Stress on the Happiness Factor
current times, stress is synonymous with hectic work schedules and an even more
hectic lifestyle. Bibhas Chatterjee gets to the heart of the matter and
meditates on the ways we can deal with this new age phenomenon
How many times have we heard of someone living a simple life,
with no complaints of high blood pressure, diabetes or habits like drinking
and smoking, but succumbing to a heart attack? Surprisingly, often enough to
make us squirm with discomfort and cause unnecessary palpitations.
Stress has become a leading cause for lifestyle-related ailments and this
is no longer an unknown fact. In times such as these, most are aware of this
fact but don't take enough precautions or steps to keep stress at bay.
Stress is the wear and tear of our mind and body as we adjust to our continually
changing environment and situations. It creates physical and emotional effects
which either make us happy or sad, bored or throw up other negative feelings.
We cannot change the situation so it is better to have a positive outlook, understand
the situation, take corrective steps and do things that keeps one happy.
Stress can have a positive or a negative effect on the mind. As a positive
influence, it can compel us to act; it can result in a new awareness and a new
perspective. As a negative influence, it can result in feelings of distrust,
rejection, loneliness, anger and depression, which in turn can lead to health
problems such as headaches, upset stomach, rash, insomnia, ulcers, high blood
pressure, diabetes, heart ailments and even stroke. It can also lead to people
taking up harmful habits like smoking, consuming tobacco, drugs and alcohol
Stress is harmful when it continues over a period of time.
This results in a regular secretion of toxic chemicals in the body, which starts
affecting the arterial lining. In other words, stress is a physical factor caused
by various problems, which we face in our daily lives that affect our physical
and mental condition adversely. Continued existence of these adverse conditions
results in serious breakdown of physical and mental health.
Stress At Work
Effects of stress is subjective and varies from person to person. People who
love to arbitrate disputes and change jobs frequently would be stressed in a
job that offers or requires a lot of routine and stability. On the other hand,
people who thrive under stable conditions would very likely be stressed in a
job where duties fluctuate tremendously. Also, our personal stress threshold
and the amount that we can tolerate changes with our age.
It has been found that most illnesses are related to unrelieved stress. If
you are experiencing stress symptoms, you have gone beyond your optimal stress
level and you need to reduce the stress in your life and/or improve your ability
to manage it. That is why stress is often referred to as 'slow poison' and diseases
caused due to stress kill millions of people every month worldwide - much more
than any other viral or bacterial or communicable disease. It causes the coronary
arteries to contract and reduce the blood flow to the heart. It is also one
of the important causes of heart attacks. Here stress management becomes very
There are many institutes that offer help for those
struggling to cope with stress. One such centre is IPC (Institute of Preventive
Cardiology) founded by Dr Pratiksha, MBBS, MD, preventive and non-invasive
cardiologist. IPC focuses on preventive health management programmes like
reversal of diabetes, blood pressure, cholesterol, obesity management
and non-surgical treatment for critical heart disease with 70 to 100 per
cent blockages, single to triple vessel disease, etc.
IPC conducts lectures, seminars and interactive
educational workshops on holistic wellness. It is in technical collaboration
with the UK-based Arterial Disease Clinic. For more information, visit
The best way to deal with stress is to learn and follow stress
relaxation techniques along with yoga, dietary management, and meditation. There
are many programmes and packages available in the market that are simple and
can be personalised according to your needs. These programmes aim to develop
and strengthen your mind and make it more powerful. They train you to relax,
unwind your mind as well as every muscle of your body, thus improving your total
physical and mental health.
Such stress management sessions educate participants about the harmful effects
of stress on the heart, and sessions are dedicated to guide those ailing to
control stress through yoga. Most of these programmes are based on individual
counseling with a complete recorded analysis of yourself along with education,
guidance and training on self development.
Yoga: Different forms of yoga, meditation, pranayam
and relaxation exercises are great stress busters along with past life repression
that help understand and release negative factors that continue to disturb our
Dietary management: Food is medicine. Every single
meal you eat is contributing to or taking away from your health and longevity.
The question is this whether you eat to live or live to eat? Most people select
food on the basis of what makes them feel good in the short term by giving immediate
taste and satisfaction. As you become increasingly aware of the power of food
in relation to health, the process of eating becomes two-fold - an act of pleasure
and a boost to your health. A healthy diet also helps fight stress in a big
Exercise: Regular exercise in the form of walks, jogs,
aerobics, etc., basically anything that you enjoy can be the best stress buster.
(The author is director of IPC Heart Care Centre)