property- all are associated with some sorts of stress. The problem gets exaggerated when it affects the family life. Because, at the end of the day, we all want to enjoy a happy family life. And a family life has its sense when the husband and the wife are in harmony. Needless to say, that a family is incomplete without a kid. How stress affects family life? Effect of stress is not limited to mind. It has serious effects in the body. It affects blood circulation and the heart. It puts pressure on nerves. It also alters the blood sugar level. And he end result is diabetes, hypertension (high blood pressure) and heart diseases. Ultimately these diseases affect all the organs of our body. Some people try to get rid of stress by smoking and alcohol. These will simply put burden on already affected heart and blood. Stress also alters important hormone levels in our body. The hormones needed for basic reproductive function (sex, conception and pregnancy) are either increased or decreased. Prolactin hormone is increased. Normally prolactin is needed to secrete milk from breast to fed the baby. But abnormally increased prolactin leads to milk secretion from breast (even without pregnancy) and irregularities in periods. Very high prolactin may even lead to problems with ovulation (at middle of each period, the egg gets released from ovary) and as a result, the woman cannot conceive a baby. Even in male, high prolactin leads to difficulty in erection of penis. In some male, it can lead to gynaecomastia (growth of male breast). Excessive high dose of prolatin leads to loss of sex desire in male and interferes with spermatogenesis (sperm production).Apart from increasing prolactin, stress can directly affect the hormones secreted from the pituitary gland of both male and female, the testes in male and the ovaries in female. As a result, all the reproductive functions get disturbed leading to problems in sex (loss of desire in both male and female, problems in erection and ejaculation in male), irregular periods in female and ultimately pregnancy cannot occur. The diseases occurring as a result of stress (diabetes, hypertension etc) also affect the normal functions of ovaries causing irregular periods, even no periods at all. There may be problems in ovulation and thus difficulties in achieving pregnancy. Even if pregnancy occurs, it may be aborted because of these diseases. Similarly in male, diabetes and hypertension will cause sexual dysfunction and will affect sperm production. The lifestyles accompanying stress are also responsible for harmful effects on family life. Smoking and alcohol have been mentioned earlier. Stress may be associated with abnormal weight gain and that will affect the woman’s life in badly manner. There will be disturbances in periods, ovulation problems, infertility and even pregnancy loss. Sitting for long time while driving or keeping laptops on laps, will increase the temperature of scrotum in male and thus will decrease the sperm production. Again there is a vicious cycle- stress leads to family problems like problems in sex and in having pregnancy. That will in turn increase pressures from family (especially in-laws) and the society. This will simple aggravate the stress. So, what can be done to avoid these problems? The answer seems to be simple- that is avoiding stress. But it’s very easy to say and difficult to commit. First thing is try to bring stress at home just keep it at your workplace. Avoid smoking and cut down alcohol consumption. Avoid sitting long time in front of computers and take periodical rests when you are working continuously. The rest does not mean that you have to lie down in bed; just have a short walk. Start exercise that will keep you healthy and reduce your stress. Yoga is an Indian culture that taught the Western world how to reduce stress. Take plenty of water and green vegetables and fruits. Avoid fast food. Always put on comfortable dresses. And if all of these do not work, try if you can do something to avoid the stress- like changing the workplace, talking directly to your co-employees or the employer. If still all these cannot help, consult psychological counsellor. A timely counselling will reduce stress significantly. In very few cases, drugs may be needed to reduce stress. But remember, drugs can only be useful if you are trying all the other measures. Simple dependence on drugs won’t help much.Now regarding family problems associated with stress follow simple measures. Often we feel embarrassed to discuss these issues. Try to enjoy time of personal intimacy to the fullest. Don’t think of any problems during that time. If still there are problems, don’t hesitate to take medical help. And please remember, the drugs used to solve sexual problems may have side effects. So, these should be taken only after medical consultation. In case of female, maintain optimum weight. Avoid fast food, alcohol and smoking. If periods are irregular, maintain a menstrual diary. Consult a doctor to find out if there are some serious issues associated with these problems (like hormonal problems, thyroid diseases, even some tumours). You doctor will then decide the best treatment for you. If there are low desire for sex, don’t hesitate to take help of doctor. It may be a symptom of hormone deficiency that can affect your different systems (like bone, heart, blood etc). Now a days, there are lots of treatment options available for this.For male, if there is low desire, consult your doctor to find out the cause of this problem. At the same time, avoid any anxiety, alcohol and smoking. Sometimes there are problems with erection. Instead of trying drugs shown in media or newspaper, feel free to talk to your doctor; because erection problem may be caused by some serious issues like heart disease, diabetes etc. So, if you have erection problems, consult doctor. He/ she will counsel you and give you the best treatment. Now if the problem is with ejaculation (like early loss of semen or very low semen), that issue can also be solved in the same way.What’s about infertility problems? Stress and infertility are inter-related, as described before. Now, if there is problem with fertility, please remember few facts. Even in totally healthy couples, the chance of pregnancy after regular intercourse in fertile period (in the middle of menstrual cycle, usually) is only 20%. Though it appears disappointing, majority of couples conceive in course of time. So, couples are requested to report to doctor only if they tried regularly for one year without any protection. Then your doctor will assess you and try to find out the problem. And again, treatment of infertility is also depending on chance. Hat means we have to increase the chance above the natural chance (which is 20%). So, even one treatment fails, there is enough scope, so no need to lose hope. In other words, there is no need to increase the stress.So, stay healthy, keep your mind healthy by avoiding stress and keep your family relationship totally stress-free.

High Stress Levels? It's Time to Get Help!

Dr. Darpan Kaur, Psychiatrist
This is a question that we all face at some point in our life as we are living in a world which is so rapidly changing. We are on a daily basis dealing with travel stress, work stress, home stress, relationship issues, educational stress, etc. We tend to do a good job on our own daily and try to fight the stress so that it does not get on to us and we all make our full attempts in coping with it to the best of our capabilities. Yet we are humans and at different points in our lives we may be vulnerable and not be able to cope adequately with it. We may become depressed , anxious, panicky, fearful, insomniac, jittery dealing with it. Sometimes these may be transient and brief, yet it tends to do harm if left ignored. Many a times the way stress affects our mental health can cause significant changes in our psyche. It can lead to depression, anxiety disorder, psychotic breakdown, sleep disorder, sexual dysfunction, etc. Stress has also been linked to cardiac illness, hypertension, gastrointestinal disorders, etc. Each one of us can have different stressors and different manifestations of mental health issues. It is possible that you may be experiencing some symptoms or you may be having a full blown psychiatric disorder that you may not be aware of. Disorders like Depression, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, Somatoform disorder, BPAD,  Personality Disorders,  Substance related disorder such as Alcoholism, Nicotine dependence, Cannabis dependence, Eating disorder, Sleep disorder, etc can be linked with stress such as stress can play a role in precipitating a psychiatric disorder and also causing exacerbation's and worsening in clinical outcome. When you are feeling stressed, kindly consult a psychiatrist. The Psychiatrist will clinically assess you and suggest some investigations perceived appropriate to your symptoms. The Psychiatrist will also suggest you stress management therapy, relaxation training and psychological therapy to cope with the stress. As per the clinical assessment, the psychiatrist will also suggest you certain medications to relieve you of your symptoms based on clinical expertise. The psychiatrist may also additionally collaborate with clinical psychologists and counselling psychologists for psychological testing and counselling based on clinical expertise and school of training.How do you know if you're there?I suggest you to kindly go through these symptoms in the checklist that I have prepared. It is not a fully comprehensive one, yet it helps you to read through and if some of these symptoms you can relate to, then it is high time to visit the psychiatrist! Kill the stress before it takes a toll on you! I am feeling very stressed out lately and I am finding inability to relax, inability to switch off,  feeling anxious, worried, sad, depressed, inattentive, exhausted, irritable, dazed, etc.I am not able to cope well with my job and work pressure and experiencing lots of difficulties.I am not able to cope well  and adjust at my school, college and with my education and feeling very stressed out. am having significant problems at home within my family and I am finding it very stressful at home.I am having lots of financial stress and not able to relax.I am having feeling very stressed out in my relationship issues and not able to deal with them effectively on my own.I am feeling stressed because of my general health issues like my my blood pressure, blood sugars, my newly diagnosed medical condition like Diabetes, Hypertension, Cardiac Disease, Cancer, etc.I am not able to sleep well, get disturbed sleep, nightmares, bad dreams.I am gaining lots of weight or losing weight, not able to eat well or eating excessively and having gastrointestinal disturbances because of stress. I am having marital and sexual problems because of stress.

Understand Your Stress and Then Deal With It

Priyanka
UNDERSTAND YOUR STRESS AND THEN DEAL WITH ITGetting ready for an outing, reaching somewhere on time, what to cook for dinner, what to wear for the party or not having the matching accessories, kids need to finish their home work, guest are coming home, completion of project on time, winning the race,  meeting someone for the first date and so on…..Every day you face one or the other forms of stress because completion of any task is always initiated by some kind of stress and it is really important to understand stress to manage it and understanding totally depends on you.If you want to get treated for any disease you must know it first then only you will you be able to get appropriate treatment. Same is the situation with stress. Stress is the normal part of life, it occurs all day in one or the other form. It also serves a number of useful purposes many a times. As we are filled with so many responsibilities all day, stress makes us complete all our tasks on time, this is called Eustress which is also called as positive stress but the one which troubles you and reduces your efficiency and brings many other negative effects is distress. So to deal with the stress try to understand it first.Factors which play role in experiencing stressUNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS: We have so many expectations from our life and for that, many times we set unrealistic targets for our self which makes our life really under pressure. This pressure keeps on increasing when we are not able to meet the target. Its better for you that do not burden yourself with unrealistic targets, understand your efficiency and set your targets and keep on setting higher target with your achievements.PERCEPTION: The way you see the problem. Whether it is really a problem or just a situation.  If you see it as a situation then it is easier for you to handle it but if you take it as a problem then your brain takes it the other way.  Take it as a situation as much as possible, this thought does not pressurize your brain and increase the efficiency of dealing with it.ATTITUDE: Your attitude plays the most important role in dealing with any situation, positive attitude leads todivergent thinking and an easy solution. Develop interest in yourself and remember that you are responsible for yourself and no one else.LIFE STYLE & HEALTH ISSUES: You might have already heard that “Healthy mind lies in Healthy body”,  ourlife style affects the way we experience the stress. Try to keep it as balanced as possible so that you face fewer issues to deal with. You are the best judge for yourself.MANAGING STRATEGIES:  So even after doing everything you still feel stress than you got to work to manage it by understanding its cause, segregate the stressor in to small parts and work on the solution. Try to achieve solution one by one and never be in hurry to resolve the issue. Before working on any solution first take a deep breath because a relaxed mind can think more wisely.Remember: “STAYING HEALTHY IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY, NOT YOUR CHOICE”

Release Stress By Talking it out!

Mr. Suryakumar R., Psychologist
The word Stress is one of the most popularly used terms by people all over the world. In fact nowadays it has become fashionable for some people to complain that they are stressed. There are numerous emotional and physical disorders that have been linked to stress. When you have a problem which you are unable to deal with, just by talking to a trusted friend you will feel better.  Even though the situation may not have changed, you still feel little better. What makes you feel better?  According to the American Neuroscientist Dr.Candace Pert, who is the author of the book `Molecules of Emotion,’  if emotions are suppressed, they can clog the biological system, causing both physical and psychological disturbances. When feelings are processed, unclogging of the biological system happens. The neurotransmitters called peptides which carry emotional messages to every cell in your body move freely throughout the biological system; this changes the chemistry of your body which promotes feelings of wellbeing. This is why you feel better when you talk it out.The willingness and the courage to face a problem often mean identifying and talking about the problem. Then, looking at the available resources,identifying solutions and developing a plan of action. So whenever something troubles you, talk it out with a trusted friend or a psychological counselor who will help you to feel better so that you can deal with it better.

Simple and Effective Tips for a Stress Free Life!

Dr. Milan Balakrishnan, Psychiatrist
Sleep and RestOften, we just need a good night´ sleep or 6-8 hours for a fresh mind. Then it becomes easier to focus on what is happening around us and to function smoothly. Stress may lead to sleep-related disorders like sleep apnea and in serious cases, insomnia. When the same issue keeps playing in our mind repeatedly, it becomes difficult to change the focus to the need for sleep as opposed to getting rid of the problem.RelaxationMeditation, yoga, spa treatments, herbal remedies can all reduce stress. Practice deep breathing if you do not have the time to plan out a relaxation schedule. Visualize pleasing situations and concentrate on the present. Special aromatic oils and music are also known to soothe your senses.Deep BreathingHave you ever noticed your breathing pattern when you are tense or under stress? It is usually shallow, jerky and unsteady and from the chest region. Until and unless this shallow, erratic breathing is replaced by deep and even breathing from the abdomen, the body will continue to be in a state of tension. Practicing abdominal breathing makes us feel calm and relaxed, mentally and physically.Muscle relaxation trainingOne of the most tangible experiences of bodily stress is muscle tension or a tight contraction of several muscle groups in the body. By consciously doing the opposite, i.e. learning to keep the muscles loose and relaxed you could induce physical ease and mental calmness. To do this you have to first tense a set of muscles deliberately, as hard as you can do to feel real tension and discomfort in the muscles. Then slowly allow the muscles to relax and become aware internally the difference between tension and relaxation.VisualizationThrough the power of creating positive, desirable images in your mind, you can literally wish away tensions and relax both your body and mind. All you have to do is to sit or lie down in a quiet place, close your eyes and allow your mind to form mental sense impressions — using all the five senses of touch, sight, hearing, smell and taste — create visions, scenes of your own favourite place, real or imaginary. As you do so, affirm verbally your ability to relax ´(I am letting go of tension from by body´ or ´I am calm and peaceful, etc.)´. Practice this thrice a day for 5-10 minutes regularly and then increase the time.MeditationMeditation is not necessarily a religious practice, nor is it just a form of rumination or mind control. Meditation is a process of making the mind free from disturbing thoughts. It teaches you to let your mind wander free and leads to pleasant experiences, heightened awareness and higher states of consciousness. It allows you to see yourself in a true perspective of being an observer, while being a part of it. It is deeply relaxing and rejuvenatingHobbies/RecreationMusic, films, theater, painting, concerts, television, spectator sports, adventure sports, or amusement parks can all be regularly spaced out into your life to provide the much needed diversion from stresses of daily living. They may mentally block out stressors, providing a refreshing and safe outlet that enables the body and mind to regain balance and negate the ill effects of stress response.PostureKeeping your back straight and neck upright will help to prevent muscular strains. You may often feel more tired and stressed because some part of your body aches.ExercisePhysical activity helps to release negative energy. Exercise of any kind is indispensable to good health, and if done consistently can provide a safe outlet for our day to day stresses and frustrations. It relaxes the muscles, floods the brain with oxygen, renews energy, regulates sleep and appetite, makes one more alert. Exercise also releases natural pain killers in the body and chemicals in the brain to improve mood and concentrationJogging, biking or swimming done at least 3-5 times a week or games and sports like tennis, golf, badminton is highly effective for younger persons. Aerobics, squeezing special stress balls and walking or playing in a park will help you to regain focus on the simpler joys in life.Eat RightWhat you eat can promote or relieve stress. Stay healthy and stress-free by taking time out for meals, eating at regular times and avoiding sugars and fats. If you are stressed out and need a break from anxiety, try foods low in fat and protein and high in complex carbohydrates for a calming effect. If you´re looking to concentrate your energy to help get you through a stressful day, look for food that enhances alertness. Try to avoid drinking too much caffeine to get you through the day as it makes it difficult to relax when you get home.Dark Chocolate and StressEating dark chocolate seems to have a lot of potential benefits. Recent studies shows that eating dark chocolate may lower levels of stress hormones in people feeling stressed out. Researchers found that eating the equivalent of one average-sized dark chocolate bar (1.4 ounces) each day for two weeks reduced levels of the stress hormone cortisol as well as stress inducing hormones known as catecholamines in highly stressed people. It was noted that dark chocolates partially corrected other stress-related biochemical imbalances. Cocoa which is one of the main ingredients of chocolate has also been found to be rich in a class of antioxidants called flavonoids, which have been linked to a number of health benefits.Social SupportTalking about things that bother you will help to give vent to your emotions and help to clarify the exact nature of problems. It may be possible to create a counselling or peer support group of say, women suffering from domestic violence, but these issues need not be the only reason for like-minded persons to come together. Kitty parties are an example of social support groups where it is easy to share one´s feelings and problems.Keep a DiaryIf you are afraid of being judged by other people when you pour your feelings out to them, then a personalized way to vent your thoughts and emotions is by keeping a diary. Going through the diary may give you peace and the ability to look back, in retrospect and realize how trivial some problems are.LaughLaughter reduces the levels of stress hormones in the body. It increases the level of health-enhancing and antibody-producing cells enriching the body´s immune system. As a physical and emotional release, laughter distracts us from guilt, shame, anger and other negative emotions while connecting us to those around us. So laugh away your blues and your tensions.Encourage, reward and love yourself!Never underestimate your potential. Believe that you can achieve all that you set out to if you work conscientiously. While it is good to be meticulous, do not worry or get upset over small details. Take them in your stride and move forward. Reward yourself for making small things happen like getting an A grade, or having a productive day at work or pursuing the hobby of your choice.

5 Ways to Battle Stress

Dr. Sugandha Gupta, Psychiatrist
Stress these days is a ubiquitous phenomenon and there is no escape; be it a homemaker, a student, a corporate worker or a retired govt employee. Accepting that we may sooner or later face it & prepare ourselves for the battle by arming ourselves with the right armaments well in advance assures us of being the winners.1. Prepare your body for the fight:Strengthen your body, improve your resilience by three simple techniques-Exercise - daily exercise(30 min morning walk works best) helps battle stress by releasing happiness producing endorphins & stress buster neurochemicals in abundance.Sleep - a daily dose of 6-8 hours of peaceful sleep energizes your mind & body.Diet - healthy, nutritious, balanced diet, regular eating habits go a long way in building your strength for the battle ahead.2. Wear your body armor suitSo your friends, family, colleagues become your shield from stress. Find time to catch a movie, share meals with your family, make your friends, cousins, parents your confidantes, your partners, your soldiers in battling stress.3. Fix your helmet:Cocoon your mind within the relaxed aura of music, painting, singing, cooking, sketching - any recreational activity to refresh not just your mind or body, but also your soul. Keep your mind calm by indulging in regular meditation & pranayama.4. Draw out your sword, hold steady your shield, take your position:To win a battle, it's important to judge your opponents moves beforehand - so plan, prioritize and organize.Plan- assess your needs & plan accordingly. whether its assignments, deadlines, family functions; planning well in advance lets you know where you stand.Prioritize - delineate tasks into urgent, not urgent, important, not important and   schedule accordingly.Organize - divide bigger (seemingly herculean tasks) into smaller parts & work on them one by one. 5. Attack:Take control of the situationSet realistic expectations & goals.Change your way of looking at thingsReframe your thoughts.Avoid extremes.

How to Manage Stress

Ms. Anu Priya, Alternative Medicine
MODERN LIFE IS FULL of deadlines, frustrations and demands, leading to the development of stress. But it isn’t always bad thing because a moderate amount helps you to stay focused as well as motivates your performance. However, if stress is too intense or is experienced for a long period of time, there can be harmful impacts to the mind and body, and may increase your chances of developing medical conditions such as high blood pressure, heart problems, depression, anxiety or other mental health conditions.Warning SignsStress can display emotional, behavioral, physicals and cognitive symptoms:The Tips to Manage StressPractice Relaxation TechniquesControlled breathing: Close your eyes and concentrate on your breathing. Take a slow deep breath in through your nose for three seconds, and then breathe out through your mouth for three seconds. Do this exercise for one minute.Progressive Muscle Relaxation: Close your eyes and focus on your body. Relax each muscle group from your feet all the way to your head. Tense the muscle as you breathe in, and then relax as you breathe out. Allow 15 to 20 seconds between each muscle group.Exercise RegularlyPhysical Exercise helps to relax tense muscle and reduce the level of stress hormones.Plan your time wellOrganize your time. Make a “to do list” and priorities daily tasks.Plan in advance and do not leave things to the last minuteReward yourself with little things that you enjoy (for eg. A massage or a movie) when you deserve it.Balance work and play; make time for doing things you enjoy.Maintain a healthy diet and sleep patternEat a well balanced diet; include plenty of fruits, vegetables and grains.Limit food intake that is high in fat, sugar and salt.Drink at least two liters (eight glasses) of water daily.Try to get six to eight hours of shut-eye every night. Sufficient sleep can allow you to focus better, be more productive, and deal with stressful conditions more efficiently.

No Stress – at Home or Work

Ms. Swati Kapoor, Dietitian/Nutritionist
What is stress?Anyone who has ever worked in an office would have experienced stress in some degree.Usually stress is fleeting – it comes and goes away as soon as the root cause resolves itself. However, sometimes it latches on and continues to get worse. Stress feeds on panic, which starts clawing at the peace of mind and ultimately drags the sufferer into the dark and damaging space of anxiety and depression.However, it’s possible to prevent depression from worsening if one is able to identify the indicators in time. Deteriorating health and disturbed mental state are the most common signs of the onset of depression or severe stress. Few more common indicators of stress are:Insomnia (inability to fall asleep)Anger and irritabilityWeight loss due to lack of appetiteLow energyHigh/low blood pressureHeadachesPoor focusNote: This is not an exhaustive list. Each of these further branch out to more health troubles.What to do if stress is piling up?Claiming a fool-proof solution against stress would be imprudent and irresponsible but there are tested and tried methods, which may help in curbing the situation before it gets worse.What’s bothering you?Triggers of stress differ from one person to another, which is why it usually helps to know the root cause. Some people are inherently easy-going while others stress out at the slightest hint of an anomaly like sudden increase in work load.Some of the most common stress triggers are work pressure, strained personal relationships, money-related woes or death of someone close.Main purpose of identifying the root cause is to find the solution faster. Understandably, it’s difficult to diagnose one’s own problems. Do not hesitate to see a therapist for accurate diagnosis and clear next steps.Let it out – talk to someoneIt’s difficult to stress this enough but talking about one’s problems has saved numerous lives from utter and complete destruction. As simple as it sounds, discussing personal matters is often the most difficult for people, especially introverts. People hesitate for the fear of being tagged negatively or joked about.Sit with a close friend over drinks or tea and pour your heart out. The company of friends is extremely therapeutic and is a proven rescue from the depths of abysmal sadness. Also, friends share the most pragmatic quips on situations and equally helpful solutions.Also, talk to your boss (if your work is visibly affected)We understand if you raised an eyebrow but hear us out. Stress in personal life trickles into work more often than one likes. Take a deep breath and have a chat with your boss. Obviously, you wouldn’t want to go into details as you would with a close friend but do discuss as much as possible without revealing too much. Believe it or not but bosses too can be understanding. Even if he or she doesn’t offer a solution, even a sympathetic nod would raise spirits and calm nerves.Meditate or workoutMeditation is not for the yogis alone. It is known to calm nerves and promote clarity of thought. It’s definitely not an instant solution but daily practice will certainly help in strengthening your train of thought. Similarly, exercise also helps in raising spirits, gives more energy and keeps you healthy. Essentially, it keeps the blues away and lets you focus on important tasks at hand.Seek professional helpThere is only so much one can take by themselves. If you have exhausted all the windows of help, then do not hesitate to meet a specialist. This may be the most difficult part but believe it when we say it, stress and depression is nothing to be ashamed of. Life throws curve balls at everyone. Catching it calmly is the trick.

Doctor, I Am Not Stressed…

Dr. Bharati Gidwani, Ayurveda
Doctor, I am not stressed……. it is just that I get splitting headache when my children don’t listen to me….…. it is just that I get irritated when I am stuck in the traffic…..…. It is just whenever I see his/her face, I lose my temper……. I just feel angry when they make me wait for my turn at the dentist/ for billing etc ……. I feel vacuumed in my stomach when I board a flight / train.……..I just feel my life should end, when my boss/ husband/ wife/ father shouts at me!! BUT, I AM NOT STRESSED!Normally our reactions are mentioned in this way. Most of the times we don’t realize Or we don’t want to accept it! Because saying ‘I am stressed’ is as if accepting that you have mental disorder!   It is not! Stress is not a mental disorder! In fact these are the daily stresses that all of us experience. No matter what our occupation is, No matter what our socio-economic position may be! Only the severity of the impact might differ individually.So it is essential to realize-What is affecting you?How does it hamper your work & relations?Will it be beneficial to reduce this ‘discomfort’ for further progress in life             Think!Let’s have a look at this research based graph: - HOW STRESS AFFECTS OUR PERFORMANCE           The graph of performance versus stress indicates, some amount of stress is essential for us to perform better (positive stress). Whereas, too much stress or too long exposure to stressful situation affects us in a negative way (distress).For example, deadlines , exams and bill payments are positive stress created to  complete the work in time! Positive stress motivates us to perform better.Stress may not be always negative but our response (to stressful situation) can be unhealthy.  It generates mental unrest leading to memory loss, anxiety, depression & even fear psychosis!  Negative stress can lead to chronic diseases like Diabetes, Heart disease, Blood pressure, Asthma, Arthritis, Acidity, Ulcers, Skin diseases, hair problems, even Cancer! It causes hormonal imbalance, giving rise to women’s health problems! Managing stress is to maintain stress level at  positive! Yoga, meditation, breathing may give relief from stress. But for permanent solution to handle stress perfect diagnosis of causative factor &  correct implementation of behavioral  therapy are very  important! So, the solution is consult an experienced doctor to master the art of controlling stress.

Stress Management: How to Reduce Stress

Ms. Swati Kapoor, Dietitian/Nutritionist
Our lifestyle is getting busier day by day, as we are adding multiple works in our daily schedule and when we face difficulty in managing different areas we have put our hands in, we get stressed. You get stressed when you feel you have to handle more than you are used to. When you get stressed sudden changes occurs in your body like headache, upset stomach, trouble sleeping etc. It can make you moody, tense, or depressed and you are not able to concentrate on your work. It also weakens your immune system making it harder to combat the situation. If you are suffering from heart problems then stress is worst for you.  It’s very important to manage stress and reduce stress form our life, it will not only help you to make you feel better but by avoiding stress you will be able to avoid the problems which are caused by stress.Here we tell you some tips on how to reduce stress from our lives.Eat Healthy: Eating well and Healthy will provide you energy and all important nutrition that your body needs.  Eating well will help you to reduce stress (mental and Physical Stress). Taking a healthy diet will not only help you to reduce stress but will also help you boost your health. A healthy diet which includes plenty of omega-3 essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals, can lift your mood.Relax: Try to keep relax; Relaxation might help you to reduce stress, Depression and Anxiety situations. Breathe calmly and slowly whenever you feel stressed out. Breathing will help you regulate your heart rate and help you to calm down.Sleep: - If you are not getting the right sleep you may feel stressed out. So, to reduce stress you need a regular and sound sleep.Exercise: Exercise is a great way to reduce stress. It helps your body produce endorphins; the neurotransmitters in your brain that make you feel good. It also forces you to focus, helping you forget what's making you anxious. Exercising in warm, sunny weather can boost your mood.Laugh out loud: There are so many things you can do to reduce stress. Enjoy a comedy movie, invite over some friends, and share a few good laughs. Every time you crack up, increased oxygen courses to your organs, blood flow increases, and stress evaporates. In fact, just thinking about having a good laugh is enough to lower your stress hormone levels.Go Out: It’s very important to keep your mind free from all the stress and depression. So, it’s better that you go out for a walk in a nearby park or garden or terrace. Fresh Air and environment also helps in reducing stress levels .Speak up: Not being able to talk about your needs and concerns creates stress and can make negative feelings worse. Assertive communication can help you express how you feel in a thoughtful, tactful way.Enjoy your hobby: Doing what you like may help you to reduce stress .When you engage yourself in something enjoyable, it can soothe and calm your restless mind. Try reading, gardening, crafts, tinkering with electronics, fishing, carpentry, music — things that you don't get competitive or more stressed out about.Stress management gives you a range of tools to reset your alarm system. Without stress management, all too often your body is always on high alert. Over time, high levels of stress lead to serious health problems. Don't wait until stress has a negative impact on your health, relationships or quality of life. Start practicing a range of stress management techniques today.