Overcoming Stress and Anxiety

If you are currently living in Pakistan and still not stressed out then you a very exceptional person and must come on Shifa News cover if not the Time magazine. The load-shedding being faced nowadays is enough to make one crazy what to talk of causing anxiety. The sound of generators all around you add to the misery; you may not know but diesel fumes are regarded the world over as a major cause of cancer and we all must wait before we start facing this added problem. The number of Pakistanis reading newspapers is small but affects people who read them. You may be surprised to know that many psychiatrists and psychologists advise their patients to avoid looking at the newspapers and watching TV talk shows to avoid anxiety and high blood pressure and it works in most of the cases.

It is said that you must not be angry about things that you cannot change and should pray for the grant of wisdom to accept things that you cannot change. In case of national problems, as a result, either you leave the country or join a political party striving for a change or simply accept as to what is going on around you.

It is one of the precepts of Sikhism that you must never complain about the weather. In other words, you should never criticize that it is very hot today or very cold today;  just accept the weather as it is and continue with your daily chores. I would advise you not to adopt the same attitude about the problems facing us everyday in the country and we should stop complaining and instead strive for a change in whatever manner we can.

There is nothing that wastes the body like worry. It stresses our whole system including our arteries and eventually our heart. It also affects our appetite. Stress is the mother of all diseases because it badly damages the immune system of the body thus making it vulnerable to all kinds of diseases, from headaches to heart attacks. Have you noticed that how hair of the Presidents and PMs of many countries grey within months after assuming charge and how their health deteriorates when they fall from power in disgrace, with Hosni Mobarak as the latest example. This negative impact should thus be kept in mind when you become angry, anxious and feel stressed out the next time.

It is unfortunate but the people of Pakistan are generally not happy. There are a number of reasons for this but one key explanation relevant to the topic is lack of harmony in what we think, say and do. Our lip service to religion, to take just one example, is never ending. It has become a cultural requirement to appear religious. Some may genuinely believe in it as well but majority probably do not give religious issues a lot of thought and simply go along with what they are told and with the cultural flow. Despite what we think and say, our country remains one of the most corrupt countries in the world. This is obviously not in harmony in what we believe in and what we say. The same goes for our work ethics. Our interaction with each other is not in harmony with the Islamic principles. This schizophrenic behavior on our part is thus a major cause of our unhappiness.

One of the ways to avoid unhappiness and anxiety is to stop holding postmortems. We should not spend our time brooding over sorrows and past mistakes. We should learn to get over things. And may be if we could keep ourselves busy all the time, we would not have any time to worry, to be unhappy and brood over our sorrows and mistakes.

Apart from the above, I would suggest the following tips to avoid stress. Some are obvious while others may require some elaboration.

Use time wisely. Get up 15 minutes early each day and prepare for the morning the night before. This tip is simply meant to relax you and to avoid rushing the whole day trying to catch up with the delays.

Set appointments ahead and do not rely on your memory … write it down.  

Practice preventive maintenance.

Say “no” more often and set priorities in your life. We all do so many things on a daily basis that we do not wish to do. We may be entertaining a guest at home or in our office whom we do not desire at that moment for any number of reasons. We are being unfair to the guest and to ourselves and our work suffers in the process. This analogy applies to lot many other situations in our daily lives.

Avoid negative people. Stop saying negative things to yourself.

Visualize yourself winning. Do it today.

Anticipate your needs.

Repair anything that does not work properly.

Find support from others. Ask for help with the jobs you dislike.

Break large tasks into bite size portions. Look at problems as challenges.

Unclutter your life.

Schedule play time into every day. Learn to whistle a tune. Read a poem. Listen to music. Read a story curled up in bed. Do a brand new thing. Look at a work of art. Hum a jingle. Learn the words to a new song. Plant a tree. Feed the birds. Learn a new doodle. Memorize a joke. Clean out one closet. Play patty cake with a toddler. Go on a picnic. Take a different route to work. Leave work early (with permission). Put air freshener in your car. Watch a movie and eat popcorn. Write a note to a far away friend. Go to watch a sports game and scream. Cook a meal. Recognize the importance of unconditional love.

Develop your sense of humor.

Stop thinking tomorrow will be a better today.

Have goals for yourself.

Don’t skip breakfast and eat good nourishing food to keep your body and mind in good health. You can also take some multivitamins and mineral supplements in consultation with your doctor. Limit your intake of tea/coffee because caffeine increases the stress symptoms and disturbs sleeping patterns.  Green tea is good and can be taken frequently. Avoid alcoholic drinks and quit smoking.

Exercise every day. Go for a brisk walk. Do yoga. Practice breathing slowly. Maintain your weight. Standup and stretch. Get enough sleep.

Stop a bad habit.

Do everything in moderation. Always have a plan `B.’ Remember you always have options.

Learn to meet your own needs.

Become a better listener; and freely praise other people

Know your limitations and let others know them, too.

Strive for excellence and not perfection. Stretch your limits a little each day.

Quit trying to fix other peoples’ problems.

Pay attention to your appearance.

Strive for excellence and not perfection. Stretch your limits a little each day.

And if none of above helps then whenever you feel stressed, drink a glass of water, close your eyes for a few minutes and relax. Let your negative feelings, fear, anger, depression, frustration, anxiety, vanish away. Try to blow away your stress in the air by laughing at your situation. Laughter is the best medicine because it not only relaxes your tense muscles but also takes away all negativity and directs your mind to think in a positive way.

Remember that it is all up to you how you see your problem.  At times of crisis, prove that you are a strong man who has the power to overcome any challenge of life. Your positive thinking is your best weapon to fight with any kind of stress. Face any challenge of life bravely. Try to look at the challenge as a new opportunity to be availed of.  Let your mental abilities work in a positive environment. No doubt, your positive thinking will show you the light even in the darkest alley.

Pinpoint your problem and discuss it with your close friends and family members. You should have a support network of people, places and things. Through talking and discussing matters you relieve stress. Remember, keeping silent on the matters which are giving you stress, is fatal.

Remember that stress is an attitude and a positive attitude about yourself and the situation may help in overcoming the stress and anxiety.

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