WOW | Mental Health

STRESS AND ITS MANAGEMENT

What is stress
Stress is physical, mental or emotional strain or tension. It is a specific response of the body to a stimulus – as fear or pain – that disturbs or interferes with the normal physiological equilibrium.

What causes stress?
Stressors such as:
Any event, experience or environmental stimulus. These events or experiences are perceived as threats or challenges to the individual and can be either physical or psychological. Thus stress can directly or indirectly contribute to general or specific disorders of body and mind (high blood pressure, heart disease, anxiety).

Types of Stressors:
• Basic Stress – daily minor stresses leading to tension, frustration, irritation, anger.
• Cumulative Stress – too often (frequency), lasts too long (duration), too severe (intensity)
• Traumatic Stress – single, sudden and violent assault which harms or threatens an individual or someone close to him/her physically and/or psychologically.
• PTSD

Coping Strategy:
• In psychology, coping is expending conscious effort to solve personal and interpersonal problems, and seeking to master, minimise or tolerate stress or conflict.
• The effectiveness of the coping effort depend on the type of stress and/or conflict, the particular individual, and the circumstances.

Stress Management:
Stress is a routine expectation in everyday events. With successful stress management strategies, most people can overcome or at least minimise their stress levels to a significant extent.
Effective stress management is all about taking change of your lifestyle, emotions, thoughts and the approaches you take to cope with problems.

Understand how you stress:
Everyone experiences stress differently. How are your thoughts and/or behaviors different from times when you do not feel stressed.

Identify your sources of stress:
• What events or situations trigger stressful feelings?
• Family, health, children , job, relationship

Learn your own stress signals:
• People experience stress in different ways
• Difficulty in concentration/decision making
• Irritability, headache
• Muscle tension, lack of energy

Recognise how you deal with stress:
• Determine if you are using unhealthy behaviours to cope with stress.
• Smoking, drinking alcohol, under/over eating.

Find healthy ways to manage with stress:
• Consider healthy stress reducing activities
• Practice meditation/ yoga/ regular physical activity

Take care of yourself:
• Eat a balanced diet
• Drink plenty of water
• Get enough sleep
• Engage yourself in regular physical activity

Reach out for support:
• Accepting help from friends and family can improve your ability to manage stress.
• If you are burn out, do not hesitate to seek professional help.

Natural ways to manage stress:
• Meditation
• Exercise/Yoga
• Aromatherapy
• Bath
• Massage
• Herbal teas
• A good night’s sleep
• Balanced diet
• Humour, laughter therapy.


Dr. Ajit Kumar Gurung, MD; DPM has been working as a consultant psychiatrist since the last 16 years. He is Psychiatrist Consultant at Norvic International Hospital; Head of Department and Senior Consultant Psychiatrist at Department of Psychiatry, Nepal Police Hospital; and Consultant for Alcohol and Drug Rehabilitation Centre ‘Ashara’.