Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Understanding Stress

I believe that Stress is the most important factor in our health. It is very important to understand what it is and that will hopefully help you control it. Controlling it obviously requires help from your family, will power, and circumstances.

There are two types of stress, short term and long term. Short term stress causes the body to take several measures to deal with it. In general these measures improve the body. It is called Hormesis. The stress if it continues too long wears down the defenses of the body, and causes long term damage. There is a saying "If something doesn't kill you, it makes you stronger". The implied thing in the saying is that whatever that something was did stop at some point. This saying is about short term stress.

It is very important to subject your body to short term stress. But for each short term stress there must be a period that does not have that stress. The stronger the short term stress the shorter it should be. The stronger the short term stress the stronger the benefits will be. The stronger the short term stress the longer the recovery will need to be.

Stresses can be divided into two groups, physiological and psychological. The body is managed by the brain. Psychological stresses cause indirect stress to the body, and cause physiological stresses. The same thing happens in the other way as well. The body cannot be split into two parts in that way, so it is not worth splitting the stresses this way.

Stresses can also be broadly classified into the following types.
1) Physical - Cuts, bruises, fatigue, exercise, etc.
2) Food - fasting, overeating, toxins in food and due to pesticides, lack of nutrients, etc.
3) Environmental - pollution, infections, chemical use at home and in kitchen, etc.
4) Circadian Rhythm - Lack of sleep, doing things at wrong time, no sun, etc.
5) Mental - Deadlines, inter personal, lack of vacations, over work, worry, etc.

Stresses cause harm to the body if they continue for long. It is important to take vacations to de-stress. Take time off to do something that you enjoy. Some people are able to switch off and do something else. These people will be able to de-stress more easily than other people.

Physical form of stresses can de-stress psychological ones. ie Exercising can take mind off deadlines and other work or family related stresses.

Basically you want to keep your stresses short term. You may have to take drastic actions, if you are not able to do that, for your long term health.

Some things that you can do without changing your lifestyle much, while still having a large impact on your life.
1) Do some exercise: You don't need to do lot of exercise. Something is better than nothing. Remember, if you keep it very intense a short one will require a long break :-). So keep your exercise short and intense. Pushups and situps are good enough, and you can do them anywhere. The trick is to make it intense.
2) Switch oils: Remove refined oils, and bring in ghee/coconut oil/unrefined mustard and other traditional oils. Prefer to use ghee/coconut oil when ever possible.
3) Reduce quantity of grains/legumes: Prefer larger portions of vegetables and meat over grains and legumes.
4) Make a habit of eating curd/pickles: Reduce spices in your vegetables and replace with pickles, hopefully home made :-). This will also allow you to eat more vegetables. Use vinegar, lemon juice and other sour fruits for the sour flavor. It helps improve digestion, and better sleep.
5) Take vacations: This is very important. Relax or do something relaxing over weekends. If the job does not allow that, check if you are stressed due to the job.
6) Reduce chemical use at home: Try to use less chemicals, particularly those that you are using to kill bacteria/germs. Bacteria are good for you.
7) Sleep: Try to sleep early, and get a good night sleep. 7-8 hours is best. Eat lesser in the evening or eat it early enough, so that the stomach is restful during sleep.
8) Fast: Fast intermittently. Its easier to do it by delaying breakfast and skipping meals. Remember doing it from the dinner adds your sleeping time to the fast.
9) Get some sun, or get a Vit D gelcap.
10) Try to find organic vegetables and meats. Preferable is to get underground and leafy vegetables as organic. Avoid chicken (unless free range aka desi), prefer mutton.

1 comment:

  1. I have recently watched video about Victoria's Secret Models. It revealed a few tips how to stay in a great shape and to avoid stressful situation was among that tips. They told that it is really crucial for those who want to be healthy and look like Victoria's Secret Models)