HealthPep Talk

How optimism can beat stress

Here is our conversation with Dr.Ramneek Kapoor, Chairman of Alka Mansik Pramarsh Foundation (Indore). A clinical psychologist and a family therapist by profession, Dr. Ramneek believes in positivity and optimism which will, in the end, help one combat stress.

Defining stress

“I would refer to stress as a mental, psychological, intellectual, emotional and physical unease to any personal situation and the expectation rose either by the self or by others to face or handle that situation,” says Dr. Ramneek.

“All kinds of stress are not bad, only the distress caused is bad. Eustress is a good stress that stimulates the adrenaline. When you feel good about certain situations and events and feel you are able to handle it, you look forward to such a situational stress which results into a morale boost and good emotional and physical feeling,” adds Dr. Ramneek.

Don’t overdo and ignore mental & physical stress

The issue

“More than 50% people suffer from depression, anxiety and stress sometime or the other in their life with no trained professional help to cope. This reflects the pitiable position of the awareness amongst common people. In fact, no official statistics from any government source are available on the subject nor has any NGO worked on the subject authentically.

People prefer living in the comfort of uncomfortable stress. The rat race takes its toll and the victims enjoy the bites of killing stress and anxiety and many other mental ailments. Eventually, the person ends up with either cardiac problems or chronic depression and anxiety which takes a toll on them.

Only a limited number of people are aware of the negative effects stress has on their physical, mental, social, spiritual and emotional wellbeing. Mere realisation that stress is bad will not be enough. We need to also educate and inculcate in them stress relieving self-empowering meditation exercise routine on a day to day basis,” explains Dr. Ramneek.

Previous generations v/s us

Dr. Ramneek feels, “It is a fashion to always refer to the better life of the previous generation. The fact is that the technological advancement has also brought with it emotional, psychological and physical maladies in addition to making life easier. The state of art technological development has brought about personal isolation, in the midst of many. The person today is cut off and alienated from the self. He/she is always lost in an uncalled for competition with the others on the social media and into the realms of the imaginary virtual world.”

Triggers of stress can threaten the mental and physical equilibrium of the body

Symptoms of stress

“Breathing discomfort, sleeplessness, insomnia, loss of memory, eating disorder either binge eating or not getting hungry, social anxiety, irritation, unmanaged anger, repeated headache, psychosomatic pains, and weight gain/ weight loss are some of the prominent observable symptoms according to Dr. Ramneek.

Causes and effects of stress

Dr.Ramneek explains, “Adolescents, working women, housewives, company executives and even professionals with deadlines to be met are always under stress. But the large share of the stress cake goes to adolescents in the modern times. With the race to always look outwards and keep pace with the demands of peer aping the adolescents find it difficult to cope with the stress. This generation is neither amongst the younger generation nor are they amongst the adults. The social media, the rigid demands on their performances in academics and career aspirations’ of the parents for them, are some of the major reasons for this generation being most stressed.

He further explains, “Triggers of stress can be any event or situation that threatens the mental and physical equilibrium (homeostasis) of the body. The events can be either external or internal. External ones can be the political, social, economic, competitive, family, academic, or work atmosphere. While internal triggers will relate to irresponsible behaviour, uncalled for self-expectations, negative attitude towards life in general, and looking for perfectionism in self or others.

The long-term effects of chronic stress according to Dr.Ramneek can be

  • Chronic sadness and depression
  • Chronic mental and physical fatigue.
  • Chronic stress related illness (consistent headache, stomach ache, bowel problems, and social anxiety) and other psychosomatic physical illness.
  • Isolating self, withdrawal, self-destructive nihilistic thoughts.

Physical effects stress can be sleep disorders, back, shoulder or neck pain, migraines, headaches, acidity, upset bowels, constipation, weight gain or loss, hair loss, loss of libido.

Emotionally the person can become nervous, edgy, depressed, moody, phobic, and not be able to focus and eventually suffering from nervous breakdown.

Accept life as it comes…

Tips for managing stress

  • Accept life as it comes.
  • Accept yourself.
  • Identify “ME” and try to become “ME” rather than becoming him, her, they or she.
  • Accept that perfectionism is a myth and utopia.
  • Follow a healthy diet plan, an exercise and meditation routine to keep your heart health and positive.

Prevention is better than cure

“Stress is a natural occurrence but taking on too much can be avoided. Relax whenever you feel mentally, physically or emotionally exhausted before your stresses break you down,” suggests Dr.Ramneek.

Helping someone deal with stress

“Stress is a personal problem but its manifestation can be felt and definitely seen in the family, friends and other areas of one’s life. The friends and family too should know that the life has to be lived in positive moments and as such the negativity should be eliminated from the life completely,” says Dr. Ramneek.

Dr.Ramneek Kapoor

He signs off by giving the message- “Live life in positive emotions, the negatives are not meant for the living.”

Dr.Ramneek Kapoor, Chairman of Alka Mansik Pramarsh Foundation (Indore) is a clinical psychologist and a family therapist by profession.

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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.

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