Stress in today’s life. Let’s shun it effectively.
By:-Dr Amit Kumar Gupta01 Mar, 2018
Hey! Are you stressed?
Do you believe that stress has become an inevitable part of your busy day to day life? Is it taking a toll on your body and soul? Many of us might react saying, “So what! Stress is a common phenomenon these days.”
Look around, read the newspaper, watch the TV, listen to the radio, and surf the internet – you will find that stress spares none – be it a common man or a celebrity, a rich or a poor, and a man or a woman.
We all know that stress tends to creep into our lives as a by-product of our struggle for survival and fulfilling ambitions. But how many of us do realise that stress is avoidable and even when it is not avoidable, at least it can be managed. Yes, we can modify our stress and channelise it into positive vibes leading to a healthier life and greater peace of mind.
Managing stress: what does it mean?
Stress management is the art and science of either keeping the cause of stress away or channelising the issue into positive vibes and leveraging the same to do better in life. Stress management is one of the keys to live a happy and successful life in modern times by improving our everyday style of functioning.
The very simple realisation that we are in control of our life is the foundation of stress management. It is all about taking charge of our thoughts, our emotions, our schedule, our environment and the way we deal with problems. And, the ultimate goal is to have a ‘balanced life’ – with enough time for work, relationships, relaxation and fun; and the resilience to hold up under pressure and meet challenges head on!
How to cope up with stressful situations?
We can learn various strategies of coping with our stress – both at individual and at organisational level. At individual level, such techniques help us in reducing stress, decreasing anger & hostility while improving health, and ultimately improving our life conditions.
Basically, the strategy is based on:
- Setting limits
- Refusing undue demands
- Learning to relax
Some of the techniques of stress management are listed below:
- Time management
- Resolving conflicts through talks with peers, parents, partners and more…
- Physical exercise, meditation, yoga, and relaxation exercises
- Getting a hobby like listening to relaxing music, reading novels
- Spending quality time with nature or pets
- Consulting an expert (doctor, counsellor, psychologist)
- Regular health check-up
- Proper treatment of health conditions (risk factors and diseases)
In order to find the appropriate stress management process, one needs to identify the causes. Here are some more general and easy strategies:
- Identification of the sources of stress: Look closely at your habits, attitudes and excuses. Do you explain away stress as temporary? Is it an integral part of your work or home life or as a part of your personality? Do you blame your stress on others, or view it as entirely normal and unexceptional? Until we accept responsibility for the role we play in creating or maintaining it, our stress level will remain outside our control.
- Start a ‘stress diary’: Each time you feel stressed, keep track of it in your diary. As you keep a daily log, you will begin to see patterns and common themes; write down the cause, the feelings (physical & emotional), the responses, and the efforts. This diary will help you finding the approach to deal with stress.
- Looking at the current ways of coping with stress: Think about the ways you currently follow to manage stress in your life. See whether your strategies are healthy/unhealthy. Unfortunately, most of the times, we cope with stress in ways that compound the problem. Some of the unhealthy ways of coping include smoking, alcohol intake, drug abuse, over-eating, excessive sleeping, binge watching, outburst, violence and much more. These may apparently reduce stress as short-term gain but they cause more damage in the long run. Recognising them and addressing them suitably can reduce stress to a great extent.
- Learning healthier ways of coping with stress: There can be many ways of coping, but all require ‘change’ or ‘personalisation’. Just remember, you can:
- Avoid unnecessary stress by learning how to say “no”! Avoid people who stress you out and take control of your environment. Take a break by easing down your to-do-list!
- Alter the response to a stressor by expressing your feelings, being willing to compromise, being more assertive, and managing your time better.
- Adapt to a stressor by reframing your problems, looking at the big picture, adjusting your standards, adjusting your attitude, and focusing on positive aspects.
- Accept the things you cannot change by giving no try to control the uncontrollable, looking for the upside, sharing your feelings, and learning to forgive.
- Make time for fun and relaxation: Nurture yourself. Set aside relaxation time. Connect with others. Do something you enjoy every day. Keep your sense of humour on if possible. Do regular practice of relaxation techniques.
- Adopt a healthy lifestyle: Do the following:
- Regular exercise
- Balanced diet
- Less sugar and caffeine
- Adequate sleep
- No smoking, alcohol or drugs.
- Managing stress at organisation level: This is also equally important because many-a-times, any kind of intervention at the individual level alone may not solve the problem. Strategies to cope with stress at organisation level are largely intended to help workers develop more social support – both on the job and at home. These are general directed towards improving the conditions of work and workplace. Some of these technique are:
- Making employees know that the organisation cares for them
- Specific approaches and activities: Supervisory training, effective communication, family counseling, team building, sensitivity training, modifying shifts, reducing physical hazards, improving career ladders, modifying the use of training and technology, job rotation, job enrichment, enhancing skill levels, and workers’ participation in decision-making
- Making workplace healthy and healthier for the employees: Ways to improve employees’ health and satisfaction through such measures as health insurance, proper personal protective equipment, periodic health checks, in-house wellness programmes, engagement sessions etc.
OK. What is the next step now?
Have you undergone a health check-up recently? If not, get it done now.
For your health check-up, consult an expert doctor who will take your in-depth medical history, perform your comprehensive medical examination, advise for and assess your laboratory tests, and then help you take necessary steps to improve your overall health.
So, go ahead. Consult your doctor today.