Home > Get Ahead > Living > Health
Bust that stress, NOW
Sonal D'Silva |
January 31, 2006
Thanks to rapidly advancing technology, it has become easier to stay in touch, to travel, to hook up and even break up!
Yet, all you hear around you are three words, 'I'm really stressed'. It has gone to such extremes that people are now stressing over being stressed!
Take the following examples.
Twenty-six-year-old Sarika Pittie, a graphic artist with an advertising agency, keeps odd hours at work. When she comes home, she prefers to eat dinner in her room while watching television or listening to her iPod. She says she becomes extremely irritable at even the smallest question after a hard day's work.
Twenty-one-year-old Reema Makhija, a trainee with a public relations firm, wakes up in the middle of the night, shaken by from dreams that are always about work assignments or tasks she has to finish the next day. She finds that smoking is the only thing that calms her down at work.
Eighteen-year-old Vijay Raman, a science student, suffers from a great deal of anxiety every time his exams near. He often becomes so anxious that he spends entire evenings in front of his books just staring blankly at them.
Why we get stressed
The exact cause of stress for each individual is unique to his/ her situation. However, the following factors have been outlined as the most common causes for present-day stress.
i. High-pressure jobs
More and more youngsters are opting for the so-called 'it' fields like management, BPOs, etc. The feeling is that working in these fields will help you get the best out of life.
According to Dr Maya Kirpalani, consulting psychologist with Jaslok Hospital, Mumbai, "A career should be selected based on each individual's potential, gifts and abilities. The need to seek fame, prestige and money often leads youngsters into careers for which they are not suited. This causes a great deal of stress."
ii. Social structures
Study abroad, work in a different city, travel regularly on assignments… it's not surprising that perhaps the only place where you will find a family that sits down together for a meal today is on a television show!
Some people adjust well to this early independence while others have a more difficult time. Dr Kirpalani explains, "A lot of young people are moving away from the nuclear family totally and getting into groups which ask for autonomy and independence; however, they may not have the emotional maturity to do so."
Quite obviously, this can be highly stressful.
iii. Strive for perfection
With the amount of information thrown your way by the media every waking minute, no matter how much you tune out, some of it inevitably seeps in. Unfortunately, not all messages are useful.
Dr Kirpalani indicates this didn't come into play as a factor for earlier generations.
"Fashion and glamour are becoming increasingly important to youngsters," she says. Admit it, after reading the 500th article about how to stay fit and look great after a 20-hour work day, you're going to get a little nervous about the daunting task at hand.
iv. Changing marriage values
Scene from a daily soap: Sari-clad obedient wife is seated alone at the dinner table waiting for her husband to come home. Elsewhere in the city, the husband is lounging on a bed, watching, as his vampish mistress gets ready to entertain him.
This kind of depiction of modern relationships is so common now it has become a tired cliché. You might think only bored housewives watch these kind of serials, but it turns out that a lot of young unmarried people are subconsciously picking up on the cues and transferring them to their real lives.
Dr Kirpalani tells us, "Entertainment now depicts that every kind of marriage involves infidelity and that the roots of the family are not strong. As a result, there is an increasing notion that getting into marriage is not as secure as it used to be. A lot of youngsters now wonder what is the point of getting married."
If someone had discovered a 'cure' for stress they would have bottled it and made zillions by now. Since it is not possible to completely eliminate stress, the only thing you can do is learn how to manage it. Here are a few pointers to get you started.
~ Dr Kirpalani recommends spending some quiet time by yourself each day. Reflection and introspection for a little while early every morning can be calming.
~ It is important to have at least one meal a day with the family so that you catch up with each other and connect.
~ Take care of your body.
Not only must you exercise, you should also take time to rest and spend a few guilt-free hours in a recreational activity of your choice.
~ If you think you're becoming a workaholic, you need to slow down for a minute and examine why this is the case.
Dr Kirpalani cautions, "Workaholics tend to have a lot of issues they prefer to avoid by drowning themselves in work. As a result, they don't get in touch with their true feelings. That is something they need to be aware of."
~ For those who feel that working all the time is perfectly fine, experts suggest re-examining your goals. Are you able to pay attention to your health and family life if you only want to be at work and earn lots of money?
According to Dr Kirpalani, an increasing number of working youth tend to have physiological illnesses; people suffer from blood pressure and cardiac problems at a much earlier age now.
She strongly suggests examining whether you are able to give enough time to your body and spirit.
~ Finally, examine whether your career and personality are correctly matched.
Young adults sometimes tend to pick a career because it is the 'hot' job of the moment, or because it is the path that their friends are following. This can prove to be highly stressful.
Experts recommend you assess your own capabilities and choose a job accordingly.
While we realise that life may never be stress-free, a little cranial spring-cleaning goes a long way, so get to it today.