Stress can be termed as a condition of extreme physical and emotional strain. It is usually characterized by a stage of alarm, where the production of the adrenaline hormone is increased to prepare the body to respond to the situation. Adrenaline and other stress hormones increase the heart rate, breathing rate, blood pressure, and metabolism, and thereby prepare the body to cope with stress.
However, this state of heightened excitement cannot be maintained for a long time, and therefore, when all the resources of the body are depleted, the person usually feels exhausted. This natural process of handling stress is known as stress response. An overactivation of this natural process can exhaust an individual, and give rise to problems, like headaches, insomnia, inability to concentrate, irritability, depression, etc.
Ways to Get Rid of Stress
The way an individual copes with stress depends on a number of factors, like nutritional status, overall health and fitness, emotional well-being, and the amount of sleep and rest. A healthy individual can cope with stress in a better way than a mentally and physically weak individual. De-stressing methods at work can include simple exercises like deep breathing. Yoga and meditation, muscle relaxation, and other types of exercises can also strengthen your body and mind, so that they can overcome a stressful situation.
Deep breathing is a simple exercise that can be learned easily. Another advantage is that you can practice it anywhere. Just sit down in a comfortable position keeping your back, shoulder, and the neck straight. Then breath deeply, inhaling as much air as possible through the nose, followed by a forceful exhalation through the mouth. Breathing deeply from the stomach allows us to draw comparatively more oxygen than usual breathing, which in turn, can cut down the level of tension and stress.
Muscle relaxation is another way to relax your body and mind. Muscle relaxation can be done either by sitting or lying down in a comfortable position. You can take deep breaths for a few minutes to prepare your body, and then start with your right foot. Focus your attention on your right foot, and squeeze it tightly for a few seconds. Then relax this foot and shift your attention to the other foot, i.e., the left foot.
Now, squeeze your left foot similarly for a few seconds before allowing it to relax. In this way, slowly work on other parts of the body. Usually, muscle relaxation is started on the right foot, followed by the left foot, and then one has to move progressively upward. The usual sequence of this exercise is right foot, left foot, right calf, left calf, right thigh, left thigh, hips, and then you have to continue moving upwards from the buttock till you reach the face.
Yoga and Meditation
Yoga and meditation are an integral part of Hindu discipline, and they basically aim at promoting mental and physical well-being. Yoga is an effective way to restore mental and emotional stability. There are several types of yoga, like hatha, kundalini, and asthanga. A beginner should start with a simple yoga, and then try the more complex ones gradually. Along with deep breathing, yoga and meditation can effectively manage the level of stress and anxiety.
Exercises are usually known to promote physical fitness and health. However, they can prove quite beneficial in reducing the level of stress and anxiety as well, as a healthy individual can always cope with stress in a better way. It has been found that stretching exercises can lower the level of the stress hormones. Aerobic exercises are great for increasing the heart rate and relieving stress. Even activities, like walking, cycling, jogging, or playing games can help an individual manage stress and anxiety.
However, the most crucial point in stress management is the identification of the factors that cause stress. It is not as easy as it sounds, as some of these factors may not be obvious, or we simply ignore them as trifles. Secondly, a healthy and balanced diet and adequate sleep or rest are also of vital importance in stress management. But one should abstain from using the unhealthy ways, such as smoking, and alcohol and drug abuse, in order to cope with stress.
Disclaimer: This WellnessKeen article is for informative purposes only, and should not be replaced for the advice of a medical professional.