According to William James, American philosopher and psychologist, the greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another. In today’s day and age, stress has become an implicit part of daily life. And it is not only due to high pressure at our workplace, but also from society. Although some people believe that stress improves their ability to perform, it is rarely true; the upshot of mental strain is early ageing, heart problems, and other irreversible damage to one’s health.
While some stress is a natural part of life, things cannot always be hunky-dory in the presence of constant stress. Hence, to keep it at bay and retain your mental health and happiness, we give you the low-down on some simple lifestyle hacks that are easy to do every day.
Give yourself a break
Sometimes the best way to beat stress is by getting your mind off the problem altogether. Take your dog for a walk, listen to your favourite song, browse through your favourite spots on the internet or make yourself a warm cup of herbal tea. This hack is all about diverting your mind from your daily responsibilities to slow down your thought processes.
Eat right, avoid wrong
Avoid consuming too much caffeine. Caffeine is a stimulant that increases adrenaline in the body, and it is a bad idea to have an adrenaline rush while undergoing stress. If you cannot do without coffee, decaf is a good alternative.
Other edibles to be avoided during stress are aerated drinks, chocolates, and more than two cups of tea a day. Along with this, monitor your meal consumption to maintain a steady sugar level. Eating small meals a couple of times a day will help maintain a stable mood as the sugar level will be steady.
Consuming protein-rich food is also advisable. Hard-boiled eggs, lettuce, 10-12 almonds, a small can of tuna, and brown rice are ideal. Include herbs in your diet – liquorice, Siberian ginseng, rhodiola, and withania are a few that reduce the effects of stress on the body.
Work out of stress
The more anxious you are, the shallower your breathing gets. So it’s a good idea to concentrate on your breathing pattern. Count to three on the in-breath, and four on the out-breath. Along with this breathing exercise, yoga is quite beneficial in reducing stress. Here are a few stress relieving yoga poses you can try:
Child Pose (Balasana) – This is an effective yoga pose to relieve lower back pain, hip strain, and shoulder and neck stiffness.
Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana) – This pose facilitates accurate functioning of the nervous system by improving blood supply throughout the body.
Down Dog (Adhomukhasavasana)– Helps improve bone density and prevents bone diseases such as osteoporosis in women.
Bridge Pose (Setubandhasarvangasana)– This pose helps stretch the muscles of the back and legs, and is an effective exercise for toning the thighs and hips.
Talk it out
Talking about the issues that are stressing you out is very important. Being heard and understood by someone who cares for you, even if they can’t physically help, will reduce the stress levels. Sometimes even talking to yourself helps, as affirmations and self-affirming messages have a positive effect on the mind. Saying “All will be well”, or “I always cope, just breathe and relax” are effective methods to defeat stress.
Seek help from a psychologist or counsellor if anxiety or stress has become a significant part your life. You do not have to do this on your own, and understand that seeking help is not a sign of weakness. Significant levels of anxiety should not go unchecked. Proper diagnosis and treatment is vital for those dealing with stress.
So stay happy, stay fit, and be ready to deal with stress when it strikes! -Sumana
With inputs from Shiv Relan, CEO, The India Movie Channel