Year : 2022 | Volume
: 16 | Issue : 1 | Page : 1--3
Vice-Chancellor, National Institute of Ayurveda Deemed to be University (De Novo), Jaipur, Rajasthan, India
National Institute of Ayurveda Deemed to be University (De Novo), Jaipur, Rajasthan
|How to cite this article:|
Sharma S. Stress management.J Ayurveda 2022;16:1-3
|How to cite this URL:|
Sharma S. Stress management. J Ayurveda [serial online] 2022 [cited 2022 Aug 12 ];16:1-3
Available from: http://www.journayu.in/text.asp?2022/16/1/1/339988
Stress is an inevitable factor in our lives and is an overheard word nowadays. In fact, life starts with stress and ends with stress. Every person experiences stress of varying degrees in his life and handles it in his own way. Stress most of the time seems useful and essential for normal life in this physical world. Scientists classify stress into two types, namely useful stress (positive stress) called eustress and harmful (negative stress) called distress. Eustress is productive, motivational, and not only helps the individuals to progress further but without it, the normal life cannot proceed. It can be understood by simple example that someone has to travel to someplace and has to catch the train early morning at 5.00 am. Then, on the previous night, he has to plan accordingly and has make arrangements to get up early so that he can catch the train well in time. Now, the efforts he put to get up early and get ready to go to the railway station well in time was only possible because of the positive stress. This stress resulted in a positive outcome, i.e., he could catch the train and could accomplish his journey. However, here is a word of caution that if he could not catch the train, then the stress will convert into negative stress. A good stress helps to put forward the short-term, midterm, and long-term goals and a man tries to achieve those goals. An individual plans his life accordingly. However, it depends on the circumstances and the efforts of that person that did he achieve those goals. If he fails to do so then his stress may increase and can become of chronic nature which then becomes a bad or negative stress. That is how stress is defined that when a person fails to cope with his specific demands, events, or circumstances is called stress. Dr. Ricky Levy in his book entitled “The Happiness Sutra” describes stress as; stress that arises when there is an unacceptable disparity between our expectations and our actual experience.
Stress also is said to be a natural defense against predators, dangers, and challenges. Whenever there is stress, our body responds to it by releasing certain hormones (catecholamines, glucocorticoids, growth hormones, and prolactin) which help to prepare our body and mind to elude or resist the danger. This phenomenon of evading or fighting out the danger is also popularly known as “fight-or-flight” response. Fight-or-flight response is a natural psychosomatic phenomenon in response to a challenge or threat which activates the sympathetic nervous system and initiates acute stress response and prepares the body for “fight-or-flight” response. At this particular time, an individual has only two options, i.e., either he has to face and fight the challenge and succeed (fight) or to have a safe passage from that particular situation (flight).
The chemicals or hormone which are released as stress response by the body has a wide array of effects (tachycardia, hypertension, anxiety, anger, sweating, etc.) on our body and mind. These effects of hormones on the body are required at the time of stress but they are continuously produced as a response to chronic stress or repeated multiple stresses then they can give rise to many pathological conditions such as hypertension, anxiety, cardiac disorders, endocrinological disorders, cancers, etc., Stress is induced by the stressors which may be external agents, environmental conditions, biological agents, or events. In other words, the events or environments that individuals might consider demanding, challenging, and/or threatening for individual safety are the stressors.
As per the Times of India reports, the stress level in India is quite high. Report says that 82% of Indian are stressed today (Times of India, February 22, 2021). Major stressors are; work pressure, struggle of life, relationships, financial stress a mental overload leading to stress, anxiety, depression, and other related ailments. Stress in the present times may be termed as an unnoticed pandemic. COVID pandemic has added more to the stress due to various reasons, for example, fear of loneliness, getting diseased, fear of death, loss of job or business, and lack of physical teaching activities. Online meetings, trainings, and classes have added fuel to the fire. There are opinions that Indians are genetically predisposed to stress. Furthermore, the magnitude of the same kind of stress varies from person to person and also depends on the stress handling techniques of the person.
It is clear that stress is inevitable for the normal flow of life and is essential for the productivity. However, when it becomes chronic and remains unaddressed, the result will be distress leading to a variety of problems: physical, psychological, social, financial, and relationship problems. When we talk about stress management, there are certain models:
Fight-or-flight response: This is also called hyperarousal or the acute stress response described by Walter Bradford Cannon an American physiologist in 1932. This is a response toward acute stress like perceived harmful event, attack, or threat to survival. In these circumstances, a person makes efforts to throw the stress by his response or finds a safe passage to come out of that mise-en-sceneGeneral adaptation syndrome: This theory was postulated by Hans Selye in 1936. According to this theory, the response to stress is characterized by three phases: a nonspecific mobilization phase, resistance phase, and the exhaustion phase. The first phase (nonspecific mobilization phase) is further subdivided into two subphases, namely Shock phase and Antishock phase. In shock subphase, the changes like hypovolemia or hyperglycemia take place. The second subphase is called as antishock phase. In this phase, after the realization of stress, the catecholamines are secreted and a fight-or-flight response is initiated. In the second phase, i.e., resistance phase, there will be increased secretion of glucocorticoids which intensifies the body's systemic response. If stress remains for longer duration, then the chemicals of the body may exhaust leading to the third phase of the stress, i.e., exhaustion phase. The third stage of the stress may be in the form of recovery or exhaustion. Recovery stage follows when the body's compensation mechanism has successfully overcome or neutralized the stressor. In the case of exhaustion, body's resources are eventually depleted and the body is unable to maintain normal functionTransactional model: Richard Lazarus and Susan Folkman have suggested that stress may be the result of imbalance between demands and resources. They suggested that it depends on the individual that how he takes the stressor. If a stressor exceeds the potentials of an individual, then it may result in stress. This theory focusses on the transaction between people and their external environment hence called transactional model.
There are many other models and theories of stress and its natural management by individuals. However, it all depends on the individual that how he perceives the stress and reacts to it. It varies from person to person and its effects also vary accordingly.
Stress Management Techniques
It is evident that there are different and many types of stressors which persons face in their lives. The response and individual natural stress management capacity also vary. Hence there cannot be a single method or line of the management of stress for every person. An individualistic and holistic approaches are required. The stress management plan required for a person may be multidisciplinary and may need the involvement of family, non-governmental organizations, psychologists, psychiatrists, psychotherapists, physicians, and moreover the individual himself. For a successful stress management plan, it is very important that to identify the stressor and to neutralize or to remove it. A person's thinking and perception of the stressor may need to be changed through multiple sessions of counseling or by attention diversion. Alternatively, if possible, the person may be removed from that environment. He should be trained to learn the alternative ways to cope with the stress. Few may need to join some kind of stress management programs may be online or offline mode. They themselves can manage their stress through various books, articles, or Internet resources. Other methods which one can follow are:
Yoga, exercises, and walking
It has been observed that yogic postures (aasnas) or physical exercises significantly reduce stress and improve the sense of physical and mental well-beingness. These help in weight reduction, increase the endurance, and maintain overall health.
Addictions or substance use has a significant impact on stress. Stress increases the chances of addiction and addiction further adds stress to an individual. A vicious cycle is settled making the de-addiction very difficult. Hence, it is essential to de-addict the person in a planned manner with proper supervision to avoid the relapse of addiction.
Chronic stress compromises the immune system and also reduces the appetite. Hence, it is important to maintain the proper nutrition, fluid, and electrolyte balance in general and particularly during the stressful phases of the life. An imbalanced diet may invite many diseases and add further to the stress.
Living the life in real world
It is better to expect from his own capabilities and from others as well. However, expectations should be limited and should not be just imaginary but real one. Because when we expect more and that expectation is not fulfilled, then it becomes a stress and cause of frustration, depression, anxiety, relationship disturbance, etc., We should try to live in real world where nobody can stand to the expectations of others. Even sometimes, a person himself cannot stand up to his own expectations. Similarly, we should help ourselves by organizing our day-to-day life according to priorities and sensitive tasks.
Time has a biggest role in our entire life and its management is biggest necessity as well as the key to a successful life. By successful time management, life becomes easy and stress-free. Reverse happens if we fail to manage the time. When planning our schedule, we should also keep some time for ourselves and relaxation. That will keep us away from unnecessary stresses.
Breathing and relaxation
It is scientifically proven that breathing control exercises and meditation have excellent effect to release stress, improve the mental peace, and overall well-beingness. These must be practiced to mitigate the acute stress or chronic stress.
Guided imagery (Quang Anh Nguyen et al. 2021)
This is a technique in which negative and disturbing thoughts are replaced with positive and relaxing thoughts under the guidance and instructions of the experts. This brings happiness and cheerfulness in the life and helps in reversing the stress and response toward stress.
One of the major causes of chronic stress is the loneliness or not able to share the feelings, emotions, or experiences with anyone. This results into anxiety, depression, frustration, and many more other problems. If a person engages himself in social activities, talks to his relations, or friends that give an opportunity to ventilate his sentiments and relieves stress. Other people may suggest certain workable, surprising, or easy solutions to the stressors. Hence, it is of immense importance that one should develop a reasonable social and friendship network and indulge himself positively in that network.
Stress Management through Indian Philosophy
In the ancient Indian literature and culture, there are hidden secrets of successful life and stress management. Indian philosophy as a whole says that in this physical world, man is born to do certain duties. While doing so one should not attach to the results of what he is doing. Because you have not any control over the results. In Srimad Bhagwad Geeta, it has been mentioned that:
One should not adopt the wrong selfish approach. He should perform his duties with full honesty, commitment, and dedication but should not expect fruits from it. This selfless attitude will help to achieve the ultimate happiness, satisfaction, and release of unwanted stress
Another very important principle is that do not bear grudge for others. We should forgive others for their wrongdoings. Once we forgive others, it brings the extreme happiness. Swami Vivekananda has also stated that do not hate others because they are also the sons and daughters of divine just like youOne should try to cover his real intellect with unnecessary desires. Lord Krishna in Geeta says that:
“Just as a fire is covered by smoke, a mirror is masked by dust, and an embryo is concealed by the womb. Similarly one's knowledge gets shrouded by desire.”
Stress management through Ayurveda can also be done by using various methods advocated in the texts such as Adhidaivik Chikitsa, Mantropchara, Panchakarma techniques, especially Sirodhara, Vyayama, and of course certain medications.
Finally, it can be concluded that a person should try to refrain from chronic stress and if it happens, he should try to manage the same success and should come out of it earliest possible. However, eustress is important for growth and success and it should be taken positively.