Psych Therapy, 128, Avtar Enclave, Paschim Vihar, New Delhi 110063

Decoding Stress

In this life, we encounter many changes, some extreme, while some unharming and petite in nature. These changes can cause your mind and body to move out of its comfort zone and cause stress. 

Stress is basically a normal mechanism of the body to deal with sudden changes, exchanges or transpose of situations. Hence we can safely establish that stress is also very vital for our body as it helps us to deal with altering situations and it keeps us alert and awake to avoid any collateral damage, all at the same time. 

For example, if you have an interview tomorrow, it might cause you a little stress, but then the same stress will keep you from wasting your time and will rather help you to channelize your time towards preparing for the interview. 

Now, while almost half of the population uses the words depression and stress interchangeably, they are not the same. While stress can be caused with mere change of place, or workload, depression is a result of extreme or chronic stress. 

Our body functions like heart beat, immunity, sleeping, digestion etc. all work to their full limits without stress, but they do get hampered or compromised when the body goes into an in-built precautionary mechanism known as fight or flight mode. 

Symptoms can be as mentioned but not limiting to:

  • Palpitation or chest pain or feeling like your heart is racing. 
  • Insomnia or too sleepy or fatigued even after long hours of sleep. 
  • Skin problems like acne, pimples, rashes etc. 
  • Weak immune system or trouble digesting or assimilating food. 
  • Frequent headaches or body pains. 

Just to keep these symptoms at bay, some people with chronic stress turn to unhealthy behaviours, like drinking, smoking, using drugs, gambling or overeating or undereating. 

While they are absolutely of no use rather they are harmful and can further irritate your system and can make your recovery even more difficult.

Rather than sticking to unnecessary substances, stick to something natural. There are some very homely ways that you can incorporate in your life to deal with these symptoms. 

  • Setting up a schedule for your sleep: sleeping and waking up at the same time. Same hours assures proper release of your sleep hormone i.e. Melatonin. 
  • Absorbing that vitamin D:  the morning sun is the best source of vitamin D and it is very vital for you to embrace the sun for at least 15-20 minutes daily else its deficiency can lead to aggravation of the symptoms causing more problems. 
  • Getting in some movement throughout the day:  It doesn’t have to specifically be in the morning, it can be at any time of the day depending upon your work and daily chores. Just 20-30 minutes are good to start with. 
  • Keeping a journal or writing: writing is the more underrated act, but it always helps you to see and plan things more clearly. Daily journaling can assure that you are keeping on track and accomplishing your daily tasks. 
  • Consulting a therapist: a therapist can actually provide insights into your own life that you might be unable to follow or look at. Talk therapies can help you release all your tensions and confusions and can further guide you to a better way. 

Stress is very common between all age groups, almost 77% of people experience stress that affects one’s physical health. Though, it is usually not a long-term issue and evades as soon as the situation concerning it takes off. But in some cases it can go a long way, and can become a major cause for depression, panic attacks, and in some cases even self harm too. Therefore it is more than important to address such issues at the root and try to eliminate the cause as soon as possible. 

You might not be able to keep stress out of the way completely as it has become a part of almost everybody’s life, taking in account the ruthless pandemic and financial crisis surrounding the world, but you can always learn some stress management techniques that can help you cope up. 

In these running times, precaution is always better than cure, let your body learn, to help it churn through any odds. 

Gunjan Arya (Counselling Psychologist)

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