Friday, February 3, 2012

#Anxiety and Stress--the terrible twins.

Updated on 16 Feb 2015

Anxiety and stress are actually two sides of the same coin.Anxiety is a generalized state of fear & apprehension while stress results from over-work or imminence of an adverse situation.The two have invaded our lives to such a degree that we have come to regard them as necessary evils.They impair our judgement,cause physical ailments & destroy our peace of mind.Our efficiency takes a beating,inflicting irreparable damage to our image & reputation.

We live in stressful times.Pick up a newspaper & majority of news will be about violence,theft,fraud,rape,murder,& other natural or man-made calamities.Very subtly all these news influence our thinking.If we read about an accident we shall be doubly tense while driving a car.A news about child abuse will set us worrying, what sort of people come in contact with our own child.So much so that ordinary activities like crossing the road,sending our child to school,or going on a journey,can make us tense & apprehensive.Such worries coalesce into a cloud of anxiety to weigh down upon our minds.We sense danger everywhere.Fear seeps in.We live in a state of perpetual angst.

Then a real trigger comes along & we are flustered to hell.The quantum of worry is totally disproportionate to the situation at hand.Because we were already tense,we distort the whole picture.An ordinary problem looms like a major catastrophe.This happens because our stress response system is overactive.

To make matters worse, we lose confidence in our ability to solve the problem.We feel that something terrible is going to happen & we shall not be able to cope.In extreme cases total helplessness & hopelessness take over;rendering us incapable of taking action.Very imperceptibly,without our knowing,floating anxiety has transformed into a major handicap.

Eliminating Anxiety
Have you ever wondered why some people are more stressed than others?The answer could lie in their own behavior.Our attitudes & coping skills play a significant role in whether we will be serene or flustered.

*Are we hyper in our reactions & thus make mountains out of mole hills?

*Are we oversensitive?Do we take offence at minor arguments or comments?

*Do we have a tendency to focus upon the negative aspects of every situation?

*Is our behavior such that it attracts opposition & confrontation?

*Is perfectionism the cause of our stress?Do we set unattainable benchmarks for ourselves and others?
Being dogmatic about our beliefs & methods creates discord.

*Do we hold grudges?

*Do we take on more than we can cope with?Doing this unnecessarily adds to our stress.The quality of our work will suffers & the resultant criticism angers us.

*Are we unable to assert ourselves in the face of abuse or rebuke?A lot of anxiety can be averted if only we learn to assert ourselves when the situation demands.

Ved was unjustifiably bypassed for a promotion.He could not voice his resentment & became sullen & withdrawn.The anger & frustration was all bottled inside.As a result he spoiled his relationships at his work place & became a patient of hypertension.If only he had discussed the matter with his boss,his anger could have been assuaged & the stress minimized.

Similarly,keeping quiet when someone passes a derogatory comment & not expressing our feelings when someone hurts us only adds to our angst.When we keep quiet in face of insult or injustice,we invite more of it in future & the humiliation continues to pinch us.It is best to nip it in bud.

Honest answers to the questions above will help us to get rid of our own mental debris so that we imbibe less stress in future.We often attribute the cause of our stress to a third party.This may or may not be true,but ignoring our own contribution delays  course-correction.
Combating stress
There are hordes  of stressors in our life today and it is essential to cut out those which have no direct bearing on us.If it is the media which is giving you the jitters,skip the crime section.If it is a co-worker, maintain a distance from him.If waiting in queues or commuting long distances is stressful,listen to music ,read a book,or observe the surroundings to avoid irritation;according to the situation.A queue is a fine place to study human behavior.Listening to the news or music while driving saves time & soothes the mind.Above all,stress transforms into enjoyment.

In case of difficulties and challenges which are germane to our success and well-being,it is best to find a quick solution and take prompt action .Procrastination prolongs tension.An onerous task or a ticklish problem will not just vanish on it's own.It will weigh on your mind till you take the required action.Sometimes the prospects of resolution become bleak and the problem intensifies with the passage of time.Many of us ignore a problem when it is a small dot on the horizon,till it grows & grows into a thunder storm.

If your hands are full with urgent work to be done,deadlines to be met & difficulties to be overcome;it is time to lessen the burden.

Revert your cell to an answering machine,and avoid round the clock connectivity.

Prune your "to do " list.Cut down or postpone those jobs which are not essential right now.

Delegate what you can,to others.

If there is any chore you dislike intensely,like washing your car,looking after your garden,or toting up your income for tax deduction;engage outside help for it.This will enable you to enjoy extra hours of peaceful relaxation.

If you are unable to find a solution to your problem, do not hesitate to seek outside help--whether a friend,a relative or an expert.

I certainly don't imply that doing all this shall grant you immunity from stress.Difficulties will come & crises will erupt;but you will be better prepared to tackle them without losing your cool.If you come up against googlies which cannot be played, get aside & carry on with the game to the best of your ability.

I have purposely left out the many ways we can beat stress when it does overpower us.For this you can look up .


  1. And stress is a silent killer. It destroys our immunity and makes us susceptible to diseases.

    I have always envied people who do not get hassled easily. But like you have mentioned, if we cannot control the situation we can certainly control our reaction to it. It takes effort but it's worth it.

    Always a pleasure reading your informative posts :)

  2. Thanx Purba,its an equal pleasure to read your comments.

  3. hi indu very informative post..and the points to avoid stress as well..realy liked it..i could really relate to the point where u say we pik up the newspaper and all we c is murder.theft,cyclones etc..

  4. Alka welcome to my blog...thanx for d thumbs up.

  5. true, we cant decide or have our say in all matters of life but at least the way it affects us ...sometimes the stress/the pain/anxiety is unbearable or so we might think. some of the tips you outlined here is very helpful & doable.
    what has worked for me personally is talking to someone about it but the times i have not been able to talk is when it has burdened me the most

  6. As always u r right Sujatha
    about the last sentence- talk to me whenever u like!!

  7. Live in the present moment.. observe things around u now, every moment. Everything will be fine :)

  8. A very good, informative and important post. Stress is indeed an inner enemy we breed within ourselves. We constantly worry over problems and get stressed and this goes on as a vicious circle. Instead it would be so much better if we work towards simple things that can alleviate our problems and help us be happy. You have listed a lot of good and practical advise towards achieving those means. It was a very good read. :)

  9. thanx Raj,comments such as yours motivate me no end.....welcome to jeeteraho!

  10. Beautiful true anxiety and stress go hand in hand. If we learn to fight either of the two off..the other stays clear.

    your newest follower and a regular reader now

  11. very happy to welcome you here Kajal...thanx a lot.
    these two are really the bane of today's life.

  12. very informative and detailed post.An interesting read indeed.

  13. Few tips from my end

    1) Maintain a journal. Write all thats bothering you and you will feel much lighter.
    2) Do something that involves concentration and brain activity. Like solving a jigsaw puzzle or a Sudoku. After you r done, you will feel rejuvenated.
    3) Exercising.Long walks or brisk runs.

  14. Another great post Indu! So badly needed and so relevant in today's really is of immense value. Thank you:)

  15. Very well researched take. Very insightful.

  16. A look deep within and a reconciliation with self often helps loads.

  17. Oh my! you do know how to spread happiness.Thanks a lot.


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