Stress: Simple Steps to De-Stress

Today stress is a fact of life, as the modern man is living life in the fast lane, full throttle, and at a break neck speed. During life our body has to face various stress-inducing agencies (physical, chemical, psychological, or environmental) which tend to alter our internal physiological environment. For optimal health we have to maintain a constant or near constant "internal environment" in relation to the "external environment". This complex body process was designated by Hans Selye (1072) as the General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS).

The GAS has three stages, namely, Alarm, Adaptation, and Exhaustion. Usually one oscillates between the stages of 'alarm' and 'adaptation'. But on chronic stress adaptation of the body is shattered. This leads to anxiety and diseases of adaptation set in, including headache, migraine, angina pectoris, coronary heart disease, stomach ulcers, diabetes mellitus, cerebral stroke, premature ageing, and mental diseases like anxiety, depression and schizophrenia. To escape anxiety, some individuals start taking "drugs" and slip into drug addiction.

Medical science today recognizes that emotions like fear, sorrow, anger, envy, resentment, and hatred are responsible for 60% to nearly 100% of all sicknesses. Thus, the psychosomatic concept of disease has evolved. Some easy steps can be taken to keep these diseases of adaptation at bay:

  1. When anxious, ignore sugary food; munch an apple or take 10 deep breaths.

  2. When angry, don't grab a bar of chocolate or candy, or smoke, or take coffee. A better bet is exercise -- climb a flight of stairs once or twice.

  3. Avoid fried snacks. This would restrict salt and fat intake. But nourish your body well.

  4. Try to get 6-8 hours of sleep.

  5. Diversify your activity. Try to break out of a monotonous rut you have fallen into. Be flexible, and attempt to laugh at your mistakes.

  6. Take a walk around the block or the house you are living in.

  7. Give an earnest trial to Yoga, Meditation, or Tai Chi.

  8. Eat a fiber-rich diet. This would regulate the bowels.

  9. Focus your attention on the present. Expunge thoughts of the past and future. Count your blessings.

  10. Solve crossword puzzles. Join a club; develop some hobbies; or spend time in the garden.

Lastly, if we want to adapt successfully to daily stressful situations, tactful avoidance of such situations is desirable. With such situations we would soon discover the dangerous four letter word - SELF. Don't cherish exaggerated ideas of your "self". In humility think more of others than yourself, and develop a proper attitude of mind.


More by :  Dr. Frank S. K. Barar

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