Stress is a term to which many are familiar these days. The modern era is an era of a terribly fast paced life. Every one is in a hurry to reach the peak of success in all spheres of life, beating contenders and making the most of the time at hand. The craze for luxury and wealth has made the situation worse. Such a rat race marked with ambition to squeeze as many as achievements possible within every minute, has propelled one in to the gall mouth of a problem called stress which is detrimental to the emotional, psychological and also physical health of a human being.
The term stress in the context of biology and psychology, was coined in the 1930′s, but has become more common in the present times. When one becomes a victim of stress, he or she fails to handle well the emotional and physical threats. When difficult or challenging situations arise in life, the brain starts releasing cortisone and adrenalin, the two major stress hormones. These hormones elevate blood pressure and prepare the body to cope with the situation. If one fails to counter the situation, the stress hormones remain unreleased in blood for a long period, resulting in physical and mental complications. Stress is relative in nature and can attack all age groups. It may be job related, family and relationship oriented and many more other types. Prolonged period of stress may take a serious toll on the health of the individual by exhausting the immune system
Causes of Stress or Stressors
1. General causes: Physical, social or financial threat, fear and its imagined outcomes, feeling of uncertainty, cognitive dissonance or the failure to do as we wish or dream for.
2. Life causes: Death of loved one, soaring responsibilities, environmental change, paucity of money or owing or investing it, argument with any one, sexual dissatisfaction, lack of sleep, new work hours, health related stressors like injury, illness or pregnancy, qualms of conscience after a crime, self abuse etc
3. Work related stressors: Demands of job, relationship with colleagues etc
Symptoms of Stress
Symptoms of stress may be emotional, behavioral, physical or cognitive. Some symptoms are as follows:
1. Moodiness 2. Irritability 3. Restlessness 4. Unnecessary and excessive worrying 5. Poor judgment 6. A negative outlook towards every thing 7. Agitation 8. Feeling of loneliness and depression 9. Aches 10. Constipation or diarrhea 11. Eating too much or skipping meals 12. Sleeping too much or suffering from insomnia 13. Nausea 14. Dizziness 15. Chest pain 16. Neck pain 17. Rapid heart beat 18. Excessive sweating 19. Social withdrawal 20. Nicotine, drug or alcohol dependence 21. Neglecting or shirking duties or responsibilities 22. Nervous habits like nail biting, walking up and down.
Home Remedies for Stress
1. Yoghurt is a very good remedy for stress. It can deal very well with stress induced insomnia and headaches.
2. Including sprouts in diet can manage stress well.
3. One may take a cup of tea made by boiling one teaspoon dried sage leaves in a cup of water, and sweeten the tea with honey. This would relieve stress.
4. Drinking a cup of hot milk mixed with honey and cinnamon calms a stressed mind.
5. One may boil few rose petals in a cup of water, strain and add sugar and drink the mixture to get relief from stress.
6. Chewing of basil leaves can relieve stress because basil is rich in adaptogen, an anti stress agent.
7. Alfalfa and sunflower seeds can treat stress effectively.
8. Sniffing ajwain seeds can relieve stress.
9. Hot water bath and pouring few drops of essential oil in to the bath water can relax both mind and body. This is an effective home remedy for stress.
10. Brisk walk for at least 45 minutes can help one cope with stress.
11. Practicing yogic exercises, breathing exercises and meditation can help one deal with stress.
Stress is simply a fact of nature — forces from the outside world affecting the individual. The individual responds to stress in ways that affect the individual as well as their environment. Hence, all living creatures are in a constant interchange with their surroundings (the ecosystem), both physically and behaviorally. This interplay of forces, or energy, is of course present in the relationships between all matter in the universe, whether it is living (animate) or not living (inanimate). However, there are critical differences in how different living creatures relate to their environment. These differences have far-reaching consequences for survival. Because of the overabundance of stress in our modern lives, we usually think of stress as a negative experience, but from a biological point of view, stress can be a neutral, negative, or positive experience.
Body, brain and nervous system react actively
The body and the mind react to any stress factor. A large number of physical changes take place when a person is under stress. The brain and nervous system become intensely active; the pupils of the eye dilate; digestion slows down; muscles become tense; the heart starts pumping blood harder and faster; blood pressure increases; breathing becomes faster; hormones such as adrenaline are released into the system along with glucose from the liver; and sweating starts. All these changes like place in split second under the direction of the nervous system. If the stress factors are removed immediately, no harm accrues and all the changes are reversible
Poor sleep, frustration, increase in alcoholic intake etc
Stress in its earlier and reversible stage leads to poor sleep, bad temper, continual grumbling, domestic conflict, repealed minor sickness, accident proneness, a feeling of frustration, and increase in alcoholic intake
1. Take Ashwaganda This herb comes from India, improves mental and physical performance, relaxes brain waves and reduces stress, specially in people affected by overwork, anxiety, sexual debility and fatigue.
2. Ginkgo biloba improves circulation and brain activity.
3. Licorice protects against damaging effects of stress. Increases energy and reduces inflammation and boost the immune system.
4. Jamaican dogwood is a strong pain reliever, sedative and antispasmodic. It’s very helpful for muscular back pain, asthma, menstrual pain, insomnia, toothaches, and nervous conditions.
5. Learn to relax, many times relaxing our body leads to relaxing of the mind.
6. Do not eat or drink too much caffeine although it gives you stamina and vitality it also disturbs sleep patterns and makes you more nerves.
7. When things are not going the way you want, don’t “talk down on you” the way you talk to your self has a lot to do with the way you feel, things like “I’ll never learn this,” “I can’t do it” or “I hate this guy” are negative thinking and promotes stress, depression, and frustration.
8. Take warm baths using essential oils. (Aromatherapy).
9. Find a hobby, something you like to do and spend time for yourself.
10. Take a weekend off, but don’t stay home, drive to another town or to a quiet place.
Diet for Stress
Lifestyle change, optimum diet, regular exercise and rest
In dealing with stress, the lifestyle of the patient needs a complete overhaul. He should be placed on an optimum diet, and be encouraged to take regular exercise and adequate rest. If this is done, many diseases caused by stress can be eliminated. Diet plays an important role in the prevention and healing of stress induced diseases.
Food to be avoided during stress
Certain foods associated with stress and anxiety should be scrupulously avoided. These foods are caffeine in coffee and many soft drinks, salt, sugar, cigarettes, and alcohol
Stress can act as a motivator or energizer. Too much of bad stress can cause medical and social problems. Because the body responds to stress physically, bad stress causes the “fight or flight” reaction. The body changes, prepares to either confront the challenge or flee from it.
Stress releases adrenaline (the stress hormone), heart rate increases, breathing quickens and blood pressures rises. The liver increases output of sugar and blood flow is diverted to the brain and large muscles. Symptoms of stress include, feeling anxious, feeling scared, irritable or moody. Stress affects thoughts.
Thoughts of low self-esteem, fear of failure, inability to concentrate, worrying about the future, preoccupation with thoughts/tasks and forgetfulness can be present. Stress affects behavior. It can cause stuttering and other speech difficulties, bouts of crying for no apparent reason, laughing in a high pitch or nervous tone of voice, increased accident prone behavior, overeating, under eating and increased use of drugs and alcohol.
Stress Relief Treatment
Stress Relief Therapy contains many different therapies and techniques, which are all designed to alleviate the symptoms of stress. Some of the more common therapies which are carried out include.
This form of therapy can get rid of tension and stress as well as negative thoughts. The patient will be in a state of natural deep relaxation and concentration. Hypnosis can help you to notice the negative patterns in your life as well find ways to stop the behaviour and counteract it with something more positive.
Not all cases of Stress Therapy require medication, although in some severe cases antidepressants are given to help run stress symptoms of tightening muscles. The most common medication is in the form of aromatherapy, using different oils and fragrances to encourage your body to become relaxed and calm.
Home Remedies for Stress
Yogurt is the best home remedy for stress. It is rich in vitamin A, B complex and vitamin D. It provides relief from insomnia, migraine and cramps associated with menstruation. It is a best diet for stress.
Make a tea by pouring a cup of boiling water over one teaspoon of dried sage leaves. Strain and sweetened, with honey, if obligatory. This is also good natural remedy for stress.
Blackstrap molasses are another effective food remedy. It is a by-product of the sugar refining process and is rich in iron and B vitamins.
Alfalfa and sunflower seeds are also effective in the stress treatment.
Sprouts are also effective diet for stress as they are rich in calcium.
The leaves of holy basil known as tulsi are highly beneficial in the stress treatment. Chew 12 leaves of basil twice a day morning and sunset for preventing stress. Tulsi is known as adaptogen or antis tress agents.
Using various ayurvedic herbs like brahmi, ashwagandha and St.John Wort are also highly beneficial in the treatment of stress. These herbs can be taken as capsules or can be infused in boiling water to make tea.
Massage for Stress Relief: –
One of the most relaxing things in the world is a good massage. Adding regular massage to your natural stress management routine can be extremely beneficial. It can help reduce headaches, muscle tension, and many of the other physical side effects associated with excess stress.
Meditation is the term which is used to describe the concentrated and calm state of mind. Present generation always feel stressed and overwhelmed because of the hectic pace and demands of modern lifestyle. This tiredness and stress results in impatience and frustration and affects the health adversely. Meditation has proved to be a boon in these troubled times. There are numerous benefits of meditation. Because of scarcity of time, the most important question that arises in everyone’s mind is that how to do meditation at home? The real advantage of meditation over other stress relieving techniques is that it can be practiced almost everywhere, even at home.
Advantages of meditation
There are innumerable benefits of meditation. Some of them are as follows: 1. It helps in encouraging positive thoughts and prevents negative thoughts 2. Makes one more productive. 3. Beneficial for health. 4. Boosts up energy level. 5. It helps to notice our own psychological condition and state of mind and easily transform it from the troubled state to peaceful. 6. Acts as stress buster by lowering the level of stress and thus making mind feel free.
During meditation, 4 areas should be paid attention: 1. Mental contents: the entire concepts, ideas and cognitive thoughts. 2. Feelings: Complete information about feelings such as pleasant, neutral and unpleasant 3. Body: properly monitoring the movements of the body. 4. Mind-states: various mind states namely, elation, sadness, calm, happiness, etc.
Some popular methods which readily can solve the riddle of how to do meditation at home are: 1. Breathing meditation: It is the easiest meditation. You just need to search the calm place to settle down and start taking deep breath. You need to take deep breath (inhale) and then release it slowly (exhale). Continue this process for some time regularly for getting better outcomes. 2. Binaural beats meditation: It happens when we hear two different melodious and calming songs. In that situation our entire conscious mind just goes into the calm position or in meditation position. It means listening soft and interested music files helps a lot. 3. Walking meditation: Regular mild walk is one of the most effective meditation types. 4. Guided meditation: There are several aids available that guide you to do the meditation or yoga systematically.
With these simple methods in mind one can easily understand how to do meditation at home and can easily get all the benefits of meditation to stay fit and live a healthy life.