TAKE A DEEP BREATH Yoga is a popular way of beating stress. Photo: Special Arrangement
TAKE A DEEP BREATH Yoga is a popular way of beating stress.
 Photo: Special Arrangement
A lot of bad things that happen to one's body can 
be blamed  on stress. Tackle it head on, 
says Sheila Kumar

Stress raises adrenaline levels which boost cytokine levels which, in turn,
 inflame blood vessels. This makes it easy for cholesterol to clog arteries.
 You fall ill; gain weight; get depressed. You are perennially stressed. And
the circle is complete.
But there are ways to break that cycle. Read, absorb, and imbibe some
of these pointers.
Don't sweat over the small stuff; manage it. When you feel overwhelmed,
use all that negative energy in a positive way. Sit down and make lists and
accomplish tasks, moving from small ones to large ones. Tie up the loose
 ends, rather than have them pile up to become one monster mountain.
Learn to recognise what triggers your stress attacks and then, effectively
counter the provocateurs. Learn to let go of stuff you cannot control,
manage  or change. Control, manage and change what you can.
Learn to accept stress as something inevitable but something that you can
cope easily with. It's about a Zen frame of mind. Acquire a certain amount of
 inner calm and that becomes a potent weapon with which to defeat stress.
If aromatherapy oils or fragrance candles work for you, use them freely.
Cinnamon, clove, basil, eucalyptus and rose help relax both the body and
 the mind.
Fifteen minutes of meditation in a quiet environment can help control stress
levels. If you aren't into meditation, settle down and unspool a montage of
 healing, peaceful thoughts in your mind.
Like all other tenets of healthy living, combating stress requires healthy eating.
Don't binge on fatty/fried/sweet foods. But don't stress over the occasional
 binge, either. Indulge in some of your favourite foods, the feel-good feeling
you get is all for the good. Eat dessert. Eat mint, smell cinnamon.
When you feel your stress level peaking, drop what you are doing and go for a
walk. Walking is a major stress buster. Go for a long ramble or a short, brisk
stroll, whatever works best for you.
Exercise regularly, even 10 minutes a day will help. The rush you get from a
workout helps deal with most everyday stress.
Find out the time your body is most alert and work to the maximum then. If you
 regularly fall victim to the afternoon slump, if you are an owl who doesn't function
 too well till late in the morning, don't fight your timeline, just go with it.
Never underestimate the powers of a sympathetic ear. Alongside a sympathetic
pet, a sympathetic friend is an invaluable stress buster. Surround yourself with
friends… the noise, laughter and talk serve as stress-repellers.
Give yourself some me-time. Dress up. Go for a facial.
Look good = feel good.
Take it easy. That really has been, is, and will be the best
If you must lose your cool, time yourself and call a halt after a while. Letting off
steam, in small doses, is good. Don't go on and on, though…that is upping your
stress level.
Make a list of pros and cons after every adversity you face. Read the list, absorb
and learn. Know what to do the next time. After which, destroy that piece of
paper. You are done with it.
When your boss points out things you did wrong, agree with calm sincerity.
 The first few times you will be faking it, the acceptance and the calm
demeanour. After a while, you really will take criticism the best way.
Turn off the cell phone. Take time off from the computer. Switch off the TV
and read a book instead.
Indulge yourself. Play a slow song. Sleep more/less.
Stop worrying. Stop doing stuff you don't need to do. The world will not
 stop or fall to pieces if you shrug.
Do one thing at a time… with your full focus on it. The rush from a job
well done can never be underestimated.

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