Picture a scenario. You are ambushed by the approaching army troops. You find yourself cornered and in a moment’s time you need to take a decision whether to retreat for the moment or facethe wrath of the advancing army. A classic do- or die situation. Your heart beat races, your pulse quickens, blood rushes to the vital organs and your mind goes on an over-drive allowing you to survive in a fight or flight situation.
Your body and brain once more came to your rescue when you most needed it. Ever wondered who is the saviour out there. It is the often maligned and frequently vilified stress hormone at work, which just saved the day. In situations of crisis, the hypothalamus in our brain releases the two potent stress hormones adrenalin and cortisol to prepare our minds and bodies for the worst eventuality as the ultimate survival toll.
But consider the day to day situation in modern life.
You are rushing against the clock to get up, skip the breakfast, gulp endless cups of caffeine to keep you boosted, face traffic snarls and pollution to reach the office only to have the bosses fire fresh salvo at you for your seeming ineptitude in meeting impossible deadlines, clients keep tugging the very fiber of your being, marital discord at home all misleading the Central Nervous System in your brain to keep your heart rate and pulse rate high, leading to release of extra levels of glucose from your liver to meet the inadequate fuel requirement. Day after day a seemingly natural response of the body becomes the single most debilitating factor affecting your well-being and physical health leading to irritability, anxiety, depression, headache, even suicide.
Physically diabetes, cardiovascular problems, nerve related disorders start plaguing your system, taking a huge toll on your overall health.
Even a short, unexpected spurt of emotional stress like excessive anger can leadto loss of rational faculties and lead to coronary attacks and sudden deaths.
Chronic or long term stress is even more dangerous leading to constant fatigues, listlessness, irritability, depression andeven suicide. High pressure jobs, constant anxiety, habit of catastrophizing coupled with alcoholism, smoking or substance abuse keeps a modern day man in constant stress. Lack of meaningful relationships, sedentary lifestyle and inadequate sleep pushes one to the brink of an early breakdown.
The need of the hour is to take control and manage stress right at the outset. Dedicated fitness regime however less it may be, has a palliative effect on one’s nerves.Meditation, yoga, paranayam heals one’s mind internally while forging solid relationships and spending time with friends and family alleviates stress to a large extent. Lying prostrate in front of the silver screen or idling hours away on the internet, nomatter, how addictive it may be, is far too detrimental to one’s mental and physical health.
Take stock of one’s life, go for long walks with loved ones and pursue some interest which is not fuelled by need for money or power.