Articles on stress in early childhood

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”

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.

How to Kick Out Stress From Your Life

Dr. Rohit Garg, Psychiatrist
The current scenarioWe live in times where stress has become an embedded part of our daily routine life. Ever wondered how our body deals with stress? Our body activates resources like adrenaline and cortisol, which sharpens our senses to deal with stress or a pressure situation. But many times these resources supplied to cope up with stress reach a shortfall, just like while doing a physically challenging task our body starts running low on fluids. As a result of lack of available resources (adrenaline and cortisol), we start experiencing increasing levels of stress.How do you think?One of the most important factors that determine your stress levels is your thought process. The more you worry, feel uncomfortable, frustrated or angry the more will the stressor inflate on you. By being impatient and impulsive one fuels the fire of stressors in their life. With time, the stressor becomes your own mind and you become the reason for all the irrational fear and worries surrounding your life. What started as stress now turns into Generalized Anxiety Disorder in many cases.Reasons for StressThe primary reasons for stress surrounding individuals in our country are disintegrated families, work pressure, financial insecurity and personal relationships. One case which I witnessed was of a woman in her late twenties fearing her partner will cheat on her and marry someone else, she admitted her fears were irrational but couldn’t help thinking about the worst. Her fears and angry outbursts were stretching her relationships thin, further aiding stress in her life. This behavior is common in all cases, people worry about finances for the future without really living and enjoying the present moment. The Dependency“Things are made to be used and people are meant to be loved, the problem in our time is things are being loved and people are being used”The above quote is apt and a major cause of stress in life being hooked to social media, mobile phones, cigarettes or alcohol can’t help you in curbing stress. A healthy conversation, human emotions and acceptance of a situation certainly can. But this takes more effort, which implies one thing that we have stopped caring for our own self. We need to change this.Some ways to cope-up with StressHere are my suggestions to deal with stress in a healthy way:Talk about it- Don’t keep negative emotions buried inside you,talk about your problems with someone who you trust and if you can’t trust anyone seek advice from a psychiatrist or a counselor.Do something you enjoy- Grow out of the monotony of your routine life. Invest atleast 15-20 minutes in doing something you enjoy.Gardening, playing, going for a walk or watching a movie it can be anything.Spend time with those who matter- Spend some time with people who you care about, who make you happy. It will go a long way in making you feel better about yourself.Get a pet- Shelter a dog, bird or any other pet; according to research, dogs have been found to be big relievers of stress in our lives.Look at the bigger picture- Don’t get bogged down by small stressors like heavy traffic, unpleasant people or work problems. Always look at the bigger picture and divert your energy in making things happen.ConclusionNo situation is impossible to comprehend and dealt with. What matters is how we perceive people and problems in our life, most of the time all demons are in our mind. Seek help to fight them to attain a healthier and meaningful life.

Handling Stress- Are You Doing It Right?

Dr. Kiran Shandilya, Psychiatrist
Stress is simply a reaction to a stimulus that disturbs our physical or mental equilibrium. In other words, it's an omnipresent part of life. A stressful event can trigger the “fight-or-flight” response, causing hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol to surge through the body.In simple words, Stress is a body's method of reacting to a challenge. According to the stressful event, the body's way to respond to stress is by sympathetic nervous system activation which results in the fight-or-flight response.How do you respond to stress?The latest research into the brain shows that we, as mammals, have three ways of regulating our nervous systems and responding to stress:Social engagement is our most evolved strategy for keeping ourselves feeling calm and safe. Since the vagus nerve connects the brain to sensory receptors in the ear, eye, face and heart, socially interacting with another person—making eye contact, listening in an attentive way, feeling understood—can calm you down and put the brakes on defensive responses like “fight-or-flight.” When using social engagement, you can think and feel clearly, and body functions such as blood pressure, heartbeat, digestion, and the immune system continue to work uninterrupted.Mobilization, otherwise known as the fight-or-flight response. When social engagement isn’t an appropriate response and we need (or think we need) to either defend ourselves or run away from danger, the body prepares for mobilization. It releases chemicals to provide the energy you need to protect yourself. At the same time, body functions not needed for fight or flight—such as the digestive and immune systems—stop working. Once the danger has passed, your nervous system calms the body, slowing heart rate, lowering blood pressure, and winding back down to its normal balance.Immobilization. This is the least evolved response to stress and used by the body only when social engagement and mobilization have failed. You may find yourself traumatized or “stuck” in an angry, panic-stricken or otherwise dysfunctional state, unable to move on. In extreme, life-threatening situations, you may even lose consciousness, enabling you to survive high levels of physical pain. However, until you’re able to arouse your body to a mobilization response, your nervous system may be unable to return to its pre-stress state of balance.While it’s not always possible to respond to stress using social engagement, many of us have become conditioned to responding to every minor stressor by immediately resorting to fight or flight. Since this response interrupts other body functions and clouds judgment and feeling, over time it can cause stress overload and have a detrimental effect on both your physical and mental health.Effects of stress overload:The body’s autonomic nervous system often does a poor job of distinguishing between daily stressors and life-threatening events. If you’re stressed over an argument with a friend, a traffic jam on your commute to work, or a mountain of bills, for example, your body can still react as if you’re facing a life-or-death situation.When you repeatedly experience the fight or flight stress response in your daily life, it can raise blood pressure, suppress the immune system, increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, speed up the aging process and leave you vulnerable to a host of mental and emotional problems.Many health problems are caused or exacerbated by stress, including:Pain of any kindHeart diseaseDigestive problemsSleep problemsDepressionWeight problemsAuto immune diseasesSkin conditions, such as eczemaSigns and symptoms of stress overload :The following table lists some of the common warning signs and symptoms of chronic stress. The more signs and symptoms you notice in yourself, the closer you may be to stress overload.Cognitive SymptomsMemory problemsInability to concentratePoor judgmentSeeing only the negativeAnxious or racing thoughtsConstant worryingEmotional SymptomsMoodinessIrritability or short temperAgitation, inability to relaxFeeling overwhelmedSense of loneliness and isolationDepression or general unhappinessPhysical SymptomsAches and painsDiarrhea or constipationNausea, dizzinessChest pain, rapid heartbeatLoss of sex driveFrequent coldsBehavioral SymptomsEating more or lessSleeping too much or too littleIsolating yourself from othersProcrastinating or neglecting responsibilitiesUsing alcohol, cigarettes, or drugs to relaxNervous habits (e.g. nail biting, pacing)Keep in mind that the signs and symptoms of stress overload can also be caused by other psychological or medical problems. If you’re experiencing any of the warning signs of stress, it’s important to see a doctor to help determine if your symptoms are stress-related.The causes of stress :IsolationSince social engagement appears to be our best defense against stress, isolation or a lack of positive, consistent human interaction can be both a stressor in itself and exacerbate other causes of stress.The situations and pressures that cause stress are known as stressors. We usually think of stressors as being negative, such as an exhausting work schedule or a rocky relationship. However, anything that puts high demands on you or forces you to adjust can be stressful. This includes positive events such as getting married, buying a house, going to college, or receiving a promotion.Of course, not all stress is caused by external factors. Stress can also be self-generated, for example, when you worry excessively about something that may or may not happen, or have irrational, pessimistic thoughts about life.Common external causes of stressMajor life changesWork or schoolRelationship difficultiesFinancial problemsBeing too busyChildren and familyCommon internal causes of stressChronic worryPessimismNegative self-talkUnrealistic expectations/PerfectionismRigid thinking, lack of flexibilityAll-or-nothing attitudeWhat causes excessive stress depends, at least in part, on your perception of it. Something that's stressful to you may not faze someone else; they may even enjoy it. For example, your morning commute may make you anxious and tense because you worry that traffic will make you late. Others, however, may find the trip relaxing because they allow more than enough time and enjoy listening to music while they drive.Everyone experiences stress differently: Karen is terrified of getting up in front of people to perform or speak, while her best friend, Nin, lives for the spotlight.Phil thrives under pressure and performs best when he has a tight deadline, while his co-worker, Matt, shuts down when work demands escalate.Anita enjoys helping her elderly parents. Her sister, Constance, helps out as well but finds the demands of care taking very stressful.Richard doesn’t hesitate to send food back or complain about bad service when eating out, while his wife, Miranda, finds it much too stressful to complain.What determines your ability to manage stress?We're all different. Some people seem to be able to roll with life’s punches, while others tend to crumble in the face of far smaller obstacles or frustrations. Some people even seem to thrive on the excitement and challenge of a high-stress lifestyle.Your ability to tolerate stress depends on many factors, including the quality of your relationships and support network, your life experiences, your emotional intelligence, and genetics.Factors that influence your stress toleranceYour support network Social engagement is the body’s most evolved strategy for responding to stress so it’s no surprise that people with a strong network of supportive friends and family members are better able to cope with life’s stressors. On the flip side, the more lonely and isolated you are, the less opportunity you have to utilize social engagement and the greater your vulnerability to stress.Your exercise levelsYour physical and mental health are intrinsically linked, so the better you take care of your body, the greater resilience you’ll have against the symptoms of stress. Exercising regularly (for 30 minutes or more on most days) can lift your mood and help relieve stress, anxiety, anger, and frustration. It can also serve as a distraction to your worries, allowing you to find some quiet time and break out of the cycle of negative thoughts that feed stress and anxiety.Your dietThe food you eat can also have a profound effect on your mood and how well you cope with life’s stressors. Eating a diet full of processed and convenience food, refined carbohydrates, and sugary snacks can worsen symptoms of stress while eating a diet rich in fresh fruit and vegetables, high-quality protein, and healthy fats, especially omega-3 fatty acids, can help you better cope with life’s ups and downs.Your sense of controlIt may be easier to take stress in your stride if you have confidence in yourself and your ability to influence events and persevere through challenges. If you feel like things are out of your control, you’re likely to have less tolerance for stress.Your attitude and outlook Optimistic people are often more stress-hardy. They tend to embrace challenges, have a strong sense of humor, and accept that change is a part of life.Your ability to deal with your emotions  You’re extremely vulnerable to stress if you don’t know how to calm and soothe yourself when you’re feeling sad, angry, or overwhelmed by a situation. The ability to bring your emotions into balance helps you bounce back from adversity and is a skill that can be learned at any age.Your knowledge and preparationThe more you know about a stressful situation, including how long it will last and what to expect, the easier it is to cope. For example, if you go into surgery with a realistic picture of what to expect post-op, a painful recovery will be less traumatic than if you were expecting to bounce back immediately.Dealing with stress and its symptomsWhile unchecked stress is undeniably damaging, you have more control than you might think. Unfortunately, many people cope with stress in ways that only compound the problem. They drink too much to unwind at the end of a stressful day, fill up on comfort food, zone out in front of the TV or computer for hours, use pills to relax, or lash out at other people. However, there are many healthier ways to cope with stress and its symptoms.Learn how to manage stressYou may feel like the stress in your life is out of your control, but you can always control the way you respond. Stress management can teach you healthier ways to cope with stress, help you reduce its harmful effects, and prevent stress from spiraling out of control again in the future.Engage socially. The simple act of talking face to face with another human being can release hormones that reduce stress even if you’re still unable to alter the stressful situation. Opening up to someone is not a sign of weakness and it won’t make you a burden to others. In fact, most friends will be flattered that you trust them enough to confide in them, and it will only strengthen your bond.Get moving. Physical activity plays a key role in managing stress. Activities that require moving both your arms and your legs are particularly effective. Walking, running, swimming, dancing, and aerobic classes are good choices, especially if you exercise mindfully (focusing your attention on the physical sensations you experience as you move). Focused movement helps to get your nervous system back into balance. If you’ve been traumatized or experienced the immobilization stress response, getting active can help you to become "unstuck."Lifestyle changes to deal with the symptoms of stressYou can also better cope with the symptoms of stress by strengthening your physical health.Set aside relaxation time. Relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation, and deep breathing activate the body’s relaxation response, a state of restfulness that is the opposite of the fight or flight stress response.Eat a healthy diet. Well-nourished bodies are better prepared to cope with stress. Start your day with a healthy breakfast, reduce your caffeine and sugar intake, add plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, and cut back on alcohol and nicotine.Get plenty of sleep. Feeling tired can increase stress by causing you to think irrationally. Keep your cool in stressful situations by getting a good night’s sleep.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.