One can reduce stress by changing their interpretation of the situation

New Delhi, March 03rd, 2017: We live in the age where stress has become an integral part of our lives. While some amount of stress motivates us to be better at what we do and put in just that extra effort to achieve our goals, too much stress has a drastic impact on our health.

Stress promotes overindulgence in comfort foods, which are high in trans fats, sodium and sugar making us prone to obesity, diabetes, heart disease and hypertension. It encourages us to depend on evils such as smoking, alcohol/drugs and may lead to substance abuse. It causes a lack of sleep, and promotes a sedentary lifestyle. Stress may also affect our mental health, which and manifest as anxiety and depression.

In view of the fact that stress has been implicated in many lifestyle diseases that are prevalent today, stress management is of paramount importance.

Padma Shri Awardee Dr K K Aggarwal, National President IMA in a statement said that, “Stress is the reaction of the body or the mind to the interpretation of a known situation. So, stress can be managed by either changing the situation, changing the interpretation or taming the body the yogic way in such a manner that stress does not affect the body. Every situation has two sides. Changing the interpretation means looking at the other side of the situation. It is something like half a glass of water, which can be interpreted as half empty or half full.”

But, removing the known situation may not be possible all the time. For example, if your job is too stressful, resigning may not always be feasible.

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The modality, therefore, is to change your interpretation towards the stressful situation for which one should start thinking positively and different and choose the resultant options within, which do not hurt the heart.

Changing of the interpretation is what in allopathic terms is described as cognitive behavior therapy, the origin of which comes from Ayurveda. In the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna counsels Arjuna following the principles of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

Apart from counseling, one can also prepare the body in such a way that stress does not bother them. This can be done by learning the art of pranayam, relaxation, meditation, regular exercise.

Research has shown anger, hostility and aggression to be the new risk factors for heart disease. Even recall of anger has been shown to precipitate a heart attack. Various studies have shown that if doctors talk positively in front of unconscious patients in the ICU, their outcome is better than those in whose presence doctors talk negatively.”

The best way to practice spiritual medicine is to experience silence in one’s thoughts, speech and actions. Simply walking amidst nature with silence in the mind and experiencing the sounds of nature can be as effective as 20 minutes of meditation. Twenty minutes of meditation provides the same physiological parameters as that of seven hours of deep sleep.

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