Articles on stress management

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.

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.

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.

Understand Your Stress and Then Deal With It

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.

12 Tips to Manage Stress Effectively

Dr. Naveen Jayaram, Psychiatrist
Stress is the reaction people have to excessive pressures or other types of demand placed upon them. It arises when they worry and can no more cope up. Stress is the “wear and tear” our minds and bodies experience as we attempt to cope with our continually changing environment.How do you know you are stressed?WARNING SYMPTOMSPHYSICAL SYMPTOMS:Fatigue, headache, insomnia, muscle ache, stiffness (especially neck, shoulders & low back) Heart palpitations, chest pains, abdominal cramps, nausea, tremblingCold extremities, flushing or sweating & frequent coldsCOGNITIVE SYMPTOMS:Decrease in concentration & memoryIndecisiveness, mind racing or going blankConfusion, loss of sense of humorMental slownessEMOTIONAL SYMPTOMS:IrritabilityNervousnessDepression, reduced sleepAnger, frustration, worryFear, impatience, hopelessnessBEHAVIORAL SYMPTOMS:Nervous habits, increased eating, smoking, drinkingProcrastinatingCrying, yelling, blaming and even throwing things or hittingSuicidal thoughtsIf you are facing any of these symptoms persistently in the absence of any medical problem it might be because of STRESS!HOW TO MANAGE STRESS?1. Most important thing is to accept that stress might be playing a role.2. Do not be in denial mode, and wait for things to get corrected by itself, symptoms can start suddenly, but it will not disappear just like that.3. Recognize the source and personal contribution to stress ( family situation, work related, financial, kids, relationships etc).4. Remember there are no quick fixes to reduction of stress except working on damage limitation strategies.5. It involves commitment and motivation to remain healthy despite adversities around us.6. Don't hide your problems. Share your feelings with someone or write a dairy.7. Practice relaxation techniques regularly - Om chanting, pranayama, yoga, exercise, prayer etc.8. Follow healthy nutritious diet pattern - lot of fruits, nuts, vegetables, pulses etc.9. Try to repeat things which make you feel good - listening to music, reading, dancing etc.10. Maintain a good sleep hygiene.11. If things are worse or you feel it is hard to cope, seek help. Most of the situations can be dealt by counseling and guidance, but you should be open to it.12. Life is beautiful, everybody is entitled to have a good life. Happiness is within us. Always remember if you do not take any initiative to make life better nobody can help you. EAT, LOVE & PRAY

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.

How Stress Can Affect Your Oral Health

Dr. Prashant Ojha
We all come across stress in our lives. Our mouths have just as much of a chance of being affected by stressful situations as our bodies and minds do. Researchers have found a significant link between stress and oral health, helping us better understand what part anxiety and depression take in the development of dental problems. We now know that stress is a contributing factor to the following conditions:Bruxism - Bruxism is excessive teeth grinding and jaw clenching. It is an oral parafunctional activity, Bruxism is a common problem. Several symptoms are commonly associated with bruxism, including hypersensitive teeth, aching jaw muscles, headaches, tooth wear, damage to dental restorations (e.g. crowns and fillings) and damage to teeth can cause us to grind our teeth at night, leading to tooth damage. Risk factors for bruxism, particularly a stressful lifestyle, and this evidence is growing, Some consider emotional stress to be the main triggering factor If you're diagnosed with bruxism, a night guard can be prescribed to protect your jaw.Dry Mouth- When the mouth doesn't produce enough saliva, it can experience chronic dryness. it may caused by stress.Canker Sores - Canker sores are small, shallow ulcers that appear in the mouth and often make eating and talking uncomfortable. one quite knows what exactly causes canker sores, but they are sometimes brought on by stress.Lichen Planus -Oral lichen planus is an ongoing (chronic) inflammatory condition that affects mucous membranes inside your mouth. It may appear as white, lacy patches; red, swollen tissues; or open sores. These lesions may cause burning, pain or other discomfort.  Some experts believe lichen planus related to chronic stress.Temporomandibular joint disorders- Stress contributes to temporomandibular joint disorders in many fashions. Trauma and tooth grinding are common causes of TMD, while emotional factors such as anxiety and depression can also trigger symptoms of TMJ.Periodontal disease - Studies have shown that long-term stress affects our immune  systems, increasing our susceptibility to infections such as periodontal disease.Burning Mouth Syndrome -Burning mouth syndrome is an idiopathic condition characterized by a chronic continuous burning sensation of intraoral so  tissues, typically involving the tongue, with or without extension to the lips and oral mucosa. It is classically accompanied by gustatory disturbances like dysgeusia and parageusia and subjective xerostomia.  This type is associated with chronic anxiety due to altered sleep pattern and is related to use of antidepressant drugs, which cause xerostomia.