Hours prior to a written examination, I often experience a gurgling sensation in my abdomen pulsating right up to the shoulder resulting in spasms. My mother calls it the examination fever. She frequently experiences bouts of restlessness, lethargy and blackout, post an argument at the dinner table and pops in a tablet. My father calls her emotionally weak. On weekends, he jots down the monthly expenditure while rubbing his eyes occasionally. My mother terms it sleeplessness. A bunch of already worked up professionals on a rejuvenating break outside the office premises are indeed calculating their performance targets. The employees call it production pressure. The reactions differ but each is a response to a common stimulus–stress.
Who is the culprit?
People often say he/she gives me stress. Is it literally possible for stress to be passed on from one to the other? Stress is a way one’s body responds to an unusual behaviour or an adverse situation. According to Padmini Ramesh, founder of Chennai-based Pranic Healing Home, “Stress is an energy prevailing in an environment or an energy field that can physically contaminate you and make you tense.” It is an illness in the emotional body, which if neglected, affects the physical body over a period of time. It may be conveyed emotionally as an outlet of anger, sadness, frustration, fatigue, inability to cope with pressure, unable to live life to its potential or physically as aches and chronic illnesses.
The effects of stress can be diminished by recognising the source of it. Survival stress–the acute stress response–is an unavoidable automatic inborn response system in man affecting the sympathetic nervous system that prepares the body to fight or flee from an anticipated threat or harm. This creates an enormous muscular excursion ensuring survival and is considered good during emergencies. The Global Organisation for stress points out at other common sources–environmental and psychological. Environmental stress is caused by irritants like dust, noise, pollution in the surroundings.
Psychological stress begins with a thought, whose persistent repetition in the mind accumulates into a mountain of apprehensions causing strain in the muscular system.
Psychological stress begins with a thought, whose persistent repetition in the mind accumulates into a mountain of apprehensions causing strain in the muscular system. Every part of the body is affected which in turn affects the state of mind too. The origin of stress either in the mind or body as fatigue shares a cause–effect relationship.
An insight into this enables one to spot the source and nullify it. D Ushaa Rani, a Bangaluru-based alternative therapist, speaks about the body chakras, the seven energy centres that correspond to different organs. Accumulation of stress in these chakras affects the psychological, emotional and spiritual states of a being as pointed out below.
A frequent tendency of job hopping is due to an unbalanced root chakra, a site of security, survival and prosperity. Accumulation of stress here makes one feel ungrounded, depressed, suicidal, lonely, abandoned giving rise to phobia, dizziness, lower back pain, addictions, and obsession. A daily practice of the first rite of the Tibetan Yoga is an easy way to rejuvenate all the chakras, including the root chakra.
The sacral chakra, a seat of creativity and sexual drive, is the key to boost one’s self- confidence. Women suffering from complications in conceiving, low libido, dysfunctional menstrual cycles and problems in kidney, spleen, intestine and gall bladder have an imbalanced sacral chakra. Padmini recommends Pranic Psychotherapy as the ultimate solution to such stress-related ailments.
Lack of focus
Students and adolescents with poor grasping capabilities and lack of concentration need to work on the solar plexus chakra. It lodges power, emotion and wisdom whose imbalance disrupts the flow of energy throughout the body resulting in lack of memory, insomnia, acne, indigestion, skin allergies, obesity. Ushaa suggests Auricular Therapy with Sujok as an ideal acupuncture remedy for stress.
Men tend to divert their attention from stress by taking up productive activities. This indeed is a good practice but ignorance towards stress over a prolonged period blocks the heart chakra resulting in heart-related ailments. The heart chakra is a source of emotional intelligence related to love, self-satisfaction, equilibrium, commitment and wellbeing. Pent-up stress might lead to pneumonia, asthma, lower back pain and shoulder pain. The Twin Heart Meditation Technique suggested by Padmini is the fastest way to activate the heart chakra.
Feeling Choked up
Stress in the throat chakra chokes up the ability to communicate leading to anxiety, attention deficit disorders, bronchial problems, sinus, thyroid and tonsillitis. Public speakers have a well-balanced throat chakra.
Blunt intuitive skills
All-rounder students possess sharp intuitive skills owing to the well-balanced third eye chakra. It is the source of psychic knowledge where accumulated stress can cause eye, nose and throat problems, migraine, decrease in therapeutic ability and personality disorders.
A spiritual disconnect
The source of spirituality lies in the crown chakra. Imbalance in this chakra causes neurological disorders, dementia, epilepsy, and schizophrenia. Home remedies like chakra meditation, physical and breathing exercises accompanied by chanting om provide an immediate relief to stress.
These physical efforts are helpful, but unless the mind is set free of hurdles, one cannot be liberated from stress. It is surprising how one single thought can affect innumerable nerves in the body causing short-term pain, chronic illnesses and emotional breakdowns. Thinking doesn’t solve a problem. It only adds to it. The more one thinks, the bigger the problem appears. Bigger the problem, greater is the stress and graver are its effects.