By Dr. Subrata Naskar, Psychiatry
You may feel there’s nothing you can do about stress. The bills won’t stop coming, there will never be more hours in the day, and your work and family responsibilities will always be demanding. Stress and anxiety negatively impacts your health as it makes you prone to diseases, the most common ones being high blood pressure and diabetes. Yes, you have more control over stress than you might think. Stress management is all about taking charge: of your lifestyle, thoughts, emotions, and the way you deal with problems. No matter how stressful your life seems, there are steps you can take to relieve the pressure and regain control.
There are many ways by which you can deal with stress:
1. Identify the sources of stress in your life- It’s easy to identify sources of stress following a major life event such as changing jobs, moving home, or losing a loved one, but pinpointing the sources of everyday stress can be more complicated. It’s all too easy to overlook your own thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that contribute to your stress levels. Sure, you may know that you’re constantly worried about work deadlines, but maybe it’s your procrastination, rather than the actual job demands, that is causing the stress.
2. Eat healthy, eat right- Make sure the meals you eat are nutritious and well balanced. It is essential that the foods should be a wholesome mix of carbohydrates, protein, fats, Vitamins and minerals. Focus mostly on whole foods rather than refined foods and include plenty of vegetables and fruits in your diet.
3. Give peace a chance- Meditation, when practised on a regular basis, has been shown to cut down stress levels significantly. It helps in restoring your emotional well-being and increasing self-awareness.
4. No more glug glug- Although a glass of some good old red wine or Chardonnay twice a week definitely lifts your spirits, excessive alcohol consumption and making it a habit you cannot do without can mess with your brain and cause panic to set in once the effects of alcohol wear off. Apart from all the other serious health complications, it is known to aggravate stress and anxiety once the “high” of alcohol recedes.
5. See the lighter sides of life- Try to see the lighter side of things in life; remember everything in life doesn’t warrant seriousness. Realize that you can’t control each and every thing, so stop trying to and just go with the flow.
6. Reach out! Be in the thick of things- Talk to people, volunteer or play team sports as these can help uplift your mood and make you feel better. It acts as a support network that can help you manage stress.
7. Get moving- Physical activity plays a key role in reducing and preventing the effects of stress, but you don’t have to be an athlete or spend hours in a gym to experience the benefits. Just about any form of physical activity can help relieve stress and burn away anger, tension, and frustration. Exercise releases endorphins that boost your mood and make you feel good, and it can also serve as a valuable distraction to your daily worries.