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The concept of stress remains prominent in public health and owes much to the work of Hans Selye (1907–1982), who is regarded as the “father of stress.” The term stress was borrowed from the field of physics where stress describes the force that produces strain on a physical body. Stress has been recognised as the most challenging issue of modern times. Modern science has recently proposed a concept of perseverative cognition (PC), which is continuous thinking about negative events in the past or the future as an important reason for chronic stress. This has shown how constant rumination on an unpalatable event, object or person leads to various lifestyle disorders. Similarly, classical yoga texts like the Taittiriya Upanishad, the Bhagavad Gita, and the Yoga Vashistha describe stress in their unique ways. Stress in varying degrees has become a part of everyone’s life due to a shift from traditional to modern lifestyle. Stress is a normal reaction to everyday pressures, but can become unhealthy when it upsets your day-to-day functioning. By causing mind-body changes, stress contributes directly to psychological and physiological disorders and diseases and affects mental and physical health, reducing the quality of life. Stress can be defined as any type of change that causes physical, emotional or psychological strain. Stress is your body’s response to anything that requires attention or action. Everyone experiences stress to some degree. The way you respond to stress, however, makes a big difference to your overall well-being. Stress symptoms may be affecting your health, even though you might not realize it. You may think illness is to blame for hat irritating headache, your frequent insomnia, or your decreased productivity at work. But stress may be the cause. Stress felt in your body might manifest in a headache, muscle tension/pain, chest pain, chronic fatigue, insomnia, change in sex drive, or nausea. Stress affects your mind and emotional self, through anxiety, lack of motivation, depression, feelings of overwhelm, irritability, and anger.

In today’s society, we thrive on performance, competition and perfection, which leads to an insidious increase in stress. Stress causes damage that is often underestimated, and it is a social phenomenon that should be closely examined and evaluated. Our ancestors used to say that “work is health,” but we now realize that this way of thinking is not so true anymore. These days, society and the workplace put an unparalleled level of pressure on people. The signs of stress are omnipresent, and its consequences are numerous. Stress touches all social groups and all age categories; no one can truly escape it. However, some people are more deeply affected by its consequences, depending on their personal, psychosocial, professional and health background. There has been an increase in stress and anxiety among people since the Covid -19 pandemic hit, and geriatrics, females, healthcare workers, homemakers/unemployed/retired people, rural residents, and people suffering from comorbidities have a significant rise in Depression, Anxiety, and Stress. Acute versus chronic stress. The experience of stress can be either acute or chronic. Acute stress usually occurs in response to a shortterm stressor, like a car accident or an argument with your spouse. Acute stress can be very distressing, but it passes quickly and typically responds well to coping techniques like calming breathing or brisk physical activity. Chronic stress occurs when stressors don’t let up. The roots of chronic stress can vary widely, from situations people can control or avoid to difficulties that are hard to escape (poverty, racism, or other discrimination). Because people respond differently to stressful circumstances, a situation that one person might find tolerable can become a source of chronic stress for another. Internal versus External stressor. An internal stressor comes from your personal goals, expectations, standards, perceptions, desires, etc. In other words, they come from within. External stressors are forces from outside that stress you out. A big difference between external and internal stressors is that you don’t have much control over your external stressors, because the source is more than likely out of your control.

Healthy Stress Busters: Identify important issues or events that are likely causes of stress, talk about them with superiors or colleagues and family members whom you trust or even consult a professional if needed. Face the issues and use stress management techniques if needed. Exercising pent-up energy and tension and release of feel-good chemical endorphins. Reduce workload by delegating and prioritising your work. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Avoid overscheduling. Participate in something you don’t find stressful, such as sports, social events, or hobbies. Eat right and eat regular, well-balanced meals and Get enough sleep. Meditate by practising relaxation training, stretching, or breathing deeply.

Prepare to the best of your ability for events and don’t worry about things you can’t control. Try to look at change as a positive challenge, not as a threat and set realistic goals at home and work. And learn to say NO to things that increase your stress. Positive Side. Mostly stress has very negative effects. However, when it is properly managed, it can also have a good side. Indeed, it can be useful to increase one’s concentration, it contributes to creativity, increases productivity and helps develop new skills. But for that, you must learn to control it and better manage it.

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