In the current times of the Covid-19 pandemic, stress which was prevalent in the pre Covid-19 era has become even more prevalent now. There has been an inevitable increase in the ailments caused by stress. I do feel that while we give importance to building our IQ Intelligence Quotient and learn EQ Emotional Quotient and Social Quotient SQ, subsequent importance needs to be given to Adaptability Quotient AQ as well.
By familiarising ourselves with Adaptability Quotient AQ, we can empower and create excellence in our lives by expelling stress and anxiety. Mental Health can get affected in many ways and the most common is stress, which is a condition, usually experienced when a person is going through a crisis, it can be physical crisis, emotional, professional or even a personal loss.
Hence, we can say that stress is caused when our life goes through any kind of disruption or any challenging situation. The major reason that stress comes into existence is because of overthinking and overanalyzing of any situation which causes an overload on our brain, thus activating the stress hormone Noreprinephrine. The hormone is released when the brain perceives that an arduous or a challenging event has occurred. And the brain reacts to it with uncertainty, anxiety and stress.
Unlike physical conditions like a headache or a stomach ache, where we immediately feel the pain and we address it instantly; stress or other mental or emotional conditions do not have an instant reaction. Stress is something that keeps building up in our body and if we do not address it on time, it then starts affecting our overall wellbeing.
When we are aware of the above signs that our body gives every time there is a stress overload, we become better equipped in addressing and managing it. To manage stress, it is important that we create certain practices in our daily lives which can help us in never letting stress getting over loaded in our system.
We need to accept that life will have its own discomforts in the form of difficult situations, crisis or even losses personal, financial or social. There is always a choice for us to either remain in the problem statement of asking why is it happening to me –but the other choice is that we accept and say yes, it is happening but what can I do for it.
It is all about inculcating the habit of being solution focused and adaptable to manage the situation – find solutions and be adaptable to improvise your solution if it doesn’t work in the first place.
The following habits of self-care and self-improvement will help you to strengthen your body and mind to equip and empower yourself in managing any crisis.
#1 Hydration and sleep
Hydration is essential not just for physical health but also for mental health. Infect, dehydration can impact your cognitive abilities, while proper hydration helps in increasing your energy levels. Similarly, not getting enough sleep also has a long-term deep impact on your mind and body. So at least 4-5 litres of water during the day and at least 6-8 hours of sleep is essential to keep or body and mind equipped to manage any difficult situation.
#2 Nourishment and diet
Food is the fuel that runs our body. So, providing the body with the right kind of food which is nutritious and healthy is extremely important to keep your body and mind strong enough in managing and handling any crisis that you may encounter.
#3 Exercise for your mind
While many of us exercise to lose weight or to build muscles but when you exercise for your mind, you increase mental abilities, improve memory and manage stress. These exercises include breathwork or Pranayama, walking in the nature, learning something new such as cooking, singing or playing a musical instrument or even painting.
Meditation is a practice that is being regarded as a powerful medicine. Unaddressed stress can wreak havoc on your wellbeing and by adopting meditation as a way to address and manage stress, can prove to be beneficial. Imbibe meditation as a daily routine in your life and start with short duration of 5 minutes which with time can be increased. However, in order to really see the benefits of meditation, one needs to do it on a regular basis consistently.
#5 Social interaction
Lack of social interaction also affects the mental health. while everybody is practicing social distancing at this time, it is important to remember not to create social disconnection or emotional distancing at this time. In fact, in any crisis situation, it important to keep up with healthy social relationships as it helps in building emotional support that reduces the damaging effects of stress.
#6 Gratitude practice
Keeping a gratitude journal has a deep impact in remembering and recording the happy moments of life. Gratitude helps in putting our focus on what we have, appreciating it and being thankful for it rather than focusing on things that we lack. This lack of focus creates stress, however when we change our focus on to something positive while being grateful for it, we create opportunities to strengthen our mental state and build immunity towards stress.
Symptoms of stress
- Cognitive issues such as memory problems, inability to concentrate, constant worrying, racing thoughts.
- Emotional issues such as general unhappiness, irritability, anger, anxiety which leads to Depression.
- Physical symptoms such as Aches and Pains, low immunity, Chest pain, rapid heartbeat, constipation or diarrhea and even loss of libido.
- Behavioral symptoms such as overeating or loss of appetite, insomnia or excessive sleeping, procrastinating, loss of focus, excessive use of external stimulants like drugs, alcohol.