Stress in Daily Life and Management
Overview of stress
There have been faster changes in all wakes of life during last few decades than earlier. The ‘quality of life’ has drastically improved as a result of the advances in the fields of science and technology, medicine, telecommunication and other areas. The faster pace of life, time and work pressure, over burden of work schedule, complex interpersonal relationship and unhealthy lifestyle result into stress. It can happen to people of any age group and almost every one experience stressful situation sometime or the other in their life.
To some extent, stress is desirable, as it helps improving one’s performance at work, studies and sports, and even in maintaining relationships. However, when a person begins to feel that things are going out of control and cannot manage his/her various tasks the way he/she wants it, then the stress become troublesome and hamper performance.
Stress at Workplace
Most of the time, workplace is demanding stress, where the work pressure is more in some cases, the demand exceeds one’s capacity to handle situation or work and results into stress. This is especially true for the modern day high profile jobs in the metro cities. The factors responsible for stress are trying to work under unreasonable deadlines, inadequate training, long work hours, lack of proper communication, inability to take decisions, job insecurity, managing difficult clients, lack of motivation and morale etc. These tend to increase the stress load on an individual. Any stress related to personal life may get accentuated if one is experiencing stress at workplace and vice versa.
Stress at Home
Happy people make happy homes and home is a place where an individual generally finds solace from the daily humdrums of a fast paced life. A proper understanding between the people who share the same roof is vital for the home to be called the ‘home sweet home.’ Strained relation with the partner, improper arrangements, handling many responsibilities, looking after an ailing relative, managing children can lead to increase in the stress of an individual.
Effects of Stress
The effect of stress could be visible or invisible. The sufferer may unknowingly start to change his/her lifestyle or other practices to cope up with the stress he/she is experiencing. His/her mental makeup might change. He/she may feel irritated easily and tend to over react in certain situations. The amount of patience may begin to decline and one may be easily agitated. One may tend to shout at others for even minor blunders.
The ability to concentrate may begin to decrease, as the levels of stress increase and one may get distracted easily. This may affect the normal functioning of the individual, especially students who need to concentrate to learn new things, which in turn, may increase the stress levels. One may not be able to perform well at schools, colleges, work place, or in personal life. Long- and short-term memory can diminish further adding up to the woes.
Depression begins to creep in, as the individual begins to face failures in professional and personal life due to increased stress that may affect his/her performance. Depression is many a time considered as a major trait of being over-stressed. Being depressed for a long period of time tends to induce suicidal feeling and the individual may hurt him or herself if he/she does not receive proper support during these periods.
Decision making ability deteriorates and the individual may be unable to arrive at a decision due to the fear of failures. This may further increase the stress being experienced.
Helplessness over the state of conditions may make the individual depressed and he/she tends show low enthusiasm and interest in the happenings around. The social and personal life may be affected.
Health of the individual may be affected owing to various factors associated with stress. Lack of sleep is one of the common features of being overstressed. Improper food habits, skipping food in between, smoking, chewing tobacco and alcohol consumption can lead to various health problems.
Can Stress be Contained?
The answer is yes. It is impossible to live a stress-free life but its repercussions can be minimized. Following certain simple steps can go a long way in reducing the amount of stress being experienced by an individual. Some ways to contain stress are elaborated.
Managing Stress: Ways to Ease Stress
Time management: Segregate work according to priority and do what ever is most important and which only you can do. Avoid unnecessary tasks. Delegate the work, domestic as well as official, to appropriate people as and when possible.
Say ‘no’ when you cannot do, you should not forget that no one can please every one every time.
Changes in the life are stressful, prepare yourself for the changes and try to slow down the pace of change.
Be realistic while setting goal and expectations in life and have healthy sense of self-esteem.
Past is past, learn a lesson for life but leave the failures behind and do not bother for them.
Regular sleep, exercise, yoga and meditation practice is helpful in relieving stress.
Eat nutritious diet containing less fat and more fruits, vegetables and fibers.
Stop smoking and drugs and cut down on tea and coffee.
Learn to be happy. Observe beauty around, enjoy every thing, even minor and appreciate life.
Take time to observe the beauty around, enjoy the little things in life. Learn to appreciate life.
Be with yourself for some time every day: relax, read, listen to music or meditate what ever you like.
Do not hold your feelings to yourself, it over stress, express openly at least to yourself.
There are several other methods one can follow to relax the mind or reduce the stress being experienced. Professional help may be required in these methods. Some of these stress- relieving methods include the following.
Breathing Exercises for Relaxation
Breathing not only helps one to be alive but also is an effective way to reduce the stress. The way one breathes affects the whole body, as the main function of breathing is to supply oxygen to the whole body and take out the waste gases produced. Full, deep breathing is a good way to reduce tension, feel relaxed, and reduce stress.
Relaxed breathing aims at developing full use of lung capacity and rhythmic breathing. It is better to perform in lying on the back with your knees bent, though it can be practiced in any position. The steps are as follows:
Lie down and put the left hand on the abdomen and the right hand on the chest. While breathing in and out, notice the way hands move.
Always breathe in through nose and breathe out through mouth.
Fill your lower lung by breathing so that your left hand goes up when you inhale and your right hand remains still. Than empty it. Practice it 8–10 times.
Now again inhale into your lower lungs as before, thereafter continue to inhale into your upper chest. While doing so the right hand will rise and your left hand will fall a little.
Breathe out slowly through your mouth, while doing so make a quiet, whooshing sound. First the left hand and then the right hand should fall during breathing out. With every breathe going out, feel the tension is releasing from the body and becoming more calm and relaxed.
Overall the movement of the abdomen and chest will be like a rhythmic rise and fall of a rolling wave.
Continue this for 3–5 minutes. Once this practice is over few weeks, it can be done anywhere and any time to relieve from tension.
Start this exercise slowly and gradually master the art. Sometimes you might feel lightheadedness in that case, do it more slowly.
It relieves muscular stiffness and clears the breathing passage and generally done in the morning after getting up from the bed. This should be done many times during the day to relieve tension and stiffness. Stand with very slight bend of the knee than bend forward and take your stretched hand, as close to the floor as possible. Now return to the standing position gradually with breathing in slowly and deeply. Hold the breath for few seconds in the standing position and than exhale and come to the original relaxed position.
Relaxing the Head
Relaxing your head is good for relieving neck tension or when you have too much on your mind. It can be achieved by doing many very slow rolling movement of neck while breathing in at the time of upward movement, holding of breathe at the highest position and breathing out while up-ward movement. (Avoid over stretching if you have arthritis of neck or severe neck pain. Similarly do the side movement.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation
It is a technique of relieving stress by alternatively making the body muscles tense and relax one after the other, starting from hand muscles extend to whole of the body parts up to toes in a sequential manner. It is also useful against ulcers, sleeplessness, and hypertension.
Mental imagery relaxation also called guided imagery is a way of restoring harmony between the mind and body. One should relax breath slowly and create a positive and peaceful and calm image of oneself in his/her mind and do a positive self talk in the way of some positive statements should be made about the work and the life.
Listening to relaxing music could relieve tension.
Last but not the lease, counselor can also help in acquiring ways to handle stressful situations and leave stress free.
Thus, stress in the modern life is unavoidable, but leading a balanced life, following healthy lifestyle and practicing yoga regularly help in reducing stress. Besides, some techniques especially targeting stress are available.
Written by: healthplus24.com team
Date last updated: January 18, 2015