Stress : Causes and Possible Solutions                    by  Janice Kumar


Stress is subjective. Different people react differently to stressful experiences. Although the events that cause stress are subjective, what happens inside your body when you are under stress follows a fixed pattern which can be objectively measured. When the body registers that you are stressed,  the hypothalamus ( a tiny section of the brain) engages in a feedback loop with the pituitary gland. An incredible relay system of hormones is produced.   The body produces catecholamines or 'stress hormones'. Produced by the adrenal glands, these hormones are known as epinephrine, or adrenaline. Their job is to orchestrate the body's reaction to stress.

Symptoms of stress fall into five different categories- physical, emotional, mental, spiritual and social and are often elaborately interlinked. It may not be easy to list mental , spiritual or emotional symptoms in this short article but we can understand the physical symptoms and the effect on stress on human behavior, which can give us a good indication of the mental and emotional effect of stress on the human body.

The physical signs of stress may be reflected in the various body parts being affected. The major areas affected are the muscles, circulation and the digestive system. Some symptoms that may indicate stress are : Headaches, Muscle spasms, Teeth Grinding, Aching jaw, Indigestion, Nausea, Ulcers, Diarrhea, Constipation, Shortness of breath, Heart palpitations, Cold hands and feet and various Skin problems including acne, eczema, psoriasis.

The common effect of stress on behavior may be easily discernible. Some common features include, Pacing and fidgeting, Talking too fast and rushing everywhere, Hyperventilation, Nervous tics such are wringing hands, Inability to relax, Crying, Constant fatigue, Increased fatigue, Substance abuse, Indecisiveness, Insomnia and sleeping problems, Increased eating and weight gain, Loss of effectiveness at work, Over spending, Increased smoking and drinking. 

Some inappropriate responses to stress include comfort eating of sugary snacks, smoking cigarettes and too much alcohol. All these reactions to stress have bad short term and long term implications and are not recommended.

I give below some possible ways to fight stress. Not all solutions suit everyone and it is important to understand the underlying factor causing stress before you try to treat it. Stress may be caused by work pressures, travel, home environment, mental trauma, anxiety, depression, poor food habits, family problems, marriage related issues, the physical environment and in may cases by factors out of ones physical control. It is therefore important to learn to live with stress causing factors without being a victim thereof.

Stress - Reducing Foods: You may be able to reduce stress by changing your diet. Foods and beverages that are helpful can be found in many stores. Herbal teas such as chamomile and peppermint  have a calming effect. Foods high in vitamin B-6 like yeast extracts, liver, whole grains, nuts, and bananas are categorized as stress preventers. Citrus fruits, bell peppers and baked potatoes are rich in vitamin C, which help the human body to maintain resistance to infection when under stress.

Good Night's Sleep: Sleep deprivation is one of the leading causes of stress. And stress is one of the leading causes of insomnia. It is important to maintain a regular sleep routine, avoiding large meals just before sleeping and getting regular exercise. It is also important to avoid exercise just before sleep time and extremely important to buy a comfortable bed and  pillows. Ensure you have the right blankets and comfortable room temperature which makes you fall asleep naturally.

Unwind with Muscle Relaxation: learn deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation techniques. Find tranquility through sensory deprivation. This technique is beneficial for stress related problems such as high blood pressure, migraines, headaches, persistent anxiety, muscle tension and fatigue.

Visualization and Meditation techniques: The brain is a very powerful organ. Strong visualization and mental preparation can help de stress and relax. There are soothing sounds that can help in deep relaxation. The simple act of concentrating the mind on a single word or object (in meditation) has been found to slow down body processes and increase serenity. Learn to meditate to reduce stress.

Chiropractic techniques: Stress related tension can cause nerve compression, which in turn may induce head, neck and back pain. To relive it chiropractors apply manual pressure to muscles, bones and joints, particularly the spine. This can help in relieving a few specific stress related problems.

Yoga exercises: Yoga - the Sanskrit word for 'union'- is an ancient tradition that combines exercise and meditation. It is useful for relieving stress, and the stretching exercises are beneficial for everyone regardless of age or level of fitness.

Tai Chi Chuan: This is a combination of exercise, Chinese medicine, and Oriental philosophy. It's slow harmonious movements can help people relax and alleviate stress.

A Strong Back: Stress makes the human body mentally and physically tense. Appropriate exercises can relieve aching back and break the vicious circle. Try Spinal strengthening exercises under expert guidance. Try and fix bad posture with the Alexander technique. This goes a long way towards righting the bad effects of stress on the body. Many of the physical stresses caused by using a computer, such as back strain, eyestrain, headaches, and upper limb strains can be avoided by using a properly designed workstation. Protect your eyes by taking repeated breaks and avoid Repetitive Stress Injury (RSI) by appropriate exercises.

Positive Thinking: Fight stress with the philosophy of positivism. By changing the way you think, you can turn a negative experience into a positive one. This new look at life can help fight stress and reduce its occurrence.

Acupressure: Stress caused by chronic pain can be relieved by acupressure. An acupuncturist places needles along energy pathways, known as meridians, to balance the flow of Chi through the body. The reduction of pain directly reduces the stress related to the problem

Aromatherapy: This technique uses essential oils that give various plants their scents to relax the body and mind. Some  common oils that are useful include the following.  Chamomile is a reliable remedy for relieving stress and insomnia. Neroli (orange blossom) is used for treatment of anxiety and depression. Sandalwood is useful for tension and anxiety and as an aphrodisiac. Llang-ilang, with its spicy scent is used as  a tonic and to stir the senses. Lavender has a wide variety of uses including treatment for depression and high blood pressure. Cedar wood is useful for anxiety related problems. There are between 60 and 70 essential oils in the aroma therapist's armory. It is important to take the help of a trained expert  especially if the person is pregnant or is suffering from allergies. This therapy can be very useful if correctly applied.

Homeopathy: This is a system of medicine that uses highly diluted substances to boost the body's natural ability to cure itself. Practitioners view illness as a sign of inner imbalance and consider all aspects to a patients lives when treating complaints. This technique is very useful in treating stress related complaints related to the lower back, pains, high blood pressure, lack of concentration and depression. A trained homeopath can normally cure and fix imbalances with a few appropriate doses of homeopathic remedies.

We also recommend Native Remedies  for natural remedies. They use naturopathy, Ayurvedic and Homeopathic formulations for effective relief.

The above are some of the common remedies and techniques to reduce stress. Stress can also be caused due to numerous other factors such as family problems, marriage problems, children, work, public speaking, travel, death in the family etc. A combination of above techniques and the help of a family therapist can also help in relieving stress. At times better organization and planning at home and the family level can also reduce stress. It is important to recognize situations and problems that are leading to stress and take appropriate action. This can be done only by an objective mind, so the role of a trained professional cannot be discounted.

It is suggested that the reader understand what will work best for him or her and then research the topic further online and offline before approaching the concerned professional. What works well for one,  may not necessarily work for another.


Ayurveda treatment overview

Foods for healthy heart

What is repetitive strain injury?



Disclaimer: The article and tips are for guidance only. Use them at your own risk and discretion. We take no responsibility for any suggestion given above. We strongly urge you consult a qualified professional doctor  to find a lasting cure for any problem.  The views expressed are the personal views of the author. We take no responsibility for same. Please consult a professional, before using any information on this site. No liability of any kind is accepted by us.  



           Privacy Policy                                             Copyright -Sohum Worldwide                            Contact Details