This World Mental Health Day- which the WHO has rightly dedicated to the theme of workplace stress, let’s explore how to cope with the truly DEADLY hazards of today’s stressful lifestyles and careers!
But wait… can really stress kill you? No, your stress IS killing you. Right now. Without stressing you out further, here’s 6 ways how:
- Stress increases the risk of heart disease1https://www.medicinenet.com/stress_and_heart_disease/article.htm and other cardiovascular disorders (Basically raising the chance of a possible heart attack multifold!)
- Stress can cause digestive diseases like Irritable Bowel Syndrome that triggers stress-related disorders such as anxiety and depression- these again aggravate the risk of heart disease.
- Stress significantly shortens the lifespan of your cells! Your body is made up of cells
- Stress attacks your immune system, which makes you prone to all kinds of chronic and acute diseases!
- Stress increases the risk for Diabetes 2- one of the biggest killers in India!
- Stress messes with your body’s sleep cycles, thereby causing insomnia, anxiety, and depression. All of these diseases link back to highly increased chances of Cardiovascular Diseases, Hypertension and Diabetes 2.
But what could your workplace possibly have to do with it? A LOT it turns out!
An Assocham study2http://www.assocham.org/newsdetail.php?id=4918 released in 2016 indicated that a whopping 42.5 percent of employees suffer from depression! “Because of demanding schedules, high-stress levels, and performance-linked perquisites, especially in private sector, nearly 42.5 percent of employees are afflicted with depression or general anxiety disorder, compared to government employees with lesser levels of psychological demand at work.” The report revealed.
Cases like that of Ranjan Das3https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/SAP-India-head-dies-after-heart-attack/articleshow/5146999.cms, former chief executive officer (CEO) of SAP India, who died of a critical heart attack 4 years ago aren’t that unusual anymore. Despite being a young fitness enthusiast (He was only 42), he suffered a stroke due to the excessive amount of stress that a large number of corporate honchos in India Inc are subject to in today’s uber-competitive world. What exacerbated his condition were his sleeping hours (A super-low 4-5 every day).
Again, more an ever-growing norm than exception in present-day corporate India. A survey by industry lobby Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India in 2012 revealed that due to severe schedules and extraordinary stress levels, nearly 78% of corporate employees in India average less than six hours of sleep a day, causing intense sleep disorders.
Sound familiar? Could this be you? Probably yes!
Easier said than done, we know, but here are a few tried and tested ways:
- Sleep Well:
Sound sleep of at least 7-8 hours every night is CRUCIAL for keeping stress at bay. However if you find it difficult to fall and stay asleep, here’s a few measures you should definitely take up:
- Keep your sleep cycle uniform by going to sleep at the same time and waking up at the same time everyday.
- Cut down caffeine intake after 6pm
- Avoid drinking alcohol before going to sleep; it actually lowers sleep quality significantly even if you think it helps you fall asleep faster.
- Exercise Regularly:
Exercising releases stress-fighting and happy hormones such as endorphins and serotonin, which keep you calmer and lighter over a long period of time. Exercise also boosts productivity and mental alertness by as much as 25% and motivation by 40%, according to studies conducted by Bristol University. So cycle, weightlift, Suryanamaskar or dance your stress away. (There are countless options of stress busting exercises!) Take your pick!
- Mediate Daily:
Meditation, which gets increasingly simpler and effective with daily practice, is effective in not only fighting stress but also boosting your immune system, increasing mental agility and keeping you calm and happy! Breathe in, breathe out…
- Eat Right:
If you are prone to stress and anxiety, there are various foods that can help you get rid of that jittery feeling. Munch dark chocolate, sip green tea, drink milk or even pop some Popeye food! Yes, the leafy greens in your sumptuous palak paneer help you stay calm while keeping your iron intake game strong! Let Spinach set sail your stress ashore!
- Cut Vices:
This not only includes the usual suspects such as tobacco, alcohol and drugs but also junk food and refined sugar! The latter two can be lethal because they act as significant triggers to various dangerous conditions such as Diabetes, obesity, hypertension, heart disease and anxiety. Yes, those crunchy potato chips are killing you with each bite! And they are right! (No-one can eat just one, because of its addictive ingredients that are scientifically created to get you to crave more and more.)
- Think Positive:
Just like meditation, this habit gets better with practice. Why is it one that is definitely worth acquiring? Various studies show that optimists enjoy better coping mechanisms when faced with stress, have much stronger immunity, and tend to be emotionally, mentally and physically healthier! Say cheers to a cup half full and you’ll soon see the cup of your life overflowing!
- Have Sex:
Ensure that you have a healthy sex life. Sex boosts your overall mood, reduces stress levels, and helps you sleep better. So much easier to get the zzzs after some xxxs 🙂 After all, there is a reason for the All Work, No Play adage! Just Play Safe! This World Mental Health Day, 10th October 2017, let’s all vow to make an effort to be more lighthearted. But in keeping with the spirit, let’s not stress over it too much 🙂
Also, if you think your stress levels are unmanageable, consult a doctor without delay.
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