In the modern times that we live in, individual demands have increased manifolds owing to modern lifestyles; let’s not forget the peer pressure. To cope these increasing demands, we work harder and our personal life becomes increasingly complex. As a result the pace of life has become more frenzied. Not everyone is able to cope with it. With the breakdown of the joint family system, family support too is dwindling. It is literally ‘every man for himself’. To make matters worse, some amongst us thrive on stress to bring out the best in themselves. Thus, without our conscious knowledge, stress has become an integral part of our daily life. Stress within manageable limits is okay, but when it becomes overbearing problems crop up. It is therefore in our own interest to acknowledge the existing pressure, define our limits as to ‘how much is too much’. We must then set our priorities and take adequate measures to control stress, before it blows out of proportions and overwhelms us.
Dealing with stress
Stress creeps in unannounced and unnoticed and by the time we notice it, the problem supersedes all others in priority. However if we are sensitive enough and notice minor changes like frequent mood swings, depression, insomnia, anxiety, difficulty in concentration, acidity, irregular bowel movements, breathing problems we would know when the problem has started growing big. Even palpitations and migraines are the symptoms of excessive stress. The moment you begin to feel any of these affecting you, try some of the following approaches to manage it.
- Identify the cause. Once you do that you will know what changes are required to get back in control of things.
- Learn time-management. Most stress is caused by too much workload. Prioritise things to do in a day, and tick them off as you do them. It will also give you a sense of achievement.
- Deep breathing is a proven stress-buster. Make it a habit to breath deeply every time you have a few minutes to yourself, and gradually increase the duration and frequency.
- Be aware that drugs like crack, cocaine and ecstasy actually aggravate anxiety, though they may give you a momentary high.
- Take care of your sleep patterns and general health. Consume alcohol and caffeine in moderation.
- Make exercising a habit. Regular exercise helps utilise excess adrenaline released during stress.
- Alternative relaxation techniques like yoga, massage, shiatsu, aromatherapy, reflexology and acupuncture can be of great help.
Sleep well, live well
Human beings spend roughly one-third of their lives in sleep. Adequate sleep is imperative for the body to recoup its strength and vitality; however the amount of sleep required varies from person to person. Getting enough sleep is vital for managing stress. Constantly struggling to compete and keep pace with everything leads to a very complex lifestyle wherein you are unable to maintain a healthy eating, sleeping or exercising routine. If you deny yourself a good night’s sleep, the long-term physical and psychological problems will escalate due to mounting sleep debts. Here are some self-help tips for getting a good night’s sleep:
- Don’t have a heavy meal close to bedtime; it adversely affects your sleep.
- Avoid drinks containing caffeine before you go to sleep. Cocoa and hot-chocolate too contain caffeine.
- Don’t drink excessively. Two drinks of any alcoholic beverage is the recommended dose; if you cannot avoid it altogether.
- Ensure you have a lot of physical activity, like climbing the stairs instead of taking the lift, during the day. Don’t exercise too late in the evening as it keeps you stimulated and can affect sleep.
- Meditate or do breathing exercises as it that relaxes you before you go to sleep.