Stress - Cool It
by Dr Anjali Mukerjee
Eat Your Way to Peace• Eat foods rich in antioxidants such as dry fruits, leafy vegetables, banana, figs, fish, soya beans, whole grains, curds and pulses. Antioxidants help fight stress better by preventing free
Donít worry, be happyí is easier said than done, for anxiety spares no one. Everyone of us has, at some point or the other, experienced worry and anxiety: a gnawing feeling in the pit of the stomach that crops up in brief pangs, or hovers like a cloud over your mind. Unchecked and uncontrolled anxiety can even drive a person to the brink of depression. It can hamper day-to-day activities.
Excessive worry is a key symptom of anxiety. But there are a host of minute telltale signals that can indicate the onset of anxiety. Check your behavior for these:
Are you being irrationally irritable? Worries have a low patience level, and little things can pre-empt bouts of anger. A missing comma becomes enough reason to fire the steno.
Are you out of control? You feel overwhelmed with the burden of your duties and responsibilities. Itís akin to being on an abandoned but speeding roller-coaster.
Are you procrastinating? Thinking about your problems, you end by doing nothing to better the situation. Instead of taking quick decisions and swift actions, you spend your time deliberating over them. And unable to actually work on your problems, you begin to feel guilty, which causes you to worry and sets off the vicious circle once again!
Thereís no time to relax. Unable to set your problems aside, you canít remember the last time that you relaxed. Your worries cast a constant shadow over you, keeping you on the edge.
Are you counting sheep? Inadequate sleep, waking up in the middle of the night, or staying up until the wee hours, are all alarm signals.
Erratic eating habits. Either you are on a food binge, or have switched off food completely. Anxious students often complain of drastic weight changes during examination days.
Are you getting addicted? Turning to alcohol, cigarettes, or finding succor in anti-depressants is quite common among people suffering from anxiety. Anxiety also leads to irrational patterns like compulsive gambling or compulsive shopping.
Check the symptoms. Anxiety-ridden people often complain of high blood pressure, stiff muscles, headaches, and vague aches and pains.
Amongst most people anxiety is non-clinical. Itís a temporary state that dissipates in a matter of time. Clinical anxiety, on the other hand, can develop into phobias, obsessive-compulsive syndrome and post-traumatic stress. Clinical anxiety requires medical treatment. If unchecked, it can become deep-rooted and have serious repercussions.
Ordinary anxiety is a product of circumstance, and disappears within a matter of time. As one readjusts to the changed circumstances, gains control over the anxiety-producing environment, and comes to terms with altered relationship equations, the clouds of anxiety waft away. Herbal remedies like kava tea and chamomile tea also soothe frayed nerves.
Kava is essentially a muscle relaxant and is also recommended for menstrual cramps. It helps to reduce anxiety related to menopause. It is a natural remedy for stress, nervousness, and overworked psyches. It produces both physical and psychological relaxation responses. It is available in tablet form.
Kava is not habit forming. It calms the nervous system without interfering with mental alertness. However, if you are already taking antidepressants or any medications that affect the central nervous system, you should consult your Ayurved doctor before using kava.
Chamomile is a herb, which has a soothing, and a sedative effect on the body. It helps calm frayed nerves, and drives away anxiety. One can use chamomile in the form of tea. You get chamomile tea in certain shops that stock herbal teas. It is also known for its antispasmodic effect on the gastrointestinal tract. It is not habit forming nor is it toxic. However, some people can be allergic to it. So use it with caution. Avoid it completely if you are allergic to it. Just one cup of brewed tea should help calm your frayed nerves.
Your nutrition habits and sleeping pattern can also help combat anxiety. People suffering from anxiety need to maintain a special diet, which emphasizes on replacing nutrients lost during stressful periods. Anxiety-ridden patients often eat enough Ė but all the wrong foods. Refined and junk foods create stress on the system, as do sugary and fried foods. Drugs like caffeine, nicotine and alcohol do more harm than good. Once this drug-induced sense of well-being fades away, reality seems much harsher, and anxiety increases.
Sleep your fears away. Sleep gives the bodyís metabolism much-needed respite. The body gets time to recoup its defenses, and restore energy. Severe sleep deprivation can lead to psychosis. Have time in your daily schedule for adequate hours of sleep. If unable to sleep, try grandmotherís remedies like a glass of warm milk at bedtime. Try doing a strenuous bout of physical activity that will tire you enough to want to sleep. Yoga and meditation techniques also help in smoothening frayed nerves. Think calm and stay calm. Pressures and tensions are a part of life, but staying calm through them is living life!
Dr. Anjali Mukerjee is a nutritionist and founder of Health Total, a nutrition counseling centre.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; www.health-total.com;
2673 2883 / 6504 4001
Subject: Cool It - 10 December 2009
Thankyou for taking the time and trouble to help those of us who suffer from long-term stress. The solutions sound simple but when under undue stress nothing else comes to mind at the time to alleviate it. Its good to have prior knowledge in preparation for the next bout.
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