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Stress It Out

by Rishita Dubey
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Stress, something I think most of us are already aware of and likely experience. The fast pace at which we operate our daily lives added to our increasing obligations is an unquestionable formula for stress. Research shows that nearly half of all adults suffer from adverse health effects due to stress where the body feels increased physical, mental and emotional responses.

It’s important to be aware of something that affects literally everyone, and that a quarter of the population regularly struggle with. It’s weird that anyone wouldn’t be when you put it in those terms, but that does seem to the case.The first and foremost reason for stress in India is the lack of awareness and sensitivity about the issue. There is a big stigma around people suffering from any kind of stress issues. Be it autism and intellectual disability in childhood, adult conditions such as depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and psychosis or dementia in old age, the world is facing a challenge in the form of stress. They are often tagged as ‘lunatics’ by the society. This leads to a vicious cycle of shame, suffering and isolation of the patients.

Two of the most common contributors of stress? Work and family – at not the very least how these two intersect. Often we think “balancing” work and family life will alleviate some of the pressure, but the issue with the term “balance” is that it implies everything is (or should be) equal. So if one side weighs on you a little more than the other, you are presumably out of balance.

Over 40% people in an organisation are directly or indirectly in the stress havoc. These staggering figures are evidence that stress is taking a real toll on the workforce. We’ve compiled a list of helpful tips and useful tactics to reduce stress in the workplace both as an employer and as an employee.

If you’re living with high levels of stress, you’re putting your entire well-being at risk. Stress wreaks havoc on your emotional equilibrium, as well as your physical health. It narrows your ability to think clearly, function effectively, and enjoy life. It may seem like there’s nothing you can do about stress. The bills won’t stop coming, there will never be more hours in the day, and your work and family responsibilities will always be demanding. But you have a lot more control than you might think.

Effective stress management helps you break the hold stress has on your life, so you can be happier, healthier, and more productive. The ultimate goal is a balanced life, with time for work, relationships, relaxation, and fun—and the resilience to hold up under pressure and meet challenges head on. But stress management is not one-size-fits-all. That’s why it’s important to experiment and find out what works best for you. The following stress management tips can help you do that.

Tip 1: Identify the sources of stress in your life

Stress management starts with identifying the sources of stress in your life. This isn’t as straightforward as it sounds. While it’s easy to identify major stressors such as changing jobs, moving, or going through a divorce, pinpointing the sources of chronic stress can be more complicated. It’s all too easy to overlook how your own thoughts, feelings, and behaviors contribute to your everyday stress levels.

Sure, you may know that you’re constantly worried about work deadlines, but maybe it’s your procrastination, rather than the actual job demands, that is causing the stress.

Tip 2: Practice the 4 A’s of stress management

While stress is an automatic response from your nervous system, some stressors arise at predictable times: your commute to work, a meeting with your boss, or family gatherings, for example. When handling such predictable stressors, you can either change the situation or change your reaction. When deciding which option to choose in any given scenario, it’s helpful to think of the four A’s: avoid, alter, adapt, or accept.

Tip 3: Get moving

When you’re stressed, the last thing you probably feel like doing is getting up and exercising. But physical activity is a huge stress reliever—and you don’t have to be an athlete or spend hours in a gym to experience the benefits. Exercise releases endorphins that make you feel good, and it can also serve as a valuable distraction from your daily worries.

While you’ll get the most benefit from regularly exercising for 30 minutes or more, it’s okay to build up your fitness level gradually. Even very small activities can add up over the course of a day. The first step is to get yourself up and moving

Tip 4: Connect to others

There is nothing more calming than spending quality time with another human being who makes you feel safe and understood. In fact, face-to-face interaction triggers a cascade of hormones that counteracts the body’s defensive “fight-or-flight” response. It’s nature’s natural stress reliever (as an added bonus, it also helps stave off depression and anxiety). So make it a point to connect regularly—and in person—with family and friends.

Keep in mind that the people you talk to don’t have to be able to fix your stress. They simply need to be good listeners. And try not to let worries about looking weak or being a burden keep you from opening up. The people who care about you will be flattered by your trust. It will only strengthen your bond.

Tip 5: Make time for fun and relaxation

Beyond a take-charge approach and a positive attitude, you can reduce stress in your life by carving out “me” time. Don’t get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of life that you forget to take care of your own needs. Nurturing yourself is a necessity, not a luxury. If you regularly make time for fun and relaxation, you’ll be in a better place to handle life’s stressors.

Most of us have felt some form of stress at some point in our working lives but according to a 2018 study by the Mental Health Foundation, 74% of UK adults have felt so stressed at some point over the last year they felt overwhelmed or unable to cope. Stress is one of the most common health challenges today but it still isn’t being taken as seriously as physical health concerns. Finding the right tools to manage your stress can positively impact mental health including anxiety and depression as well as cut down on the risk of physical health problems like heart disease, problems with our immune system, insomnia, and digestive problems. It’s time to take stress seriously by checking out our top stress management books below.

1. Learn how to live stress-free

This easy read provides a no-nonsense, practical approach to managing stress, both at work and at home. Recommended by doctors for their patients, readers will discover practical solutions to manage stress in order to achieve a healthy work-life balance.

Full of proven tips and strategies, this book will leave you feeling confident that you can handle stress in a way that will not only deal with the effects of excessive pressure on personal performance and relationships, but also with the root cause.

Read the book from cover to cover, or dip into it when you have a stress-related problem that needs solving quickly! Its aim is to deliver instant answers to your questions.

2. Success over stress at work

This collection of short stories is packed full of expert advice on how to overcome stress and perform at your peak. Each story is accompanied by a commentary, full of expert guidance and tips. This book covers everything from stress management to building resilience to anger management and meditation. Check out

3. Self-managed and coach-led stress management

There are many books on stress and coaching. The unique feature of this one is that it: (a) rests on a solid theoretical ground and (b) presents a number of scientifically developed practical tools. It can be used either as a self-management tool or as an aid for coaches. The book aims to help stressed professionals in all kinds of fields in today’s “high-velocity culture” to prevent small stress problems to escalate and show ways to reduce or eliminate existing stress-related difficulties.

4. Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers:

Regardless of how poorly we are getting along with a family member or how incensed we are about losing a parking spot, we rarely settle that sort of thing with a fistfight. Likewise, it is a rare event when we have to stalk and personally wrestle down our dinner. Essentially, we humans live well enough and long enough, and are smart enough, to generate all sorts of stressful events purely in our heads. How many hippos worry about whether Social Security is going to last as long as they will, or even what they are going to say on a first date? Viewed from the perspective of the evolution of the human kingdom, psychological stress is a recent invention. If someone has just signed the order to hire a hated rival after months of plotting and maneuvering, her physiological responses might be shockingly similar to those of a savanna baboon who has just lunged and slashed the face of a competitor. And if someone spends months on end twisting his innards in anxiety, anger, and tension over some emotional problem, this might very well lead to illness.

5.The Mindful Way through Stress: The Proven 8-Week Path to Health, Happiness, and Well-Being, Shamash Alidina

Take a deep breath. Feeling less stressed already? Bestselling author Shamash Alidina shows just how simple it is to master the proven techniques of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) in this engaging guide. Whatever the source of stress–work pressures, dealing with difficult people, financial strains, or family demands–mindfulness offers new tools for remaining calm in challenging situations and attaining a new level of physical and emotional well-being. In as little as 10 minutes a day over 8 weeks, the reader is taken step by step through a carefully structured sequence of guided meditations and easy yoga exercises. Purchasers get access to a companion website featuring downloadable audio recordings of the guided mindfulness practices. Vivid stories, everyday examples, and opportunities for self-reflection make the book especially inviting. Science shows that MBSR works–and now it is easier than ever to get started.

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