To have a little stress is actually productive and it propels us towards our personal as well as professional goals; but undue and high dosage of this condition over a long period can result in medical disorders like depression, hypertension and anxiety among others. Globally, one in thirteen people suffer from anxiety and depression, when you do the math it is one huge chunk of our population. According to a study by WHO, depression is the major cause of disability worldwide! These all issues have stress lurking in their roots. To a large extent, stress can be addressed by simple life style changes that include diet, sleep, exercise and social interaction, that can help you lead a healthier and happy life!
- Regular exercise – Have you ever noticed how a session of sweat and physical exhaustion exhilarates you? Well the reason is that exercise releases “feel-good” chemical called dopamine in your body. Pumping it out in gym or simple running actually makes your body more adaptable and better at handling stress. Yoga is also great to combat stress as it has meditative aspect that actually calms the mind. People who exercise have a better body image which boosts confidence- another factor that can thwart negativity of stress on your body and mind.
- You are what you eat – Anxiety can mess up with your digestion system. But, a good diet can regulate metabolism and other life functions in the body, so watch what you eat. The secret lies in balancing your nutrition palette. Include more fruits and vegetables in your diet. Start your meals with salads; this ensures that you do not overeat which can lead to bloating and indigestion. Choose your meats wisely - chicken and goat have the least amount of calories and cholesterol. On the other hand, pork is heavy on calories and lamb scores high on cholesterol. Make your everyday food healthy with these simple changes:
- Bake your food instead of deep frying.
- Cut down on coffee, tea and aerated drinks.
- If you are a rice eater then increase proportion of vitamins and reduce carbohydrates in your diet.
- Never completely eliminate fats and oil from your meals. Fats are an important component for your body functions, and should be consumed in moderate quantities regularly.
- Alcohol aggravates the problem – Avoid alcohol if you are prone to stress. Though it calms you initially, eventually it leads to mood swings and depression. If you tend to consume alcohol at the knock of stress, then you may be progressing towards becoming an alcoholic. So watch out!
- Sleep management – A deep sleep for eight hours every day can calm your nerves and take the edge out. It refreshes your mind and gets you ready to face another day positively. Ensure that you follow a proper routine and get enough rest. Work on your sleep cycle if you have to. A warm cup of chamomile tea or a nice warm bath right before bedtime can induce sleep.
- Keep in touch – We humans are social beings and this is why it is important that we socialise and keep in touch with our loved ones. Sharing your problems with others and a simple conversation can go a long way in relieving stress. Make an effort to reach out and spend some quality time with others. This will distract you from your own problems and give your mind a break from the mundane issues and routine life problems!
These five simple changes can help you manage stress effectively. If stress is causing sleeplessness, anxiety and limits your functionality in any way, then do not hesitate to contact a medical practitioner. Remember a healthy mind leads to healthy body and vice versa.