HealthPep Talk

How NOT to let stress rule your life

Text By: Bhumika Vikam

Today when we look around us, all we find is high levels of stress in people who live with us and we care for. We at The Lifestyle Portal decided to create awareness about stress and how one can manage the same.

Sharing with you our conversation with Shailaja Shyamsukha, a 25-year-old Mumbai based, Experiential Educator, Mental Health Professional, Facilitator and a Holistic Development Guide.

Defining stress

Shailaja simply defines stress by saying, “Stress is an external reason to blame for an internal problem.” She further adds on, “Who isn’t stressed?  We all face different stressors. Babies stress about hunger – doesn’t mean the stress is unimportant or small or little in comparison. For the baby, it’s a matter of life and death. A child is stressed about marks and social presence – likes are important. The cause of stress lies in the thinking patterns. Stress that motivates you to conquer fears, achieve goals, makes you happy/content/satisfied is good stress and stress that stops you from exploring/experimenting/moving on is bad stress.”

Stress is an external reason to blame for an internal problem.

The issue

According to Shailaja, “To an extent, people are ignorant about stress. We walk towards a well sometimes without realizing we are walking towards it. NLP (Neuro-linguistic programming) says every behaviour has a positive intention for self. Ignorance about stress lets us live in denial for a while. If stress works for you and you are working because of stress – ignorance or no ignorance – it’s bliss.”

Previous generations v/s us

“Stress keeps changing. Previous generations faced a different kind of stress which lead to a certain coping mechanism. Our generation faces different stress – which leads to a different coping mechanism altogether. And our future generation will be facing something different entirely. It’s the change which causes stress. And since change is inevitable, humans will always stress – be it in words, social presence or self,” explain Shailaja.

Symptoms of stress

Talking about the symptoms of stress, Shailaja says, “Each individual is a completely a different personality. Each one reacts as per his/her beliefs, experiences and skills. Hence, the effects will also be different. The observation or prominence of stress depends on the visibility. Some are expressive and show emotions. Some choose not to. And it also depends on the personal space.

The moment you stop enjoying what you love, it’s definitely stress and that is wearing you out.”

The moment you stop enjoying what you love, it’s definitely stress and that is wearing you out

Causes and effects of stress

Shailaja believes, “We all have triggers – emotionally, physiologically, physically and mentally. When we will know what causes us to stress, we will be alert and aware. And with consistent efforts, we will know we are stressing even before we actually start stressing. The most undesirable long-term effect of stress on us is losing people or things we love.”

5 Tips for managing stress

Here are some tips Shailaja has to stress to combat stress-

  1. Practise conscious living – living a healthy lifestyle
  2. Indulge in self-actions – taking oneself on vacations – travel, do what you love, learn a new course, cook, shop, etc.
  3. Introspect every day about your own self- What do you value? What is your priority? What does happiness mean to you? Are you doing what matters to you?
  4. Write what you feel every day- For yourself. Write love letters, appreciation letters, pain letters, etc. to self.
  5. Paint, doodle, scribble or just dance – movement and expression relieve anxiety, nervousness and tension.
Introspect every day about your own self.

Prevention is better than cure

According to Shailaja, one can prevent stress simply by introspecting- “When you stop doing things you love or when distances are created with people you love, it’s time to stop and think,” says Shailaja.

Helping someone deal with stress

When we find out that a loved one is stressed or someone we care for is facing a high level of stress, it is our duty to lend a hand. Shailja suggests,

  • Talk to the person directly, keeping in mind to respect their personal space. What may seem a problem to them isn’t to you or vice versa- everyone has different coping mechanisms.
  • If you are confident and believe they are stressed, and they are living in denial, be firm and speak to them or advise them.
  • Let them know you love them. Show them through gestures, you support them in all endeavours.
Shailaja Shyamsukha

Shailaja Shyamsukha is a Mumbai based, Experiential Educator, Mental Health Professional, Facilitator and a Holistic Development Guide.

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Tanya is a graduate in Sociology from Sophia College, Mumbai, a post-graduate in Communications and Media from SNDT Women’s University in Mumbai and holds a Master's Degree in Journalis & Mass Communications from Chandigarh University. A former writing mentor and a seasoned lifestyle writer, Tanya writes columns on The Lifestyle Portal of life and living.

One thought on “How NOT to let stress rule your life

  • Useful tips but you know it isnt easy to beat or control stress. I get bogged down easily and hide my emotions/expressions easily. I choose to cry alone and not talk about it. I meditate but fail to beat stress. My attention span is low and health gone down. My mood swings often and I get upset/angry often.


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