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STRESS relief – Practical things you can do every day By Prithika Chary

Stress is said to be a physiological and emotional reaction to certain psychological events.
Any situation triggering the previous life-saving, ancient “fight or flight” then the response is a stressor.
The barriers of modern society clearly forbid fleeing from or physically preventing the most stressful events.

Unrelieved physical strain caused by psychological stress might harm the body.

Often one may experience stress as a regular, exaggerated, and overwhelming sense of urgency, frequently coupled with frustration.

Stress is anything that stimulates you and increases your level of alertness.

Stress, therefore, is neither bad nor good. It’s simply one aspect of being alive.

Where we fall short is when the environment around us forces us into a constant state of “Hyper-Alertness”

When that happens we begin to go into Fatigue and Exhaustion, Depression and Burnout

Dr. Robert Lindberg says, “We spend most of our life gaining wealth and we then spend most of our wealth on gaining back our health.”

1.1 Types Of Stress

Every day we face stress factors. They can be environmental, such as noise, pollution, traffic or environmental conditions; biological, such as injury or illness; situational, such as a change in marital, financial or employment status or the death of a dear one who can be a family member or a friend.

Survival Stress, where you need that quick burst of energy to get out of danger.
Internal Stress is the stress that comes from anxious worry about things out of your control.
Environmental Stress includes loud noises, deadlines, distractions and everyday job and family obligations.
Overwhelming Often the result of doing too much over too short a deadline.
Achievement stress is a widespread “invisible disability,” is rarely seen but generally, it gets worse over time as children progress through school.

If left untreated achievement stress may result in academic failure, behavioural or emotional problems, drug abuse, health problems, and even suicide.

Since the stressed children of today will be the Type A adults of the next century, treating stress in the schools now may well relax our dangerously stressed society in the future. Even our domesticated pets can suffer from stress.

Too much stress is…. constantly feeling overwhelmed
Too much stress is when….you are way overextended.
Too much stress is when….you are always restless.
Too much stress is when….you are keyed up and on the edge.
Too much stress is when…. your muscles are tight.
Too much stress is when…. you end up feeling undervalued and unappreciated
Too much stress is when….you feel troubled all the time.
Too much stress is when….your work is taking over your life.
Too much stress is when…. you are losing sleep over your job.
Too much stress is when….you think about your job even at weekends.

Too much stress is when….you hate your boss.

1.2 What are the physical symptoms of stress?

You’re always tired, but you can’t get a good night’s sleep.
You’re constantly getting headaches.
Your neck and shoulders often feel stiff.
You’re short of breath.
You’re constantly getting colds.
You frequently get stomach aches.

Prolonged, unmanaged stress can exacerbate many illnesses.

It may aggravate ulcers and other gastrointestinal disorders and cause unexplained diarrhoea
Bring on heart disease and high blood pressure.
Stress can even induce diabetes
Prolonged stress can even have an effect on your immune system.

1.3 Understanding the mind-brain-body link

The three traditionally isolated fields of neuroscience, endocrinology and immunology, with various organs such as the brain, the glands, the spleen, bone marrow, and the lymph nodes — are actually connected to each other in a multi-directional network to communicate within the body, linked by information known as neuropeptides.

This is known as the mind-brain-body link or the science of Psychoneuroimmunology

You can understand the term “Psychoneuroimmunology” by breaking it and defining each component part:

Psyche – It is the mind component or the study of psychology, the cognitive and emotional processes affecting your mood states.

Neuro – The neurologic connections e.g. neurotransmitters and neuroendocrine secretions, or study of neurology

Immunology – How the immune system e.g. the cellular and humoral components are impacted, or the study of immunology.

Psychochemical
Emotions—The neuropeptides and receptors, the biochemicals of emotion are the body messengers that carries various information and links the body’s major systems into one unit which we can call it as body-mind.
Emotions are the signals that are associated with the process of translating the information into a physical reality – literally, we can say transforming the mind into matter.
Emotions are at the bridge connecting mind and matter, going back and forward between the two and influencing both.

2. STRESS RELIEF EVERY DAY – 10 PRACTICAL TIPS
  • Start the day right before the craziness sets it for you.
  • Take frequent breaks to ease your mind and body throughout the workday
  • Eat light at the end of the day
  • Be relaxed when you go to bed, not worn out and tense.

2.1 PRIORITISE YOUR DAY

Divide the day’s tasks into:

  • Important
  • Urgent
  • Mundane & routine tasks

Also don’t forget:-

  • Set aside time for dreaming
  • Take time to be nice to people, colleagues, friends, family, strangers
  • Demonstrate a caring attitude
2.2 LEARN THE ART OF DOING NOTHING FOR A WHILE

Take 5-10 minutes in the middle of the day, just to sit quietly and experience everything around you, the sounds, your emotions, relax the tension in your arms, neck, back and think of all that you have going in your favour and express and feel grateful for your blessings.

2.3 LISTEN TO SOOTHING MUSIC

When scared, tired or stressed out listening to soothing music – prolonged silence can be stressful – choose the music which makes you feel good – through the hard rock is not recommended – otherwise it does not matter what music you listen to as long as you feel in tune with it and relaxes you

2.4 THINK HAPPY

For ½ to 5 minutes think of someone you love, or a place you have enjoyed, or something you read which made you feel happy,or some incident which improved the way you feel about yourself.

Let the warmth of the loving feeling or being pleased course through the cells of your body.

Forgive everyone who has hurt you and revel in this feeling of magnanimity

2.5 MOVE

Get up from bed, the couch, your desk whatever every couple of hours and walk about for about 10 minutes – try not to do anything else other than just walking, learn the art of strolling now and then. This is walking meditation in Zen.

Doing this especially when stressed out helps to calm you down.

A walk after a learning experience enhances memory and creativity

2.6 BREATHE, BREATHE, JUST TAKE DEEP BREATHS IN AND OUT

A few deep belly breaths when you are angry, tired or stressed out energizes you – it is as if gulping those extra helpings of oxygen go straight in and clean things up – 5 seconds in, 2-second hold and 6 seconds outdo this every so often throughout the day

Breathe in light, joy and calmness and breathe out anger, stress and tension

2.7 LOVE YOURSELF

Look at yourself in a mirror and smile at yourself as soon as you wake up in the morning
Pinch your cheek and kiss your fingers and say “ Hey you are a nice person”
Hug yourself every day at least once and tell “You are okay” and “I love you”
Then smile at everyone around you and wish them well and a good day
Remind yourself of 5 things for which you are grateful,
then forgive & forget anyone who has hurt you and
step into the day with a light and happy heart

2.8 LAUGH OUT LOUD

Several times a day think of something funny you heard or saw, or keep a joke book handy and laugh and enjoy a few moments of something funny. A good laugh reduces levels of the stress chemicals cortisol and epinephrine and boosts immunity. Even anticipating laughter is calming, so just try to laugh as often and as much as possible

2.9 CELEBRATE LIFE

The celebration is an attitude and does not need money. It comes from enthusiasm and joy. Any excuse to celebrate is good. When sanctity is attached to the celebration it becomes complete. The body, mind and soul rejoice. Celebration uplifts and unites all around you.

Celebrate small successes, yours and those of others around you

Invite joy into your life by staging celebrations. Host festivities to mark the changes in your life.

Toast moments of joy and happiness you observe as you go through your day’s life. Smile often. This comes from knowing you are loved. If you don’t know whether you are embraced by the Divine, you might not be able to celebrate life.

Some think all celebration is spirituality.

“Spirituality is a harmonious combination of outer silence and inner celebration sometimes, and inner silence and outer celebration sometimes. “ – Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Dance — jump for joy and celebrate as often as possible.

2.10 MAKE LIFE FUN & FUNNY

DO NOT TAKE LIFE TOO SERIOUSLY
Find humour in the stuff that gets you upset.
Life may be tough, but it’s not what happens to you that’s important. What actions we take to go through life is important.
No matter what happens, be like a cat, always land on your feet.
The only control you have in your life is the power of choice.
If you don’t enjoy what you’re doing in life, then you shouldn’t be doing it.

“LIFE IS NOT MEANT TO BE ENDURED; IT IS TO BE ENJOYED.” – Gordon B. Hinckley

Joy is an essential spiritual practise that grows out of faith, grace, honour, hope, and love.
It is the pure delight in being alive.
Joy is our elated response to happy feelings, experiences of pleasure & awareness of abundance.
It is also a sense of deep satisfaction to know than we can serve others and be happy for their good fortune.
“What lies in our power to do, also lies in our power not to do”. – Aristotle
“The real measure of your wealth is how much you’d be worth if you lost all your money.” – Bernard Meltzer

CONCLUSION
In this article, I have highlighted some good and bad aspects of this modern disease “Stress” and how it is possible to seek daily stress relief through some very simple day-to-day modifications in your routine. Young people today are stressed even though they are economically, educationally better off than ever before because of “achiever fever” and “speed thrill”. Everyone is suffering from the “more syndrome” wanting more and more of everything. Let us all make a shift in our thinking and desire contentment, peace, a live and let live and win-win attitude, with space for everyone to celebrate and manifest their uniqueness to contribute to the beautiful whole. The world will be a better place for all of us and for our future generations to come.

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