Stress: identify, acknowledge & manage

Posted by: admin on: February 15, 2012

Stress is the biggest villain in the modern day lifestyle. How to identify it, cope with it and manage it is a big challenge. Here is something we need to know.


Learn to recognize the symptoms and then work at finding solutions to deal with them.

Mala’s day began at 6.00 a.m. After supervising the maids, she would get her son ready for school and leave for work. As an ad manager, her day involved meetings and setting new targets. She ended up working 16 hours a day with endless cups of tea, a sandwich at lunch and be exhausted by the time she got home. Dinner was a bowl of soup from a packet. Is Mala’s life heading towards a disaster?

Listen to your body

How does one realize if one is stressed? Fitness expert Panday explains, “You must learn to listen to your body. Lower back pain, loss of appetite, insomnia, bone aches, headaches are physical symptoms. Getting angry more often is also a sign of stress.”

Overwork leads to stress so the first step is to watch for the signs of being overworked. Psychologist Salma Prabhu says, “The first sign is lack of sleep followed by not finishing work on time and then errors. All this causes acidity and headaches, minor initially but later leading to heart disease and blood pressure. Loss of appetite or binge eating is another symptom. So are skin ailments like psoriasis, depression and anxiety.”

So how does one let go and avoid stress? First identify the triggers and set them right. “For instance, if the stress is due to work pressure, then one needs to identify whether it is a bad boss, time management issues or lack of capability. Then monitor and seek help to cope. Systematic desensitisation is a technique used for phobias and anxiety. The anxiety level in stress is very high. So the patient is asked to relive a situation in the mind and then led through progressive muscular relaxation. He/she learns to relax and cope with a stressful thought or situation. Letting go of stress is not easy. Some individuals who have personality disorders like OCD are perfectionists and not only experience stress themselves but also are the cause of stress in others.”

Seek a solution

Not many realise how eating patterns change when one is stressed. Dietician and nutritionist Dr Sujata Udeshi says, “Stress comes in many forms so one can beat it with diet. The best choices are foods rich in anti-oxidants like fresh fruits, vegetables, healthy oils and grains. Include plenty of green vegetables and yellow orange fruits. A fistful of nuts is another good option. Whole grains and pulses are a must but those with weak digestion must avoid them. Say no to oily and fried food and fermented and processed foods.”


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