Stress is not a new word for us. Every now or then, we all have to deal with stress garnered from various sources. Matters related to work, home, relations, weather or health issues cause stress to all of us sometime or the other.
We all agree that getting rid of stress is only possible only when the matter is solved but we will have to agree upon the fact that the intensity of stress varies from person to person.
A matter arises and you start pulling your hair, biting your lip, throw your fist on table, against wall, walking restlessly in the room and tapping your feet. All these are physical signs of stress and there is a long list of signs which are not visible, including headache.
What is stress biologically?
Physiologically or biologically, stress is a reaction body organs produce at the impact of an outer stressor such as an environmental condition. The whole body reacts to a situation or challenge after getting stressed.
At the time of going through stress, the sympathetic nervous system gets activated, promoting the release of various hormones and effecting hormonal changes.
The body fails to keep up with the state for long; the parasympathetic system makes the physiological conditions of the body get back to normal (homeostasis). Generally in humans, stress is a condition which can leave an effect on an individual's mental and physical health for short time period or long period depending upon the nature of the stress and intensity of the issue.
Connection between stress and diseases: There is a strong relation between stress and sickness, including acute and chronic diseases. Stress may turn a person into an addictive smoker or bring changes in eating habits as well as physical activities.
Physiological changes are sympathetic activation, immunological functional changes and hypothalamic pituitary adrenocorticoid activation.
Stress causing factors
Stress can result into a number of physical sicknesses including cold, increased body temperature, body ache and headache. A series of stress causing reasons including job changes can even develop insomnia, disturbed sleep and other health complaints.
Age, bringing up, physical structure, childhood experiences, level of neuroticism and genetics are the characteristics of a person which may play role in that person’s ability to handle stress.
Long stress and no proper treatment can lead to permanent psychological issues including depression and anxiety.
Effects of stress on body
Digestive system going weak, impaired metabolic function, sudden body weight change, faulty cardiovascular system and poor mental response are some of the symptoms of excessive stress.
Effect on immune system: Stress leaves negative effect on immune system brining down the capacity of the system to perform effectively. Immune system works to protect body from viruses, bacteria and all unknown, strange things coming its way. After going through stress, the immune system releases natural killer cells or cytokines, giving symptoms like fever, lack of energy, losing appetite, flu and sleepiness.
Chronic stress effects
· Wound healing: While the immune system is responsible for curing wounds in the body, chronic stress slows down the process up to 25 per cent. Reason behind the phenomenon is that the immune system faces a change in cytokines.
· Memory going weak: Chronic stress is primarily held responsible for memory going weak. Some types of stress badly affect the part of the brain which stores memories. When an individual goes through stress, stress hormones are overly released and they affect the brain. Stress leaves same effect as age does to memory.
Effective stress busters
· Bath: Bathing cools down the body and soothes the nervous system, releases tension and provides peace to the mind. Mix any pleasantly smelling substance into your bathing water like rose oil drops.
· Abhyanga: Abhyanga is self-massaging with warm oil to lubricate and revitalize the body tissue. This promotes proper blood circulation in the body. This is the reason; oil massage is advised every day before taking bath.
· Foot massage: Massage before bed can do wonders. According to the Ayurvedic concepts, feet have many points directly connected to various organs of the body including heart and mind. Foot massage works as these points are pressurized in a way the direct effect is left on these organs promoting proper working.
· Connect with nature: Your mind gets affected by everything you see. A beautiful natural sight can leave comforting effect on your body as well as mind. The sight will provide natural sound, smell, sense, which will improve working of the mind.
· Practise yoga: Yoga would be an excellent idea to get rid of stress. Yoga pranayama, aasanas and meditation can seriously work wonders for your health and work as a spectacular stress buster.
· Go after your hobbies: Start doing what is left undone for long. Give a thought to what you actually like but failed to catch up with due to some apparently inevitable reasons. Sometimes it’s worth a lot actually listening to what the heart says.
· Diet: Apart from a healthy diet, choosing something which pleases you does help to release good hormones in the body. When stress is overpowering all senses, it is wise to overcome the stress with some other activities like eating good.
· Exercise: A good exercise regime will improve your overall health and make the mind strong. On one hand exercise relaxes while on the other it increases oxygen intake in the body and thus can prove a good stress buster.