Mindfulness, Meditation, Mantras. We often hear these jargons in our daily lives. We read about the importance of mental health, but somehow our busy schedules don’t leave space for it. We take all necessary measures to keep our body fit and in good shape.
Be it through daily runs, gymming, or even pilates. But how often do we stop and think – what about my mind and mental health? Read on to know more about effective meditation tips to practice mindfulness meditation in your daily hustle and bustle.
Devoting a mere few minutes to engage in mindfulness meditation can have remarkable benefits for both our mental and physical well-being. If you’re uncertain about the techniques of mindfulness practice, you’ve come to the correct resource. Continue reading to gain a deeper understanding of mindfulness and to discover uncomplicated methods for incorporating mindfulness meditation into your daily fast-paced routine.
You’ve heard about it. You’ve read about it. But do you know what exactly mindfulness is? Don’t worry – we’ve got you covered. In a nutshell, mindfulness is focused on awareness. It’s all about broadening your conscious awareness and taking in your surroundings. It’s living in the present moment.
Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? That’s because it is! You can practice mindfulness meditation even during your packed schedule. All you need is – you! No candles, aromatic oils, or other paraphernalia required. Mindfulness exercises can be practised successfully by beginners as well. We have some tips for busy minds like yours. Give them a go!
With these tips, we bet you’re well equipped to deal with stress. Remember, busy minds need to unwind. So what are you waiting for? Start your journey to mindfulness now!
Have you ever taken a moment to contemplate the intricate link between our emotional state and our physical health? Consider the interplay between our brain and heart, and the profound influence our emotions wield on our general sense of well-being.
These questions are not just fascinating, but also crucial for understanding the relationship between our emotions and our heart health.
In this blog, we will explore the fascinating connection between emotions and the heart, and how volatile emotions can have a significant impact on our physical health.
Let’s delve into the world of emotions and learn more about how they affect our hearts.
Emotion is a strong human urge to express inner feelings toward others. Emotion has been defined as “sudden trouble, transient agitation caused by an acute experience of fear, curiosity, anger, greed, surprise, joy, etc.”
Emotions constitute the fundamental cornerstone of human nature and psychology. Their potency significantly shapes human well-being, as an individual grappling with emotional turmoil can encounter a multitude of psychological and physiological challenges.
Emotional stress sets off a chain reaction in your body. When you are angry, anxious, tense, frustrated, scared, or depressed, your body’s natural reaction is to release stress hormones.
Cortisol and adrenaline are two of these hormones. They get your body ready to deal with stress. They cause your heart to beat faster and your blood vessels to constrict in order to push more blood to the center of your body.
Hormones can also elevate both your blood pressure and sugar levels. This physiological reaction, often referred to as the “fight or flight” response, is believed to have developed in ancient times when an additional surge of adrenaline was essential for evading potential threats.
Your blood pressure and heart rate should return to normal after your stress has subsided. However, if you are constantly stressed, your body does not have a chance to recover. This may result in artery wall damage.
Although it is unclear whether stress causes high blood pressure or heart disease on its own, it does pose an indirect risk. It also has a negative impact on your overall health.
We frequently consider the heart and brain to be separate entities. After all, your heart and brain are in separate parts of your body, and cardiology and neurology are distinct disciplines. However, these organs are inextricably linked, and when your emotions have an adverse effect on your brain, your heart suffers as well.
The link between your brain and your heart is emotions. Fluctuation in emotions can induce different stress in your heart.
There are two types of stress that have an effect on your brain. Helpful stress (also known as eustress) can help you get things done by focusing your attention. On the other hand, Unhelpful stress (distress) can cause fatigue and heart disease.
If you have coronary artery disease (CAD),your heart may be deprived of oxygen. This deprivation, known as myocardial ischemia, can occur in up to 30% to 50% of all CAD patients. It can be exacerbated further by emotional stress. In fact, if you have heart disease of any kind, any strong emotion, such as volatile anger, can cause severe and fatal irregular heart rhythms.
Expressions like ‘died of fright’ and ‘worried to death’ are not just exaggerations; they are physiological possibilities. Furthermore, when patients with newly diagnosed heart emotion disease become depressed, the risk of a harmful heart-related event occurring within that year increases.
Managing and coping with stress can be done in healthy or unhealthy ways. Many people cope with stress by smoking, drinking excessively, or overeating. All of these bad habits can lead to heart disease.
However, regulating your emotions using healthy stress management techniques allows you to better your heart disease care.
In conclusion, taking care of our emotional health is crucial for maintaining a healthy heart. It’s essential to understand that our emotions and heart health are interconnected, and we can’t neglect either of them.
By incorporating healthy habits like exercise, meditation, and journaling, we can manage our emotions and reduce the risk of heart disease.
Remember, it’s never too late to start taking care of yourself, so take the first step towards a healthier heart today!
If you’re sitting in your room feeling lonely – remember, you aren’t alone. There are trillions of microbes – both good and bad, residing in your body. Many species of these organisms have housed themselves in your gut, probably since you were born! Find this odd? Think of them as unwelcome guests? Here’s how they depend on your diet and how they impact digestion.
Bacteria. Viruses. Fungi. Other things that might make you squeal. All of these come under microbes or microorganisms. It’s important to note that bacteria are the most well studied of them. You’ll be surprised to know that over a thousand species of bacteria are present in your body, and especially in your gut. They coexist peacefully, like happy, friendly neighbours.
Wondering where they’ve set up camp in your gut? It’s in this small pocket called caecum present in your colon. Altogether, these microbes may weigh as much as 2-5 pounds (1-2 kg), which is roughly the weight of your brain. Together, they function as an extra organ in your body and play a huge role in your health.
Every individual possesses a distinct network of microbiota, which is determined by their DNA. The initial exposure to microbes occurs during birth, and further colonization takes place through breast milk. As a person grows and interacts with various environments or follows specific dietary patterns, their microbiota network continues to develop and evolve.
We’ve talked about the residence of our esteemed inhabitants. But what sustains them? You probably guessed this one – the food we eat, especially high-fibre diets, is converted into Short-Chain Fatty Acids (whew!), which lowers the pH of the colon. This keeps away some of the bad bacteria from growing in our gut. In short, welcome the fibres into your diet.
Diet is one of the most important factors that shape the network of bacteria inside our colon. We’ve seen how this happens. Here are some interesting facts to understand:
These facts highlight the significant influence of diet on the composition of our gut microbiome. This understanding holds immense value when considering dietary strategies to manipulate the gut microbiome, particularly in the context of disease. Certain foods that contain prebiotics, such as whole grains, beans, vegetables, fruits, garlic, bananas, onions, asparagus, and seaweed, can be beneficial in nurturing a healthy gut microbiome.
Some bacteria get to work very soon after birth. One of the first occupants of our gut microbiome, Bifidobacteria, helps in digesting the healthy sugars in breast milk which are important for growth. Some bacteria help in digesting fibres.
This may help prevent weight gain, diabetes, heart disease, and the risk of cancer. The gut microbiome can also influence our immunity by communicating with the immune cells. About 70% of the immunity stays in the gut in the form of these microorganisms!
Have you ever had a gut feeling to do something? Or experienced butterflies in your stomach? These experiences clearly demonstrate the link between the gut and the brain. The microbes that live in our gut make certain chemicals that affect how your brain works.
Indeed, certain chemicals like butyrate, propionate, and acetate, collectively known as Short-chain Fatty Acids (SCFAs), play a role in the connection between the gut and brain. SCFAs have been found to influence brain function through various mechanisms, including appetite regulation. They can help reduce appetite and contribute to feelings of satiety, thus impacting overall food intake and energy balance.
The diligent bacteria in our gut work tirelessly to maintain proper digestion and support our immune system. However, there are instances when they can be overwhelmed by harmful bacteria, leading to an imbalance in the gut. This condition, characterized by an disrupted equilibrium of the natural bacterial colonies, is known as dysbiosis.
Some effects of dysbiosis, such as stomach upset, are temporary and mild. In many cases, your body can correct the imbalance without treatment. You may need some prebiotic or probiotic supplements to treat dysbiosis.
Thus, it is clear that we have a very intimate and strong connection with our gut microbiome. It is also vividly impacted by our diets. So watch what you eat to keep your gut residents happy!
Inflammation is a protective mechanism of our body. It plays an essential role in healing and injury repair to keep our bodies safe and healthy. However, there’s a thin line between protective and overprotective. Excessive inflammation in the body crosses that line. At this point, inflammation starts harming our normal body functioning. The important thing to understand is that inflammation is usually a sign that something is wrong with our bodies. The underlying cause needs to be identified.
Prolonged inflammation can contribute to the development of various diseases. Specifically within the gut, inflammation can give rise to a range of undesirable health symptoms, including chronic constipation, fatigue, and irregular menstrual periods.
Many studies have been conducted to understand the link between our dietary habits and inflammation. Certain foods increase inflammation, while others prevent it. Let’s have a look at what these are.
Weight gain itself can increase the risk of inflammation. So, watch out for these foods and your weighing scale!
To ward off excessive inflammation in our body, the best tip would be to follow a natural and healthy diet. Staying away from processed and fried foods is a good start. Instead, start adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet. It is believed that eating food rich in antioxidants can help bring down inflammation levels. This includes foods like berries, cherries, plums, red grapes, onions, turmeric, green tea, and dark green leafy vegetables like spinach.
Indeed, making dietary changes can be challenging, but it becomes necessary if you are at risk of excessive inflammation. Taking control of your food intake, incorporating regular exercise into your routine, and maintaining a healthy weight are important measures to protect yourself from the adverse effects of inflammation.
Food is never just food. For most, it is much more than that, both physically as well as emotionally. In fact, food has the capacity to do a complete 360-degree on the way you feel. Feeling down? Just grab your favourite food and voila, you immediately feel a sense of comfort. Food might not be the answer to all your problems, but it can definitely go a long way in changing the way you feel on a given day. Here is more on how foods can actually can affect your mood and vitality and help in stress reduction.
Consuming food generates feelings of satiety, relaxation, and pleasure. This can be attributed to the release of serotonin, often referred to as the “happy hormone.” Interestingly, approximately 95% of the serotonin produced in our body originates in the gut.
The gut is packed with a hundred million neurons that send signals to the brain. Studies have shown that poor eating habits (more calories, saturated fats, high sodium content) lead to negative mood and irritability after 48 hours.
No wonder our digestive health has a huge influence on our mood and well-being. Some foods that can increase serotonin levels in the body are eggs, cheese, nuts, seeds and fruits like pineapples. Exercising and getting adequate sunlight can also boost serotonin levels in our body. So, don’t hesitate to employ the ‘Good Food for Good Mood’ mantra in your life too!
Given that what we eat has an impact on our emotional state, it becomes essential to prioritize consuming the appropriate foods to cultivate a calm and pleasant mind. It’s important to remember that nourishing ourselves with good food plays a vital role in maintaining a positive mood and sustaining adequate energy levels, ultimately contributing to our overall well-being.
Here are some foods that can make us and our partners feel more content and calm:
Studies conducted in patients suffering from depression showed a significant improvement in their mood upon the prescription of Omega-3 fatty acids. Fresh fish, seeds such as sunflower seeds, flax seeds, chia seeds, dry fruits such as walnuts, and oils like soya bean oil, canola oil are all foods rich in Omega 3.
There are eight B vitamins namely B1 (thiamin), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6 (pyridoxine), B7 (biotin), B9 (folic acid) and B12 (cobalamin). These Bs play an important role in several body functions including producing brain chemicals that affect our mood.
Vitamin B also plays a vital role in cell metabolism and energy production. If you have a vitamin B 12 deficiency, it is advised to consult your doctor and get your homocysteine levels checked and take supplements for the same. Vitamin B can be naturally obtained from fish, lean meat, poultry, liver and kidney, milk, cheese, green leafy vegetables, legumes, seeds, nuts, etc.
Tryptophan, an essential amino acid, can be obtained from various food sources such as turkey, chicken, milk, oats, soy, nuts, and seeds. Once consumed, tryptophan is converted into serotonin, often referred to as the “happy hormone.” Serotonin plays a crucial role in positively influencing our mood and promoting a sense of calmness, making it important to ensure an adequate intake of these amino acids to support serotonin production in our bodies.
Green leafy vegetables and leguminous beans are high in fibre and nutrients. These foods promote the growth of good bacteria in our gut, add bulk to the stools and boost digestive health. The gut-brain axis plays a vital role in our mood, including these foods in our diet will bring balance to our gut and calm to our minds.
Now, the foods we just mentioned can nourish and energize our bodies. At the same time, they can also enhance our health and well-being. But what about our mood and vitality? The answer lies in aphrodisiac foods. Aphrodisiacs are foods that have the potential to positively influence our mood and boost our vigour. Read on to find out more!
We live in stressful times of deadlines and commitments with almost little or no personal time left to spend with our partners and loved ones. But by knowing about foods that produce serotonin, the little time that we get with our better halves can be made special with foods equivalent to modern-day love potions called aphrodisiac foods.
An aphrodisiac is any food, drink, or substance that is known to enhance sexual desire, attraction, pleasure, or behaviour. There are tonnes of medicines in the market that claim to boost the libido but most individuals are more inclined towards natural alternatives known to have lesser side effects.
Most of these claims don’t have strong research to back them up but there are known aphrodisiacs that can help you and your partner. For instance, foods such as cocoa, saffron, fenugreek can significantly improve erectile dysfunction. Let us take a look at more such foods that are known for their libido, vitality and energy-boosting properties.
Ginseng is the root of the plant Panax Ginseng. It comes with chemical constituents ginseng saponins, ginseng oils, and phytosterols that have been used for centuries to improve vitality and libido. Being an adaptogen, Ginseng helps improve the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood, which in turn helps in increasing endurance.
Red ginseng has been proven to aid in erectile dysfunction(ED) in men and also help in arousal in women. This plant-based food improves the strength of erections and is easily available in the form of capsules, powders, and tablets. While most people don’t complain of any kind of side effects, it is always best to consult your doctor before starting on any supplements, particularly in the case of pre-existing conditions.
Maca is a root vegetable derived from the plant Lepidium meyenii, primarily found in South America. Research has demonstrated that maca has the potential to enhance sperm count in male rats and alleviate erectile dysfunction in male rats as well. Maca can be consumed as a vegetable, in powdered form as a dietary supplement, or in capsule form. Furthermore, studies have indicated that maca may have anxiety and depression-reducing effects, underscoring its significance in the realms of healthcare and wellness.
Who doesn’t love pistachio? Besides their delicious nutty taste, pistachio nuts have nutritional value and are rich in protein, fibre, and healthy fats. They may also help reduce symptoms of erectile dysfunction. In one small study, males who consumed pistachio nuts per day for 3 weeks experienced increased blood flow to the penis and firmer erections. This could be because pistachios can improve blood cholesterol and stimulate better blood flow throughout the body.
While some foods are backed by research when it comes to improving vitality and libido, some common food items have garnered a lot of attention as aphrodisiacs. However, these claims have little or no scientific basis. Let’s have a look at these faux-aphrodisiacs.
Certain foods like lean meat, poultry, fish, fresh vegetables and fruits, seeds, nuts, milk, and its products are often considered to increase vigour. Foods containing zinc such as meat, seafood, nuts and legumes are known to increase testosterone levels and increase fertility in men.
The components of a balanced diet will show growth and strength in all normal individuals. Maintaining a balanced diet and exercising regularly can improve strength, vitality, and well-being in individuals.
Reducing stress can help us deal with our wellbeing more efficiently. Maintaining a balanced diet and exercising can do wonders for our bodies and keep the happy hormones flowing. Spending more time with our loved ones and trying out new foods together can prove to be fruitful for both in keeping with the popular adage that the Way to your heart is through the stomach!
Why do we fall ill, catch infections, or suffer from chronic diseases? While experts are tirelessly trying to figure out everything that happens in our brain and body, health and disease have remained a pertinent inquiry. Our body is a complex system. Different cells, tissues, organs, and systems work in close harmony to perform an array of functions.
Health, as defined by the World Health Organization, is ‘a state of complete physical, mental and, social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.’1,2 You consider yourself healthy if you do not have any known disease and do not have to frequently visit hospitals and clinics. Whenever the term ‘health care’ is mentioned, it instinctively brings to mind medicine, and one’s thoughts immediately focus on illness, diagnoses, and therapies. The emphasis on disease prevention and promoting good health has seldom been prioritized within the realm of health care.
If any or all these questions left you dumbfounded, then the whole idea of health and well-being gets defeated.
Whenever any of these four pillars is under attack or becomes weak, you need an external support to avert a collapse. This marks the entry of medical care in your life and it gradually becomes the fifth pillar of health.
On the contrary, wellness places emphasis on one’s personal perceptions of their body, mind, and spirit. Wellness and physical health are closely connected and cannot be separated when discussing overall well-being. The notion of wellness offers a deliberate approach to living that enables individuals and society to achieve their maximum potential. True wellness cannot be obtained through purchases at spas or recreation centers. The correlation between health and wellness operates in conjunction with various lifestyle factors to foster holistic healing of both the body and mind.
Conventional medicine and health care have saved millions of lives and will remain relevant. Holistic approach to health is not a modern concept but is derived from ancient traditions to achieve higher levels of wellness and prevent diseases.
Holistic health is an approach to life that motivates people to identify all the aspects of their existence: physical, mental, social, and spiritual. People need medicine, hospitals, doctors, and super specialists because they save lives.
But they also need nutrition, balanced diet, emotional well-being, physical and mental exercise, and meditation to enable them to participate in their lifestyle choices and health decisions.
By consciously prioritizing aspects such as nutrition, behavior, physical activity, and sleep, you enhance your emotional and spiritual well-being. This, in turn, boosts your ability to prevent infections and promote the healing of chronic conditions.
The dimensions of holistic health and wellness that contribute to quality of life are physical, social, mental, environmental, and spiritual.
You should be able perform daily activities without any exertion, undue fatigue, or physical pain.
You maintain positive relationships with family, friends, colleagues, and community. You can efficiently balance work-life pressures and are satisfied in what you do. You contribute positively to your organizations and to the society.
The capacity to face and conquer the challenges presented by life stems from having a clear understanding of your strengths and limitations. It involves acknowledging and effectively expressing your emotions (such as anger, fear, sadness, joy, or stress) to others in a constructive manner. Additionally, it entails embracing new ideas, acquiring new knowledge, and actively engaging in skill development.
You recognize your responsibility to preserve nature, and actively contribute to protect it. The healthy status of your environment directly improves the quality of your life.
It is that unending quest to find your purpose of existence and the meaning of life. Think beyond selfish motives to establish peace and harmony. Understand the importance of values, personal purpose, and a common purpose that binds humanity.
During this overwhelming phase of the pandemic, having a robust immune system is crucial for navigating through it successfully. Your immune system serves as your primary and final line of defense, and its strength relies on the lifestyle choices you make. A stronger immune system significantly enhances your ability to prevent and recover from diseases or infections, providing you with better chances of staying healthy.
You cannot pour from an empty cup. The model of healthy immune system depends on your diet, physical activity level, emotional health, and quality of sleep.
Here are the five ways to embrace the concept of holistic health and wellness with reference to positive lifestyle:
Acknowledge the association of food with culture, climate, crop cycle, and cuisine. Local, seasonal, or traditional, food is a blessing for everyone. Malnutrition does not target the poor and the rural people.
A simple deficiency in vitamins and minerals like vitamin D, B12, or iron is regarded as malnutrition. Today, even the elite and urban population is highly undernourished. A cookie or a packet of chips that you eat sometimes is not the reason why you fall sick.
The reasons are many: consuming more than your requirement; high reliance on processed food, ignorance about health hazards of added sugar, disregard towards ancient or traditional food like whole grains; using food to cope with emotions; self-imposed starvation and following fad diets.
Processed or junk food is abundant in added sugar, lacks essential nutrients, increases hunger levels, and can lead to addiction, as well as potentially increasing the risk of developing conditions like diabetes, cancer, and heart disorders.
To simplify your approach to cooking and eating, prioritize a diet that consists primarily of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. When sourcing food directly from farms to your kitchen, it’s important to avoid getting caught up in hashtags, trends, or influencer-driven narratives since they often fluctuate and may not provide reliable guidance. Instead, focus on consuming real, wholesome foods that nourish your body without the confusion and fluctuations of popular fads.
Physical exercise regardless of age, gender, or physical capabilities, benefits your immune system and overall health. When you engage in physical activity, you keep your weight and calories in control and keep chronic diseases at bay. Sports, yoga, dance, or gym, physical exercise in any form instils confidence, strength, and competence. It rejuvenates your body and mind, improves appetite and sleep, and delays ageing.
Yoga is an approach to live life. Yoga encompasses physical, mental, and spiritual aspects. Yoga is not about complex poses to stretch and twist into a pretzel to attain maximum benefit. The effects of yoga are deep and far-reaching.
The correct union of poses, breathing, and meditation induces structural and chemical changes in your brain. This affects the way you process your emotions, stress, and anxiety, and assists you to live a contented, healthier life.
The quality of your sleep deserves same level of attention that you give to your diet and physical exercise. A highly underrated pillar of a healthy immune system, sleep energizes you for another day and declutters your mind.
During this ongoing pandemic and work-from-home set up, some of us are bound to adhere to different time zones or work graveyard shifts. Regularly skipping sleep negatively impacts your immune system and your ability to fight infections declines, alters your appetite, causes weight gain, and increases the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart diseases.
Regular physical exercise and yoga improves sleep. Establish a relaxing bedtime routine, and try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day. Take a power nap just before resuming your night shift.
Don’t stock up your sleep for the weekend when you do your night shifts. Stick to your exercise, diet, and sleeping schedule even on holidays. Sleep is not a luxury, but a priority. It restores and empowers your physical, mental, and spiritual health.
Smoking, alcohol intake, drug abuse, and stress are determinants of an unhealthy life and outweighs other health determinants. Cigarettes deplete vitamins and minerals from your body while you smoke it, besides inserting toxic chemicals and free radicals in your body.
Stress impacts your overall health, social life, and quality of life. Actively engaging in hobbies, listening to music, and taking regular breaks from routine life are some easy actionable ways to destress. Alcohol is not a healthy style to destress and enjoy, as alcohol consumption negatively impacts your blood pressure and heart functions.
You are born with the power of mindfulness. All it requires is to stop, take a step back, and practice it. How hard it is to slow down and pay attention to your surroundings? When you experience your environment with all of your senses-touch, sound, sight, smell, and taste, you achieve the state of consciousness or awareness. This is mindfulness. Live in the moment. Find joy in simple pleasures. Accept yourself and acknowledge your strengths and weaknesses. Avoid negative or destructive thoughts. When you have negative thoughts, try to sit down, take a deep breath and close your eyes. Focus on your breath as it moves in and out of your body. Sitting and breathing for even just a minute can help. Mindfulness will teach you to not let your anxiety about your past or future affect you.
Aim to maintain a balance in each of the spheres of holistic health: physical, mental, social, and spiritual health. Eat healthy. Exercise adequately. Sleep well. Detoxify your body and mind. Practice mindfulness.
One day in the office when your senior asks about the submission of a project file, you may feel nervous, demotivated, confused and anxious, because you would not be able to meet the deadline.
This is your body’s response to the situation. Yes, this is quite normal, but what if you feel this frequently for some time? Now, that may be a sign of chronic stress.
Let me help you to understand what stress is and how it will affect your daily life.
Stress is a natural human reaction that everyone experiences. The human body is designed to experience and respond to stress. When you face changes or challenges, your body reacts physically and mentally. That’s called stress.
Positive stress, assume if you have an exam coming up, a positive stress response might help your mind and body to work harder and stay awake for late-night studies. But this stress becomes a problem when you start stressing about every situation in a negative way.
Chronic Stress is when the physical effects of stress last for a long period of time.
For example, a person has lost their job. They start stressing about finances, family, and all aspects of life where money matters. This constant thinking about what will now happen with me can make him extremely stressed about the condition.
Instead of finding a new job or applying for a new job profile, he overthinks the situation and gets overstressed. This will affect his mood and overall physical condition and mental health. It may also affect the environment of his house, because he may stay sad at home and not talk with family members.
Your body has an autonomic nervous system (ANS), a system that controls your brain neurons, heart rate, breathing, and more. It is a built-in stress response system of the body. “The fight or flight” response helps your body face stressful conditions.
You need to train your mind overtime how to react positively to stress.
Stress affects your body and daily life in many different ways. Your thoughts, behavior, and feelings are all affected by stress.
Undiagnosed stress may indirectly cause disease conditions like high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.
Headaches, chest pain, fatigue, stomach upset, panic attacks, indigestion, nausea, muscle tension, pain in the shoulders, change in sex drive, shaking and shivering, and sleep problems are common effects of stress on the body.
Anxiety, restlessness, feeling overwhelmed, irritability or anger, extreme sadness or depression, lack of motivation for work, restlessness, constant fear of losing a loved one, or sometimes suicidal thoughts are the effects of stress on your mood.
People with chronic stress make some mistakes while managing their stress. They try to manage it with unhealthy behaviors like overeating or undereating, loss of interest in activities, constant being on social media and shopping, anger outbursts, gambling, drug or alcohol misuse, tobacco use, social withdrawal, and lack of motivation for exercise.
Stress is subjective. It cannot be measured via a test or medical tool. Only the person who is experiencing stress can determine the presence and severity of sadness and stress.
A doctor or therapist may use a questionnaire to understand the condition of the patient and how it affects his or her life.
Understand what happens in the body when it experiences stressful conditions. Assume you have seen a snake in your house area.
Your hypothalamus sets the alarm in your body. This may prompt the adrenal gland at the top of your kidney to release cortisol and adrenaline hormones.
Adrenaline instantly increases your heart rate, increasing your blood pressure. Cortisol is the primary stress hormone, that increases glucose in the blood, enhances your brain’s ability to utilize this glucose, and works accordingly. Cortisol is not essential for fight-or-flight situations. It alters immune system responses and makes them suppressed and communicates with the brain to control mood, motivation, and fear.
When the natural stress control system goes wild you may get at risk of many health problems, like:
So, it’s important to learn healthy ways to cope with your life stress.
Stress leads to over thinking which might lead to poor sleep which can manifest itself the next morning in the form of bad mood.
You cannot pay attention to your family members and you might feel lost. Sometimes people forget that they put something on the stove, or some important task to do. Stress may affect your cognition and memory.
While under stress, some people have a habit of overeating, and some do not eat at all. Both these conditions can affect your physical health.
By overeating, you may gain lots of unwanted weight and that may cause obesity. By undereating, people may go underweight and that causes many health issues. Stress is one of the major causes of obesity.
Stress may affect your working ability. You might feel lost while working, or in meetings. You may not feel motivated while working, you cannot meet your deadlines; that in turn can disappoint your boss.
These are all symptoms of people suffering from stress or chronic stress.
People with stress may feel so lost in their thoughts that they may feel isolated. Constant thinking may cause a loss in any activity, and prevent any new thoughts or ideas.
They feel negative and drowning in sadness. This may obstruct your personal growth and disturb your personality.
If you feel sadness and stress and you do not talk with your family and friends, this can cause many problems; you may get irritated and angry with your loved ones.
In turn, your family members may stress about you.
Stressful events are facts of life. You cannot change the occurrence of situations. But you can take a good step to manage your mental health during these events.
You need to identify stress-causing events and make a strategy for how to react to that situation by maintaining good physical and emotional health.
Stress is a response mechanism of your body, but prolonged stress is a disease condition which affects your body, mood, and behavior.
Your doctor may ask you some relevant questions to diagnose your condition. Stress may affect your daily routine, work performance, physical health, personal life, and family.
Practice yoga, meditation, and breathing exercise regularly to counter effects of stress relief. So, now whenever you feel something along the same lines, do not hesitate to talk, or go to your doctor.
Have you ever run very fast to catch a bus to work, and felt your heart pounding?
Ever lost a crucial job and felt a feeling of fear grasp you, till you got another job?
If your answer to both these questions is ‘yes’, then surely, you recognize the feelings accompanying the events.
Would you say you felt stressed, or, would you say you felt anxious while catching the bus or until the time you got another job?
So, is there any difference between stress and anxiety, or are these two feelings the same?
Let us explore.
The relation between stress and anxiety:
and yet, there’s a fine line of difference between stress and anxiety.
Stress can be good or bad, both.
Good stress (eustress) is caused by factors like trying to finish a deadline, or, moving to another country. Bad stress (distress) is caused by more disturbing factors like losing a family member, or, facing abuse.
Either way, stress will always have a ‘stressor’, i.e., a factor that triggers the body and mind to feel stressed out.
On the other hand, anxiety may not have an identifiable trigger.
Stress originates mostly from external factors (triggers/stressors) and is defined as physical or mental tension that is felt in response to that trigger.
Anxiety stems from internal fear that gets developed by a stressor. Anxiety is a response that the body and mind give to the uncertainty and doubts we feel about something.
Incidentally, this uncertainty or doubt can be triggered even without a stressor. Genetics, personality, and brain chemistry may also lead to anxiety in a person, without any firm reason.
Stress usually goes away in short-term after the stressor (problem) is resolved and identified and managed on time.
Anxiety on the other hand can stay on for a long time even after the trigger (problem) is resolved. It can set in and turn into a disorder.
Stress makes a person feel overwhelmed, tired, or disinterested in taking action.
Anxiety increases the feeling of fear and dread, which in turn makes a person unable to take action.
Physical effects of stress include headaches, alopecia (baldness), muscle pain, stomach ache, and heart problems.
Psychological effects of stress include loss of sleep, fatigue, feeling angry without reason, sadness, and lack of concentration.
Stress can lead to depression, anxiety, or burnout if not resolved at an early stage. It can also create debilitating physical effects like stomach ulcers, auto-immune disorders, stroke, and heart attack.
As for anxiety, if allowed to persist, or, if it does not respond to anxiety management techniques, anxiety can convert into disorders such as generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, and phobias (excessive, irrational fear) about something.
Psychological breakdown is one of the most serious effects of long-continuing anxiety.
In spite of the marked differences between the two, stress and anxiety both have some common symptoms, apart from having individual, independent symptoms as well.
Stress and anxiety also share some common symptoms such as having rapid heartbeats, breathing rapidly, and getting unexplained diarrhea or constipation.
If a person starts showing symptoms of substance abuse, alcohol abuse, self-harm, and suicidal thoughts, these should be given immediate attention and intervention of psychological experts.
Stress and anxiety can both be resolved better when managed and/or treated at earlier stages. The key is to not let these problems turn from mild to severe.
When stress or anxiety become severe, they take more time to get resolved; they contribute to the development of other health problems; and, they require medical intervention.
While it is definitely advisable to see a mental health expert if the need be felt, there are other ways to manage these issues while they are mild. These are known as coping mechanisms.
Stress and anxiety are mental health issues that have several physical, emotional, and behavioural side-effects on a person.
If allowed to fester, they become more serious overtime. Hence, timely intervention and due attention is very important to prevent the issues from growing further from the mild stage.
While there are several alternate management techniques one can practice, there is no shame in consulting a mental health expert if the need is felt. Just as physical health is important and we go to a doctor if something goes wrong with that, so also, mental health is equally important to lead a happy, balanced life.
Hence, recognize the stressors, practice stress/anxiety management techniques, be open about your problems instead of hiding them, and visit a mental health expert if needed.
After all, a stress- and anxiety-free mind is the key to a happy life.
Are you not feeling like yourself lately? Has your concentration level decreased and performing simple tasks has become difficult? You are not sick but are you feeling very tired, bored, and sad for no reason? Is your colleague’s comment bothering you too much? Did you end up crying at the smallest of comments directed at you?
If you have answered in the yes to the above, you could be suffering from what is known as emotional stress! Emotional stress may sound new to you but almost all of us experience it, especially in such highly competitive times and hectic work-life environments.
Human bodies can react differently to different situations. Stress is a normal body reaction to particular situations. The human body is meant to react to stress. When we experience any type of change or a challenge, our body gives rise to physical and mental responses. These are stress responses.
Stress helps us face various situations and be prepared. E.g: you may be stressed before an important presentation in your office and stay back late to make a nearly perfect one.
Some amount of stress is good for us. However, chronic stress is harmful and can affect your quality of life. Stress manifests itself in many symptoms like headaches, chest pain, elevated blood pressure, digestion problems, etc.
Similarly, it can also give rise to mental and emotional symptoms like anxiety, depression, sadness, and panic attacks. People who are under stress for a long time, often resort to unhealthy habits such as substance abuse, alcoholism, smoking, or overeating. It is not easy to identify stress.
As humans, we go through a lot of emotions in our lives. Feeling happy, sad, angry, irritated, and worried, are a few of our emotions. However, when you are stressed, it can get the better of these emotions, causing you to experience emotional stress. Emotional stress can interfere with your ability to do things and get things done.
Emotional stress or stress, in general, may go unnoticed since its manifestations can coincide with those of any disease. Also, many times, the person under stress may ignore his symptoms thinking of them to be short-lived. But, these symptoms may recur and can cause detrimental effects to your health if not taken care of.
Identifying emotional stress may get challenging for your doctor too. You need to introspect how you are feeling. If you find yourself getting angry or sad or worried, now and then, you need to seek help. You can maintain a diary to note down how many times you felt emotionally unstable in the past few days.
The following are some of the common emotional stress symptoms which are similar to symptoms of stress and anxiety:
The peculiar mental or behavioral symptoms of emotional stress include:
Emotional stress can be managed in a lot of ways. These are more or less similar to the methods used to tackle any kind of stress at an individual level.
Here are ten ways to handle emotional stress will help you get rid of your worries:
Mindfulness is learning how to focus your attention and become more aware of yourself. It is about being more present. You must do this in a quiet and comfortable environment, away from all distractions. You can learn to feel the physical changes in your body that happen in response to your changing emotions.
Understanding this mind-body connection is the first step in taking charge of your emotions and learning how to better manage your stress. By doing this, you will understand what exactly stressed you out and how you can handle it.
People often confuse meditation and mindfulness. Mindfulness makes you aware and meditation directs you to a more calm and peaceful state.
Meditate in a quiet place and try breathing exercises for stress like deep breathing. You can manage your emotions and reduce your emotional stress by choosing what you think about, such as positive thoughts or warm, and comforting memories.
There is nothing better than some relaxing and peaceful ‘Me’ time. In this fast-paced world, we often miss out on grabbing a moment of calmness and reading can be the perfect start.
Reading a book fully engages our minds and sparks our imagination. Since the brain is focused on a single task, it reduces our stress and promotes relaxation. When was the last time you read your favorite book? Go grab it!
Walking helps you get away from stressful event not just physically but also mentally. It allows you to think, and evaluate, and if you have your favorite company along, it is a cherry on top of the cake.
Walking helps to release brain chemicals called endorphins, that stimulate relaxation and improve your mood.
Any form of exercise is good for busting stress. It increases your overall health and your sense of well-being. When you get moving, the brain releases endorphins that make you feel good and relaxed. It subtracts the negative thoughts and allows you to focus on the exercise being performed.
Regular exercise can increase self-confidence, improve your mood, help you relax, and lower symptoms of mild depression and anxiety. Exercise can also improve your sleep, which is often disrupted by stress.
Dance is an art form that helps you express your emotions. When one dances, the brain has to coordinate with the body and mind to completely coordinate between music and movements.
Dancing to one’s favorite music and enjoying it helps an individual focus strictly on the moment they are in. This aids in controlling the release of cortisol hormones from the brain, which helps in lowering stress and tension levels.
Yoga is a mind-body practice that combines physical poses, controlled breathing, and meditation or relaxation. Yoga may help reduce stress, lower blood pressure and lower your heart rate.
Hatha yoga, in particular, maybe a good choice for stress management. Hatha is one of the most common styles of yoga, and beginners may like its slower pace and easier movements. Yoga can enhance your mood and overall sense of well-being.
Have you heard of music therapy. Upbeat music can make you feel more energetic and positive about life. A slower melody can calm your mind and relax your muscles, making you feel soothed while releasing the stress of the day.
Stress causes the muscles of the body to contract. A soothing warm bath can help reduce stress as our skin releases endorphins when in contact with warm water.
Stretching and moving in the water also provides a low-impact workout for discomfort in muscles, joints, and bones.
Scented candles have been used for centuries in various rituals as they promote healing, enhance meditation and cleanse energies.
The gentle, mesmerizing quality of their light makes them a perfect aid for any relaxation routine. The smell of these candles stimulates our brain to relieve stress and improves mental clarity.
Stress is not new to us, especially these days. However, it can affect our emotions and cause emotional stress. Emotional stress can make it difficult for you to focus and manage simple daily tasks. It also makes you more forgetful. However, you can take steps to handle this emotional stress.
Similar to the steps taken for managing any kind of stress, you need to be patient and start following some changes in your daily routine. It is good to keep a note of your symptoms and speak with a doctor for more clarity.
On the other hand, you can start practicing things like meditation, mindfulness, reading books, listening to music, and exercising to start seeing changes in your emotional stress response.
Stay strong, and make your way through emotional stress.