The effects of stress on your body: What can be done about it?


New Delhi: Stress, as we all know, is a normal part of life. But being overwhelmed by stress can be damaging – it can increase or worsen the risk of certain health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, obesity, asthma, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, gastrointestinal problems, etc. Stress can affect every aspect of your life, including your emotions, physical health, and behaviours – what matters most is how you handle it.

Earlier, a global well-being study conducted by Cigna Corporation found that stress levels in India remained very high with nearly 82 per cent Indians suffering from stress due to work, health and financial-related concerns, compared to other developed and emerging countries. Recently, another survey found that the nation is inundated with extreme levels of stress.

Factors that trigger stress and tension

Revealing the the top factors for the overwhelming sentiment of stress and tension engulfing India, the ‘Age of Rage’ survey conducted by Tata Salt Lite Another survey found that more than half of the respondents (56 per cent) living in 10 metro cities in India think that they are likely to succumb to ‘road rage’ when delayed en route to work. The survey also revealed that more than one-in-six respondents (16 per cent) think that they would be likely to lose their temper at service providers such as drivers and traffic police for no apparent reason.

Other major contributors to stress were the ubiquity of social media, work-life balance pressures, and disagreements with neighbours. For instance, when encountered with trivial situations such as an interruption in their daily use of technology, a majority of individuals experience minor bursts of ‘tech rage’. More than two-thirds of respondents (68 per cent) confessed that they would get angry if their Wi-Fi connection or internet abruptly stops working and 63 per cent of the respondents claimed they would become aggressive and angry if someone unplugs their phone while it’s charging without asking them.

According to the American Heart Association, uncontrolled anger is one of the many signs of stress, which adversely affects blood pressure and leads to other health issues. To control hypertension, many people reduce their salt intake which may lead to other health problems e.g. – adverse effects on the nervous system, iodine deficiency, etc. One of the ways to keep food tasty while reducing the intake of sodium is to use low-sodium salt. Low-sodium salt is purified, iodised-enriched and has lower sodium levels than regular salt.

What can be done about it

Commenting on stress, Dr Vaishali Lokhande, Consultant, Internal Medicine, Apollo Hospitals, Navi Mumbai, said, “outcomes of unmanaged stress are different for different people. While some people experience digestive symptoms due to stress, others may suffer from headaches, mood swings, insomnia, etc. Each individual must be vigilant and monitor one’s own body’s stress triggers. Reach out to your doctor or healthcare provider to actively manage physical stress manifestations.”

Solutions can be as simple as getting regular exercise, for instance. You may be surprised how effective just 30 minutes of walking can be in boosting your mood and managing stress. Also always watch what you are eating, it is important to consume all essential micronutrients adequately.

She further added the meditation and mindfulness, plus a bit of slowing down and prioritising so that unnecessary to-do lists can be delegated or managed better. Also, ensuring adequate sleep prepares us better to cope with everyday challenges.

This stress awareness week, learn to take control of your stress to increase your productivity, boost your overall health and well-being.

[Read More…]