No time for relaxation? Prone to forgetfulness? Poor time management? These are just a few signs that you may be experiencing stress. According to Dr Karl Albrecht, a pioneer in the development of stress reduction training and author of “Stress and the Manager”, there are four types of stress:
- Time Stress, people experiencing this type of stress tend to worry about time. They worry about the things they need accomplish in a stipulated time frame and fear that they’ll fail to achieve something important. They may feel unhappy or hopeless.
- Anticipatory Stress, this describes stress concerning the future. Specific event, retirement, kid’s education fund, basically a worry that something will go wrong.
- Situational Stress, this involves being in a undesirable situation that you may have no control over. Situations like conflict, loss of acceptance amongst peers or a presentation gone wrong .
- Encounter Stress, this revolves around people. You may experience this type of stress when interacting with others, you may not like them or feel they are weird. Also when dealing with difficult clients or customers may trigger off encounter stress.
Everyone experiences different physical and emotional symptoms when dealing with stress. It is important to understand the type of stress and its symptoms in order to manage it effectively. Here are some reasons why you should immediately work on reducing stress levels:
– people tend to turn to substances like alcohol, tobacco and drugs to cope with the stress
– stress leads to lower immunity leading to colds, flus and other viruses
– stress releases cytokines, a pro-inflammatory enzyme which can cause chronic inflammation leading to cancer, type2 diabetes and heart diseases
– it also prolongs the healing process, should the body sustain any injury
– stress does not only affect the person who is going through it, it rubs off on loved ones as well, causing agitation and breakdown in communication
Apart from getting professional help, yoga practice offers a unique approach to lower stress, since stress manifests differently in each of us. The reason why yoga is beneficial in reducing stress is due to the fact that attention is focused on the breath. Breath allows us to stay in the present and let go of whatever that is causing the stress. This does not mean the stress disappears miraculously, we still deal with the issue at hand, however our breath allows us to take things one step at time, not to hold on to the issue and not to worry about the future.
As we move along in the yoga poses, this shifts our energy and calms our senses. The poses opens the channels and pathways of the body so the energy flows freely, releasing any stagnated energy in any one part of the body. This highway of free flowing energy allows us to combat current stress and also prevents new stress from settling in.
Other ways we can reduce our stress levels is by eating a balanced diet that is appropriate for our body types, unfortunately it is not that simple. The ancient Indian science of Ayurveda has thousands of pages of books and courses just for this purpose! The easier way to tackle this is by eating more greens, fruits, natural foods and cut down on caffeine, alcohol, refine sugars and processed foods.
Having some meditation or mindfulness techniques can also help to live a stress free live. For those who are new at this, I would encourage you to explore more as there are many techniques catering to individual needs. Some people are more visual so visualisation techniques work for them, some people have monkey minds then a mantra technique may work for them. The idea is to find something that works best for you.
If you are pressed for time and a whole yoga sequence is not available, try out this simple poses to keep yourself grounded, centred and free from stress.
Even if doing these poses are not an option especially when in an office environment. Try alternate nostril breathing:
Come to a comfortable seated posture, using your right hand with thumb and ring finger bent towards the palm.
Use the ring finger to close the left nostril, exhale completely via the right nostril and take deep inhalation via the right nostril .
Cover the right nostril with the thumb, and release the index finger from the left nostril and exhale completely.
Take deep inhalation via left nostril, filling up the lungs. Cover the left nostril with index finger and remove thumb from right nostril, exhale completely. This is one cycle.
Repeat this for several minutes. Ensure to complete a full cycle before stopping the practice.
Take action now and start living a stress free life.