HealthPep Talk

How stress beats the hell out of you

Beware of stress…

By Bhumika Vikam

Nayamat Bawa, Head Psychologist at iwill powered by epsyclinic is a mental health professional.

We at The Lifestyle Portal interviewed her in our initiative to raise awareness for stress management. Having a vast experience in the field of online psychotherapy and training, Nayamat shares her views on how one can manage stress efficiently.

Defining stress
Nayamat defines stress by saying, “Stress is when we feel a mental pressure or strain in a situation perceived as demanding or challenging. A person under stress feels under threat and is accompanied by physical feedbacks from the body such as a heavy head, dizziness etc.”

She further adds, “Excess of anything is detrimental for us. Stress is not always bad a little bit of stress keeps us going and helps us do better and achieve our goals.”

The issue
Nayamat explains the issue, “We all can feel the stress coming. We know how it feels. We just underestimate how it affects us. Sometimes we take it as a phase that will pass and it does! However sometimes it becomes a long-term stress, wherein there is a loop that we get into and are unable to break it. It is this long-term stress that is extremely harmful and can cause severe health issues.”

“According to a study published in The Economic Times, it is said, that almost 46% of the Indian working class is exposed to extreme prolonged stress. This further makes us more vulnerable to other emotional and psychological issues such as anxiety, depression, addiction and emotional breakdowns. A higher percentage of marital discords have been reported among people who are stressed. Lifestyle diseases now have an early onset.

People at the age of 30 are being diagnosed with diabetes, cardiac issues, hormonal imbalance, thyroid etc. We just seem to undermine stress. Spreading awareness is the key. We all have this feeling that it cannot happen to us and we surely need to bust the myth,” explains Nayamat.

46% of the Indian working class is exposed to extreme prolonged stress.

Previous generations v/s us
Nayamat believes aspirations are bigger than ever. “There is a need to grow materialistically and a persistent lack of contentment. Nothing seems to give us joy, no matter what we have. There is just more and more that we wish to acquire. Well, nothing wrong with being ambitious but one needs to be rational and prioritise the way they feel over what they have.

Contentment is a great way to manage stress that the previous generation would
experience much easily. The means were limited in those times and thus the pressures were way lesser,” says Nayamat.

Symptoms of stress

Nayamat states that stress may surface as the following symptoms. She shares an exhaustive:

Emotional symptoms of stress include:

● Becoming easily agitated, frustrated, and moody
● Feeling overwhelmed, like you are losing control or need to take control
● Having difficulty relaxing and quieting your mind
● Feeling bad about yourself (low self-esteem), lonely, worthless, and depressed
● Avoiding others

Physical symptoms of stress include:
● Low energy
● Headaches
● Upset stomach, including diarrhoea, constipation and nausea
● Aches, pains, and tense muscles
● Chest pain and rapid heartbeat
● Insomnia
● Frequent cold sand infections
● Loss of sexual desire and/or ability
● Nervousness and shaking, ringing in the ear, cold or sweaty hands and feet
● Dry Mouth and difficulty swallowing
● Clenched jaw and grinding teeth

Cognitive symptoms of stress include:
● Constant worrying
● Racing thoughts
● Forgetfulness and disorganization
● Inability to focus
● Poor judgment
● Being pessimistic or seeing only the negative side

Causes and effects of stress

Here are some of the causes and effects of stress listed by Nayamat-
There are many triggers of stress, namely:

● Financial Obligations
● Work-related pressures
● Frequent frustration due to not achieving goals
● Not feeling appreciated for efforts put in
● Pressures in relationships or marriage
● Prolonged illness
● Not being able to deliver as per potential
● Competition

Long-Term effects of stress include:
● Anxiety
● Depression

● Digestive problems
● Headaches
● Heart disease
● Sleep problems
● Weight gain
● Memory and concentration impairment
● Hormonal imbalances
● Vulnerability to emotional breakdowns

Do the things you love and are passionate about

Tips for managing stress

Managing stress can be made easy if these tips suggested by Nayamat are followed-

Building a good support system: Having the support of friends and family reduces the stress we feel and also takes away its impact. It is always a good idea to discuss with a significant other who can understand you as it does reduce the weight from our mind.

Work-life balance: Maintaining clear boundaries for work and not working after getting back home. Each day spending some time in activities that you like and are passionate about.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle: It is elementary to eat healthy and exercise on a daily routine. One must aim to sleep for 7 to 8 hours each day. This will help in maximising your output.

Garnering positive thoughts: It important that you have positive thoughts about yourself and your life. Your happiness depends on the kind of thoughts you have.

Finding solutions in times of stress: We often spend hours thinking about what is stressing us out instead of thinking of what can be done about it. If you feel the situation has a rational workable solution, chalk out a plan and if not then drop thinking about it.

Prevention is better than cure
“Stress is a physical reaction to a perceived threat. It is upon us how we perceive a situation. Thinking of the worst case scenario is often our way of thinking in situations like these. We anticipate the worst! If this is a constant thought pattern it should ring a bell and one should take professional help. Catastrophic thoughts make one feel very low and need to be dealt with a professional psychologist or a counsellor. One would be able to see the root cause of feeling stressed, often coming from our experiences and work on them,” suggests Nayamat.

Helping someone deal with stress
Nayamat feels, “One person stressed in the family stirs a negative home environment for everyone at home. People around also mimic the feeling of being affected as they feel that is a way to show support and understand your current mental state. As a friend or a family member, we can lend a hearing ear and understand the feeling the other is going through. We often get into giving solutions or criticising the person for the mistakes made. That is not what the other is looking for…but just someone who can hear them out and empathise with them in a non-judgemental manner.”

Nayamat signs off by giving a message to our readers, “Stress is the unhealthiest way of dealing with life situations. It is not solution focused but problem-oriented, which leaves us with more and more stress. She concludes by quoting Marcus Aurelius, “When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive– to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.”

Nayamat Bawa, Head Psychologist and a Mental Health Professional at iwill powered by epsyclinic

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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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