Sunday, August 22, 2010



Stress – what ?

Simply put ”stress makes us sick”. Slow accumulation of stress, leads to diseases. Factors like meeting deadlines, inadequate sleep, emotional turmoil, psychological characteristics, etc., can affect us physiologically and psychologically. Heart strokes, diabetes, ulcers, cholesterol etc., are the results of psychological and physiological events. It requires physiological adaptations and excellent stress response mechanism to survive in extremely stressful situations.

Lack of sleep and heart diseases – some research findings:

Complete and partial lack of sleep increased the blood concentration of high sensitivity, C- reactive protein – the strongest predictor of heart attacks
Just one night of sleep loss increases very toxic substances in body and they increase risks of many medical conditions, including cancer, arthritis and heart disease.
Sleeping for less than 5 hours per night leads to 39% increase in heart disease

Sleep is composed of two stages:
REM – (Rapid Eye Movement) and non-REM. The former helps in mental consolidation while the latter helps in physical repair and rebuilding. During the night, we alternate between REM and non-REM stages 4-5 times. The earlier part of sleep; is mostly non-REM. During that period, our pituitary gland releases growth hormones that repair our body. The latter part of sleep is more of REM type.

Situations, when people get cumulative ill effects of stress (few examples)
Feeling of getting forced to meet deadlines very frequently
Lack of sleep, for many days
Lack of work-life balances for long
Unmanaged and long duration of worries, frustrations, negative emotions like, jealousy, anger, depression, hopelessness etc.
Lack of “feel-good factor”

We need to have a holistic view of life. We can ask few pertinent questions to ourselves, like for how many years, I am going to live, what is the purpose of my life, how would I like to be remembered by people around me or the world after die. If we sincerely probe ourselves with these questions, we are going to get very useful answers and have “balance in life - between professional, family and personal”, as mentioned in The Gita. Then only the poem of Rabindranath Tagore – “Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high” – will make sense to us.

::Excerpts from “Strress-from burnout to balance” by Vinay Joshi.


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