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Is stress taking a toll on your health? Here's how you can beat it!

From jostling for space in local trains to achieving targets at work, stress comes with everything we do in our busy, urban lives. Ahead of National Stress Awareness Day, we see what youngsters are doing to combat it; and what you can do as well.

health-and-fitness Updated: Nov 04, 2014 14:51 IST
Soumya Vajpayee
Soumya Vajpayee
Hindustan Times
Well-being-at-work-AFP-Photo( )

From jostling for space in local trains to achieving targets at work, stress comes with everything we do in our busy, urban lives.

Ahead of National Stress Awareness Day (November 5), we met a few youngsters who have woken up to the threat, and found ways to combat it through meditation, or a session at a Vipassana centre. 

"Youngsters nowadays are more aware about stress, and they do try various methods to relieve it. Many teenagers and young adults now visit psychiatrists to seek help. They are open to take help, unlike earlier times, when people realised they were going through stress only when they faced serious health issues," says Dr Nirmala Rao, consulting psychiatrist, Aavishkar clinic for self enrichment.

Been there, done that
Atiya Khan, 26: I went to the Nisargopchar ashram in Pune a few days ago when I started feeling really stressed. Now, I feel really rejuvenated, as the centre offers a perfect detox and a great break from your regular life. We used to wake up early in the morning, which would be followed by yoga and cycling. Our diet used to comprise fruits and food without salt. Also, therapies like mud baths, spinal baths, body massages, meditation and even bhajan sessions really helped in relieving me of stress

Mansi Kadne, 33: Since I was feeling really stressed with work and the city routine last year, I decided to visit the Himachal vipassana centre in Dharamshala for an 11-day course. I went alone and was surprised to meet many young foreigners who had come there to meditate. It was a huge stress-buster. We had to put our mobile phones, cameras, pens, books and even medicines away for 11 days. We used to wake up at 4 am and had meditation sessions through the day. It was very rejuvenating.

Sudatta Mukherjee, 23: Since I wanted to be away from the city-crowd and crazy routine for some time, I decided to go to the Dhamma Giri at Igatpuri for a 10-day course. Vipassana helped me find peace. I used to be a short-tempered person, but after I returned, my colleagues told me that I was much more quiet, calm and composed.

What the doctor recommends
* Regular physical exercises like swimming, running and cycling help keep stress at bay. Participating in marathons also help. 
* Don't postpone your day's work as it will pile up and eventually cause stress. Try wrapping up all the scheduled work on time. 
* Do take some time out to listen to your favourite music. You can certainly find time for it in a city like Mumbai, which includes exhaustive travelling.
* Take leave from work/studies and spend quality time with family or friends.
* Instead of coffee, which contains a lot of caffeine, have green tea. It contains healthy antioxidants that have a soothing effect on the nervous system.

Beat it: Pursue a hobby, meditate, eat well and spend time with friends

Here's what you can do
While conventional tips to keep stress at bay are prevalent, experts say youngsters are adopting offbeat ways as well.

Wellness tourism: This trend is picking up among youngsters. Vipassana and yoga centres located in the outskirts of the city are gaining popularity as many people prefer enrolling for relaxation courses when they take a break for a vacation. Some also travel to far off centres located in Himachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu or Karnataka to seek help. Often psychiatrists suggest taking such trips as well.

Meditation: This is becoming increasingly famous among young adults. Unlike past decades, when meditation was primarily limited to the older generation, youngsters now are exploring it with renewed interest. There are many yoga and meditation centres in the city to learn the art under professional guidance.

Follow a hobby: In a city like Mumbai, where people find pursuing their hobbies difficult owing to their packed academic/work schedules, more people have started going the extra mile and are consciously trying to take up a vocation to relieve stress.

"Most of my patients are youngsters- either people new to the city or new in their careers. Whenever I have patients who have target or deadline pressures, I recommend that they pursue at least one hobby. It really helps as you take some time out for yourself, doing something you love," says Dr Sanghanayak Meshram, psychiatrist, Satyam Polyclinic, Andheri (E).

Watch your diet: This is one aspect that is on every doctor's prescription. While most elderly people are believed to be careful about their diets, psychiatrists say that more and more youngsters now realise the connection between unhealthy eating and stress, and they have also joined the bandwagon of healthy eaters. They cut down on sugar-rich foods and prefer eating more fresh fruits and vegetables.

"While healthy eating helps relieve stress, less consumption of alcohol and cigarette should also be factored in for a stress-free life," says Dr Meshram.

De-stress destinations
* Anandvan Resorts, Ahmednagar 
* Dhamma Giri, Igatpuri 
* Nisargopchar Ashram, Pune 
* Global Vipassana Pagoda, Gorai Village 
* The Zen India Meditation Program, Charni Road, Andheri (W), Kandivli (E)
* Art of Living Centres in Goregaon (W), Bhandup (E) and Thane

Note: With inputs from Dr Nirmala Rao and Dr Sanghanayak Meshram

First Published: Nov 04, 2014 13:50 IST