Stress is the body's natural response to pressure. It can have a negative effect on your body, mood, as well as behaviour, with wide-ranging effects like headaches, anxiety, fatigue and irritability.
The causes of stress vary from one person to the next, and so do the effects. Stress can be harmful for the body, and is the cause of many health and lifestyle problems.
Managing stress should be a priority, but is often difficult to achieve due to lack of time or effective and simple methods to do so.
Dr Hariprasad, Ayurveda Expert at The Himalaya Drug Company, recommends the following natural methods to cope with stress:
1. Unwind with physical activity: All forms of physical activity are useful in managing stress. Exercising has many benefits such as releasing endorphins and calming the mind, with a reduction in stress levels being an added bonus. Even 45 minutes of physical activity a day goes a long way towards managing stress levels.
2. Organise your life: Organising one's workload leads to a sense of control and peace of mind, and there are many ways to achieve this. One way to do this is through adopting good time management, by prioritising tasks, and scheduling time to complete them. Switching between tasks and having them pile up often becomes an additional source of stress. Decentralisation of tasks or asking for help as and when required is also a good way to reduce stress levels.
3. Use herbs in daily diet: Herbs like Ashvagandha have been proven to be effective in managing the negative effects of stress. According to Ayurveda texts and modern research, Ashvagandha helps reduce the damaging effects of long-term stress by rejuvenating the mind and body. It is an adaptogen that helps the body stabilise physiological processes, maintain a healthy balance between different biological systems, and support better resilience to stress.
4. Eat the right food: Your eating habits have a significant impact on stress levels. Following a healthy diet with a good balance of different food groups and all the required nutrients is essential. A diet rich in different food groups such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, dairy, fish, and poultry would help you get the carbohydrates, proteins, fat, vitamins and minerals you need. A well-nourished body is better able to cope with the physical and emotional effects of stress.
5. Get enough sleep: Sleep is essential in stress management. Not getting enough sleep typically leads to irritability and fatigue. Oversleeping can make us sluggish, depressed -- and puts our health at a higher risk. Getting the right amount of sleep, between 7-8 hours, is a good way to stay energised and effectively manage the challenges of the day.