Stress – An Eternal Dilemma

Stress – An Eternal Dilemma
Highlights

Biologically, stress is a physical response that makes your nervous system feel threatened to certain events. In order to defend, our body takes certain mobilizing responses which makes us react accordingly. Stress is not always harmful; it can motivate you to do your best. But, excessive stress, can lead you to depression and sometimes, death.

Being a dietician, I meet myriads of people every day. They come rushing into my clinic, explain their usual to even unusual health issues and crave for an effective permanent solution. But, what seems really unusual to me is some people complain they eat a lot, while others say they cannot eat, although they love eating! Besides this, what I discovered was common between them is the Stress factor.


Have a look at these two realities of my patient reported to me:


Case1: I am a student of Engineering. Despite working hard in college, at home and even at tuitions like a school going boy, I ended up getting compartmental in three subjects in my last semesters. It was so very unexpected and painful for me that I sooner got clutched in the hands of stress. Now, I don’t like talking to people. I cannot even have my favorite Dosa and Banana Shake. I’m getting weaker with each passing day, both mentally and physically. Please help me!


Case2: Last month, my fiancé broke up with me for some reason. I was shattered into pieces. I had no idea about how to brace myself in such a situation. But what troubled me more was the untempting hunger I developed for food. The only things I did for the entire month was crying and eating. I don’t know the reason behind this over consumption of food but I have put on 2 kgs unwantedly. And this still continues. I’m afraid I’ll burst a day.


Don’t you find both these cases peculiar? The ‘stress’ factor is definitely common in both the cases, but the way people react during stress is entirely different. I feel, in the past few years, the number of cases reporting stress and related issues have increased greatly. Let’s learn more about stress.


Stress and its Symptoms


If you feel lonely or isolated, or face mood swings, get irritated early, if you eat more or less and feel aches and pain…. These are the clear indications that you are undergoing STRESS!


Biologically, stress is a physical response that makes your nervous system feel threatened to certain events. In order to defend, our body takes certain mobilizing responses which makes us react accordingly. Stress is not always harmful; it can motivate you to do your best. But, excessive stress, can lead you to depression and sometimes, death.


Among the common symptoms of stress, a few of them are:


Memory problems

Inability to concentrate

Anxiousness and constant worry

Diarrhea, constipation, nausea

Aches and pains

Moodiness

Inability to relax or digest

Depression or unhappiness

Eating and/or sleeping too much or too less

Using alcohol, cigarettes, or drugs


Stress – Conquering Every Age


We feel stressed out when we are in pressure – pressure of work, exams, finances, love affairs, health, etc. This means that stress can conquer anybody, regardless of age.

Here are a few eye-opener statistics, take a glance.


Stress in Professionals–


45% of employees report that they are stressed out due to their job insecurity whereas 61% of workers list heavy workload as a reason of their stress.


- Other common reasons include poor nutrition, health issues, inflation and low income, competition at work, etc.

- According to a survey, 88% of Working Parents Suffer Stress-related Health Problems.

- Yet another survey revealed that 57% of employees in the corporate sector in India stated an increase in stress over the last two years.


Stress in children–


A report from Hand to Hold website states that even 2- year old kid can have stress. Reason can be either the fear of strangers or loss of parents leading to intense emotional reactions. They have also listed the stress level and the reasons behind the stress according to the age levels, ranging from 2 years to 18 years of children.


- The dailymail website reported that one in ten children today suffers from mental health problems that includes stress, anxiety and depression.


Stress in Women –


It is believed that women have comparatively more stress than males as they perform various roles.


- There can be various reasons – the difference in the way they are judged from their counterparts, work stress, stress of child’s career, stress due to financial imbalance, and other family issues.

- According to the Nielsen’s study, it has been noticed that with the rise in opportunities and roles for women, the stress level has also increased greatly in their lives, among which Indian women stands at the top (87%) and Turkish ladies at the last (56%).


Stress in Elders–


Stress is prevalent in our elders too. It is quite a wonder what might be the reason for their stress in the last innings of their life. But, yet this is the truth!


- As we grow older, the immune system’s defense mechanism becomes weaker leading to a decline in our ability to resist infection and control emotions.

- Stress in elders is caused mainly due to the common health issues like diabetes, BP, arthritis, etc.

- Sometimes, it can be their dependence on their children for survival or their financial concerns.


Tips to overcome Stress


To combat your stress, follow these simple steps in your routine-


1. Rainbow diet - There are 350,000 different forms of edible plants on Earth out of which we hardly consume a few. Try to break the same food you take almost daily and opt for a rainbow diet to gain more vitamins and minerals.

2. Nutrition – Increase the intake of B, C and E along with mineral, zinc and magnesium. Fruits, vegetables, pulses and edible oils are a great source for all of these nutrients.

3. Avoid Toxins – Eat only certified organic food that does not contain any chemicals or pesticides.

4. Forget Stimulants – Stimulants like coffee or food rich in sugar or fat must be strictly avoided.

5. Exercise regularly – Even a slow walk for a few minutes daily can help you relieve stress. Yoga, meditation can act as a ‘cheery on the cake.’


It is not possible to avoid stress completely; it’s a part of your nervous behavior. But, use your stress in motivating yourself and boosting your spirits.

Author Bio: This article is contributed by Dietician Madhu Sharma who is a renowned Dietician-Nutritionist in Panchkula. She has devoted her several years in the service of PGI hospital in Chandigarh. Now she runs an independent set up by the name of Diet for Life. She also writes articles for newspapers and magazines. You can follow her on Facebook or you can subscribe to her blog page.

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