The challenges of our fast paced lifestyles have put stress at the very centre of our existence. While most of us know that stress is detrimental to our health, very few are able to perceive the full physiological or psychological impact that chronic stress can have on our bodies and lives.

Strict work deadlines, personal responsibilities and commitments, unrealistic expectations of instant gratification — all of this contributes undue stress in our life, which eventually becomes chronic in nature. What’s more — stress has become such an intrinsic part of our lives that it’s hardly surprising today to see teenagers and even children complain about frequent headaches, sleeplessness, indigestion and other common stress related symptoms.   When under stress, be it emotional, physical or, psychological, the body goes into a ‘fight or flight’ mode during which the heart beat increases, blood pressure heightens, muscles tighten and our senses become sharper. This is the body’s natural stress response and is meant to help us deal with life-threatening situations. However, when stress becomes a prolonged and persistent in our daily life, it starts to adversely impact our body. To ensure long term and holistic wellness it is crucial to manage the stress levels of our body.
This World Health Day, WHO has taken-up the cause of creating awareness around Hypertension related disorders. Chronic Stress is a significant causative factor of Hypertension. Here are some simple but efficient tips to manage stress so that fluctuations in B.P. do not ruin your health :

Don’t let the stress get to you

While some stress is good for our body, excessive stress can impede our growth and performance levels. Sometimes we are aware that we are overly stressed but we pay little attention to finding a solution for countering our mounting stress levels. It is imperative that we recognize the amount of stress our body can tolerate and take steps to ensure that our stress does not exceed these levels.

Dedicate some time to yourself

More often than not, we tend to overlook our own emotional, physiological and psychological needs in an attempt to meet everyday deadlines and commitments. Over time, the tendency to take our needs for granted begins to have an adverse impact on our health. It is therefore extremely important that we set apart some time exclusively for ourselves to de-stress and indulge in activities that rejuvenate our body and mind.

Learn to manage your time more effectively

The first step towards managing your time effectively is organization. Unrealistic expectations and unsystematic work plan can easily shoot up anybody’s stress levels. Prioritizing our tasks and undertaking tasks that we can realistically manage, is necessary to keep stress at bay.

Choose your des-stressors carefully

Many people switch to binge-eating, smoking, drinking or substance abuse to cope with heightened stress levels. Instead of combating stress, such habits often prove counter-productive and end up aggravating our stress related problems. Physical activities such as jogging or swimming and meditation have proven helpful in effectively reducing the stress levels in the body. 

Request help when needed

In moments of high stress, sometimes talking about our concerns and seeking guidance from friends and family memories proves to be more helpful than any other de-stressors. We should not shy away from requesting help at times when we need it the most.

Take preventive action

Again, prevention is better than cure in dealing with stress. Maintaining a positive outlook, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and smart organization of your day to day activities can help you in smartly eliminating stress from your body and mind. A few lifestyle changes and pre-emptive steps to organize our work can help us keep the stress levels in our life within manageable levels.   Dr Samir Parikh The author of this blog is Director – Mental Health & Behavioural Sciences, Fortis Healthcare.

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