Category Archives: Stress

Stress and Anxiety in Children

Children are the purest form of innocence, truth, beauty… and one of the best creations on the Earth. Without children our lives would have been colorless and lifeless. Childhood is the most fascinating phases of human life. Starting from the babbling of a baby to the happy chuckles of a toddler; children make the world more bright and bountiful.

However, in the weary dreary world of today, your tiny tots are becoming the innocent victims of the rat race of competition, zooming fast-paced lifestyle, demands of successful living and the changing societal norms. The way children are oscillating between a competitive world and the environment encircling them, is making them fall prey to many physical and psychological ailments. Among them, the most common problems are Childhood Stress and Anxiety. The lifetime prevalence rate of Childhood Anxiety is about 25.1%. The number is still increasing at an alarming rate. Owing to this, I would be discussing about the technical know-how of childhood stress and anxiety so that you can save your child from the clutches of these problems and suffering.

Causes of Childhood Stress and Anxiety

  • Genetic effects
  • Environmental factors
  • Competition and thriving towards achievement
  • Parental expectations
  • Parental conflicts
  • Peer pressure, and pressure from academic staff
  • Hormonal changes, life transition and lifestyle patterns
  • Need for self-development, self-concept, self-esteem and striving to come at par with the norms and roles of the society.

Problems caused due to Stress and Anxiety in Children

  • Poor performance in academic activities
  • Social withdrawal and need to stay isolated
  • Physical discomfort in the form of palpitations, sweating, frequent urination, trembling, speech anxiety,nightmares,  bed-wetting, panic attacks, disturbed sleep, diet changes, etc.
  • Lack of concentration and focus, problems in memory and complex cognitive skills like decision-making, etc.
  • Depression and suicidal ideations/attempts
  • Lack of self-esteem and confidence
  • Lack of emotional bonding with parents, relatives or care-givers or children may become more panicky and clingy on the flip side.

Children are like sponge soaked in water. They are very sensitive towards their surroundings and easily soak what is said or done to them. That is why, it is very necessary to bring up your children in the most delicate yet effective manner so that they don’t fall prey to the childhood psychological ailments. They have their entire future in front of them. So let us all build our children’s lives in such a way that they can reap a beautiful and meaningful future ahead.

If you want to know more about positive parenting and how to build your child’s life so that your lil’ champ leads a happy, healthy and fulfilling life… then check out my next blog folks!!!

Best wishes,

Sareeta

Exploring Meditation: Methods and Benefits

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Do you know, in some degree we all meditate in some or the other form? However, we do not realize because we do not know much about it. I can see that there are still a lot of doubts related to meditation. This motivated me to write a blog post on it and tell you the meaning, methods and powerful effects of meditation.

Meditation is a mode of elevating yourself, uniting yourself with a higher entity. Meditation is a higher cognitive function that works both on the micro and macrocosmic aspects of life. In meditation there has to be an object/subject on which you can focus all your attention.

Benefits of meditation:

  • Relieves stress, anxiety, depression, etc
  • Improves memory
  • Improves attention and concentration
  • Enhances physical and psychological well-being
  • Prevents many diseases, keeps several ailments at bay
  • Keeps mind calm and composed
  • Enlightens knowledge and wisdom
  • Relaxes, rejoices and rejuvenates

Some of the effective types of meditation:

  • Meditation of the Sun: Visualize the golden rising sun in the middle of your brows, known as the Ajna Chakra. Feel that the golden rays of the sun is cleansing your body, mind and spirit and filling you up with vital energies. Take deep breaths and follow the Pranic breathing technique. That is, with every exhalation imagine that all the negative vibes, bad thoughts, ill-health within you is coming out in the form of black smoke. And while inhalations imagine that you are breathing in vital life forces, good/positive energies, success, happiness and contentment. Since the sun is hot in nature meditating with the sun as the object of meditation fills you with motivation, life force and takes you to the higher planes of living.
  • Meditation of the moon: Just like the sun meditation, you have to imagine the moon in the middle of the brows and imagine that the soothing rays of the moon are filling up your body, mind and spirit. The moon stands for creativity, intelligence, soothing and relaxing properties and cooling effect. The same pranic form of breathing is to be followed in this form of meditation also. Both the forms of meditation of the sun and the moon should be practiced daily. Without one, the other is incomplete. Both the meditation processes have a balancing effect on the body, mind and spirit. Therefore it is necessary to practice both of them in a given day.
  • Meditating on a point: Meditating on a point drastically improves concentration, attention and memory. Doing this is quite easy too. All you have to do is draw a small circle in the middle of a plain paper, stick that paper at some distance. Then you need to take a deep breath and keep gazing at the circle continuously for some time without blinking your eyes. Simple, right?
  • Meditation with music: This is one of the most effective forms of meditation. This works best particularly when there is a lot of noise around you or within you. In this form, you need to play music while meditating. If you want you can use your favorite music in the background. Otherwise, I would recommend different forms of music like soft instrumental, melodies of chirping birds, sounds of purling rivers, roaring waves, drizzling rain, and other natural sounds. You can find a wide variety of them from online sources or music stores.

Some helpful tips to meditate:

  • Wear light clothing while meditating
  • If possible meditate in an area where you can get fresh air
  • Do it regularly to reap optimum results
  • You can mentally repeat self-positive-suggestion to make it even more effectual
  • Meditation done early morning and before going to bed works best
  • Meditation can be combined with soothing music, dim light and aroma as well

So friends happy meditating!

Best Wishes,

Sareeta

How to de-stress your stress

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In the generic sense of the term, stress refers to “a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances.” Stress can victimize any one in any age group in any form. Our family, education, profession, environment, culture, society…anything can be the cause of stress.

Some facts about stress:

  • A little amount of stress is necessary for every living organism as it motivates it towards fruitful actions.
  • Stress is one of the most common mental health problem found in almost every age group.
  • Stress is of 4 basic types: Eustress, Distress, Hyperstress and Hypostress.

Stress

How to De-stress your Stress:

Stress and depression are considered to be the “common cold” of mental health issues. As in, they are very common. With a little effort, stress can be managed and rooted out. Here are some of the effective and easy ways of dealing with stress:

  1. Psycho-education on Stress: First get to know what stress is, and then educate or build insight on what is causing the stress.
  2. Motivation: Before starting to de-stress yourself, you need to be motivated enough. Try reflecting on why you would need to lead a stress-free life and how important it is to root out stress from your life.
  3. Deep Breathing: Stress brings a lot of physical discomfort and mental tension with itself. Deep breathing helps a lot to stabilize these conditions up to a remarkable extent.
  4. Behavior therapy or Behavior Charting: Try to chalk out or chart out the key factors that may be causing or aggravating stress. Sometimes the buffer circuits to your stress lies within yourself only. So try to recognize and change any maladaptive behavior within yourself that would be catering to stress.
  5. Thought Restructuring: Negative thinking, fearful thoughts, etc are some of the common culprits leading to stress. So try to fill your thought clouds with more positive charges.
  6. Affirmations: Giving yourself positive self-affirmations.
  7. Meditation: One of the most effective ways of dealing with stress. It re-energizes your body, mind and refines your soul.
  8. Music therapy: Listening to music or singing your favorite tune, playing a musical instrument or hearing the sounds of nature…Music can be amazingly effective in stress reduction.
  9. Massage therapy: Pampering yourself with a Swedish massage, Sihastu Massage or simply self-massage can de-stress you to a maximum extent.
  10. Other techniques: Walking, hobbies, pets, journaling, socializing, and so on.

Stress is not what happens to us.
It’s our response TO what happens.
And RESPONSE is something we can choose.
– Maureen Killoran

Best Wishes,

Sareeta

 

Nature’s healing power

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When I used to work as a counselor for People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIVs), my work was very challenging. Day in and day out my working hours were filled with seeing affected people, watching adults and children die of AIDS, counseling the affected ones and their care-givers, and at the same time I had my own office-related challenging work, seminars, documentations, and so on. Well, the work was endless as well as both physically and emotionally straining. Close to my office was a sea shore. The shore was a rocky one and I could see strong waves lashing the rocks from dawn to dusk. Watching that scene empowered me a lot. Do you know what I used to think? One should be as strong as those rocks. No matter how hard the wave of a challenging situation strikes, we should have all the gut to face it, tear it into pieces and stand strong!

This reflects how helpful and nurturing, empowering and motivating Mother Nature can be for me, for you and for everyone dwelling on this planet. It is true that you may be engrossed or grueling in your daily routine work, personal life, profession, education and so on. But, if you sneak out into the lap of nature for some time…you can find great relief from the stressors and pressures you are facing. All you need is the senses to sense it and wisdom to understand and reflect upon it. Here is how nature acts as a natural healer for different mental health problems and agonies:

Nature of Therapy Source Benefits
 Music Therapy Chirping birds, sounds of waves, purling rivers, hustling ‘n’ bustling leaves, sound of a waterfall, drizzling rain, etc Mental peace and solace, meditative benefits, concentration and memory, helpful in dealing with stress and depression
Color Therapy Colors of lush green trees, grasslands, flowers, fauna, rainbow, changing hues of the sky etc Aesthetic sense, visual perception, de-stress therapy, mood stabilizer, concentration, memory, and helps in depression, anxiety and fears
Aroma Therapy  Fragrances of flowers, wet soil, etc Uplifting moods, stabilizing power, overall sense of health and wellbeing

Besides these, Mother Nature adds much more to our life as a whole in the form of:

  •     Creativity
  •     Abstract thinking
  •     Motivation and Inspiration
  •     Development of self-concept
  •     Reflection and philosophical thinking
  •     Wisdom
  •     Attention, memory, concentration
  •     Decision-making and other complex cognitive skills

You can use the healing elements of nature either in an active form (going to natural places and experiencing them) or in a passive form (through audio-visual aids). Each and every form has its own effect and significance.

Some people laugh at me when I say that nature can heal. They just don’t seem to believe it. All they believe is pills and therapies. I always ask them one question: “Have you seen an animal pop a pill and get well? Have you seen them sick most of the time?” Animals do not have hospitals or health centers as such. Their only hospital is Mother Nature. We don’t believe in it because either we don’t have time to explore and experience its therapeutic effects or we are fixated with our own one-way mode of thinking. So folks, the day you start believing in the healing capacity and motivating potential of Nature…your world will change.

“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature — the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.” ― Rachel Carson, the book Silent Spring

Best Wishes,

Sareeta

Occupational Stress – Causes, Symptoms and Management

Steve_Jobs

The world at large is filled with people who work. It is jam-packed of people who work for themselves, for others, in Government sectors, private sectors, civil and social sectors and so on. In other words occupation has become an integral part of our lives. Neither can we live without it nor can we lead a fulfilling life without it.

Every occupation brings some free perks and gifts for us in the form of occupational stress, work conflicts, team mismanagement, communication issues and so on. No matter how big or how small an organization is, and no matter how organized or amazing an organization is, these issues are bound to creep in either in tremendous forms or in latent subtle forms.

Organizational Stress can develop due to a wide array of reasons. Some of the most common reasons are:

  • Strict organizational policies and protocols
  • Less scope for self-growth
  • Intra (Within) and Inter (Between) group conflicts
  • Workforce mismanagement
  • Human resource mismanagement
  • Lack of proper communication
  • Personal and situational issues
  • Bullying
  • Groupism
  • Time and work mismanagement

Whatever may be the cause of occupational stress it leads to a great deal of downfall of overall work output. It degrades your motivation to work, hampers your professional life and thrusts a jolt on your personal life, emotions, goodwill, belief system, health and so on.

You can experience occupational stress in manifold ways. It can be both overt (that it can be seen in your observable behavior) or covert (you may be suffering from stress within and it cannot be easily seen). Here are some of the common symptoms that you may experience if you fall a prey to occupational stress:

  • Generalized stress (feeling stressed out in almost everything)
  • Lack of motivation to work
  • Inability to meet deadlines
  • Chaos and confusion
  • Feeling of inferiority and anxiousness
  • Changes in diet, sleeplessness, irritability
  • Feelings of depression, hopelessness and helplessness, dejection and failure
  • Excessive sweating, palpitations, nightmares in some cases
  • Lack of confidence in presentations, communication and overall performance
  • Burnout
  • Turnover

If you are a suffering from occupational stress don’t fall a silent prey to it. There are numerous ways in which you can effectively deal with it:

  • The first and foremost way to keep occupational stress at bay starts from the day you join an organization. Genuineness, professional attitude, keen interest and keeping your personal attributes out of your professional world are the key factors to be kept in mind.
  • Do your work diligently and maintain a proper pace in your work. Do not resort to procrastination. Because it will keep a lot of back-log of work behind. And ultimately the unfinished accumulated work will attract unnecessary stress.
  • Oil-polishing or hero worship is a common phenomenon in work cultures today. In order to reach higher designations, in order to get good appraisals, promotions and hikes employees often try to impress their higher authorities. However, if you waste your time doing so then when will you get sufficient time to do your own work? If you work genuinely and nicely, obviously it will get good appraisal and accolades sooner or later.
  • Do not share your personal insecurities and issues with others at work. You never know when you will be back-stabbed.
  • Punctuality, regularity, time management, honesty, diligence, discipline, and maintaining healthy professional attitude form some of the effective ways of dealing with occupational stress.
  • Do not involve in bullying others. Do not indulge in groupism too. Because by doing that you are digging a pit for your own downfall.
  • If you are a victim of bullying, do not hesitate in reporting the same to your higher authorities, HR of your office or counselor.
  • Try to finish all your work at your office itself so that you can return home and relax.
  • Keep your work environment neat and tidy. That will keep your mood fresh for the day’s work.
  • Healthy competition with others is OK. However, learn to compete with yourself. As in, where you are now and where you have to reach. This will be the benchmark of your success.
  • Last but not the least, concentrate on your own work as you are the one accountable for it and no one is going to take its responsibility. And do not compare yourself with others. As a part of the organization you and your work are equally important no matter what position or designation you hold.
  • Keep some handy stress management techniques with you. Use them when you feel over-stressed: deep breathing, meditation, walking out of the work area, getting some fresh air, listening to your favorite musical number…these are some of the easy ways to tackle stress.
  • If the occupational stress becomes too overwhelming for you to handle then do not hesitate to contact a professional therapist. We all need some or the other support in our lives. Some times we can tackle our own issues all by ourselves and sometimes it requires team work.

Work is only a part and parcel of your life. What defines you is not your work but how you do it. So, love you work and even if you don’t then try to search for a work you love or try to make peace with our existing job. No work is big or small. Every work has its own significance. It’s our perspective and mindsets towards that work that matters. The way we work and with the way we make our work enterprising will define and determine its height and worthwhile nature. Always remember:

“When you find yourself stressed, ask yourself one question: Will this matter in 5 years from now? If yes, then do something about the situation. If no, then let it go.”

 – Catherine Pulsifer

Best Wishes,

Sareeta