Stress and Simple Anti-stress Measures

We today live in a fiercely competitive world, and attempt to perform well at any cost by over-taxing our body and its organs. This rat race results in Stress which harms our mind and body in the long run. Dr. T. Grayson, Physician to the 28th US President Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924) said, "A rational diet, adequate exercise, and wholesome hours are the foundation upon which a reserve of strength (health) be built". He recommended, "Eight hours for work, eight hours for sleep, and eight hours for play". These three pillars support good health. Thus, health is defined as a condition of optimal well-being and freedom from disease or abnormality of the body or mind (physical or mental).

At the holistic level disease is a byproduct of Stress, which is an agency (physical, chemical, psychological, microbial, or environmental) which tends to alter the internal environment of the organism. The attempt of the body to maintain homeostasis, i.e. a constancy of the internal environment involves complex processes collectively designated by Hans Selye (1972) as the General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS). The GAS has three fairly well defined stages of Alarm, Adaptation, and Exhaustion. The limbic system in the brain maintains homeostasis, i.e. normality. Our system has great 'resilience' and 'coping' capability, and chemicals like adrenaline and corticosteroids from the adrenal gland play a role in the maintenance of normality. But in chronic stress when the 'adaptation' is shattered we step into the stage of 'exhaustion', and "diseases of adaptation" (stomach ulcers, migraine, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, coronary heart disease, cerebral stroke, arthritis, premature aging, and mental disorders like depression and schizophrenia) strike at a younger age.

A change/adjustment in habits and life-style is needed to 'cope' with stress. Some very simple and effective measures have been suggested to avoid "stress" and the "diseases of adaptation", and include:

  • Good nourishment and adequate sleep

  • Schedule your day wisely

  • Spend money wisely

  • Be flexible

  • Admit your mistakes and shortcomings

  • Resolve conflicts

  • It is said, Forgive others, not because they deserve forgiveness, but because you deserve peace

  • Take time out

  • Limit contact with stress-producing people

  • Learn to laugh at yourself

  • Laugh out loud

  • Play with your pet, if you have one

  • Clean the clutter around

  • Mow the lawn

  • Sing a song

  • Take a walk

  • Chew some gum

  • Take a deep breath

  • Be kind to yourself, and

  • Regularly practice meditation and yoga, healers of the Body, Mind, and Soul.

As we have little control over the stress that bombards us, we must learn to diversify stressful agents, and avoid long exposure to stress. Plan your life between work, play and worship. Be humble and think more about others than yourself.

Image (c)


More by :  Dr. Frank S. K. Barar

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