Local Trains:

One of the most common stressor we face in our city is travelling in local trains. Since local trains help a large number of commuters travel to office and back home daily, it becomes one of the most important sources of inevitable stress. The local trains are over crowded and commuters end up being irritable, anxious and angry. Since they face this scenario on a daily basis, they become more reactive to stress at work and at home, thereby affecting their quality of life. Facing stress constantly takes a heavy toll on the body and mind as a result of which even the health of the individual is affected.

Traffic Jams:

Another common source of stress in our city is facing heavy traffic. A traffic jam not only causes direct stress because of the air pollution it causes, but it also causes Indirect Stress as people get so stressed up that their blood pressure rises, muscles tense and heart beats faster.

If an individual were to interpret this same scenario differently; say as an opportunity to relax and listen to his favourite music CD before getting to work, he may not experience stress at all. So, A LOT DEPENDS ON ONE’S ATTITUDE.

Unhealthy Socializing:

A very common way to socialize is to eat out late, drink and smoke. Those who have dinner as their heaviest meal of the day, do not get a proper sleep as the digestive system is kept working overtime which affects the sleep cycle. Also, eating a high fat, high carbohydrate diet is naturally harmful to the body.

Heavy drinking, smoking too much and staying up too late put direct physiological stress on the body. If you have had a late night or drink too much, it leads to frustration and low self esteem at work the next day. Also, a lot of people drink alcohol in the evening, thinking it will give them a good night sleep. Alcohol actually disrupts sleep patterns, making sleep less restful.


Since we experience heavy monsoons every year, it results in considerable water logging in many parts of the city on a regular basis. A commute to school, office, to the airport or train station, when affected by a heavy shower adds to considerable frustration and stress as we are unable to get to our destination on time.

One of the best ways to manage stress that comes your way is to plan your day properly, manage your time well and have a positive attitude.  Of course, disappointments will always be there, but if you realise the cause of your stress, managing your life will be a lot easier.



Stress has distinct effects on the cardiovascular system. Cardiovascular disease is the general term for the diseases of the circulatory system, mainly the heart, arteries and veins.

Physical exercise like working out at the gym or playing a game can put the heart under a certain amount of stress that is beneficial provided the heart is not suffering from any disease.

When the body including the cardiovascular system experiences stress, the stress hormones (Adrenaline and Cortisol) are released which prepare the body to face danger. It gives a sudden boost of energy that can be used to fight or flee from the perceived stressful situation. This results in the heart pressure to increase. Most of the time this is necessary, but if the stress is prolonged, then the heart has to work harder for a longer time. This can seriously harm the heart, causing long term blood pressure giving rise to heart attacks or strokes.

It is also believed that the stress hormones make the blood thicker and stickier in anticipation of any potential wound or injury. The thicker blood can clot much easier and thus help in stopping the blood flowing out of the body through the wound. The thicker blood also makes the circulation of blood to the extremities of the body more difficult. Therefore, hands and feet are more prone to cuts and bruises and take a longer time to heal if the stress is prolonged.



When your blood pressure is too high, you are more likely to develop heart disease. Your blood pressure differs according to the different mental stress activity. And your mental and emotional stress activity differs according to the duration you are under stress, how well you are prepared psychologically, your expectations and your stress management techniques.

When you face any mental stress, your blood pressure increases, but differs according to your stressor and the situation. Chronic stress can result in cardiovascular disease, as it results in a prolonged activation of the sympathetic nervous system (a part of the nervous system that serves to accelerate the heart rate, constrict blood vessels, and raise blood pressure), resulting in high blood pressure which remains unchanged for a longer time.



When the body undergoes a stress response, the body prepares to protect itself with fight or flight response, resulting in an increase in the heart rate ensuring that the blood reaches all the body parts where blood is needed to fight or run.

However, one doesn’t have to be threatened physically for this to happen. The body has the very same response when raising a toast in your best friend’s wedding, acting in a play or addressing an audience.

Changes in behaviour may modify the cardiovascular response, especially the heart rate. Although studies show that stress alters the cardiovascular response, it does not necessarily prove that stress induces cardiovascular disease.



We all suffer from stress from time to time. And positive stress (eustress) which helps us remain motivated and energetic is healthy and helps us succeed. To remove stress in today’s fast paced world with constant pressure is virtually impossible.

Chronic stressors such as marriage, death of a loved one or divorce as well as psychological stress have been found to have a link to cardiovascular disease. And a strong association has been found between psychological stress and cardiovascular disease.



Personality attributes such as anger, hostility, depression and anxiety have been related to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Reacting to stress with anger increases the risk to cardiovascular disease, especially myocardial infarction (heart attack). Research has shown that men with Type A behaviour (being competitive, work obsessed and impatient) have a greater risk of developing coronary heart disease.

Hypertension (high blood pressure) increases with hostility and impatience. One’s personality type and personality factors go a long way in determining how you react to stress and whether you will have cardiovascular disease. The way you perceive stress, and your behaviours, thoughts and reactions to stressors determines how stress affects your health and well being.

Although stress and cardiovascular disease are related, it does not necessarily have to affect your health and well being adversely. A healthy diet and lifestyle, stress relaxation techniques, anger management and treatment of psychological stress certainly prevents cardiovascular disease.



  • High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Heart Attacks (Myocardial Infarction)
  • Strokes
  • Angina Pectoris


We surely live in demanding and stressful times. A lot of times we accept that we are stressed but fail to root out the real cause of Stress which is silently debilitating us. The first right step in dealing with Stress is to become aware of the various Stressors the body and mind is experiencing which may help us negotiate this fact of life which has assumed catastrophic proportions in our daily life…


1. 71% Indian employees say they are experiencing more Stress related illness ever since the economic downturn.
2. Stress related illness can worsen or cause a whole series of health conditions ranging from Obesity to Heart Disease, Alzheimer’s disease, Diabetes, Depression, Gastrointestinal problems and Asthma.
3. 24% Indians stated that they are worried about losing their jobs and feel less confident about the sector they are working in.
4. 34% Indians employees are actually losing sleep worrying about their jobs.
5. Stress in India is causing an increase in absenteeism (56%) damaging business productivity as well as worker wellbeing.
6. Employees also identified flexible working conditions as an option for easing work related Stress.
The above data surely leads one to think with conviction that if Stress is not managed effectively, it can harm the individual’s health severely, sometimes even irreversibly…

One of the most effective ways to deal with Stress is to make changes in your daily diet. Following are the foods which can help you deal with your Stress:
1. Bananas are high in potassium, which aids in the regulation of blood pressure. Lots of other fruits and vegetables contain potassium, but it’s especially high in bananas.
In addition to stress benefits, bananas can also relieve heartburn and keep your blood sugar levels up.
2. Salmon: It is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which elevates your mood, thereby helping you to better cope with the after-effects of a really tough day at the office. These fatty acids aid with brain function, meaning that you’ll have the mental acuity to keep your head when everything is going crazy around you. Flax seeds are also high in omega-3s.
3. Broccoli: It contains folic acid. In addition to being essential for pregnant women, folic acid is also very helpful for lowering stress levels and preventing irritability.
Other foods rich in folic acid include asparagus and orange juice.
4. Sugar: Foods that are high in sugar cause your body to produce fewer hormones linked to anxiety. When you ingest sugar, your body creates a hormone that counters stress reactions, called gluco-corticoid.
So, while you should make sure to only eat sugar in moderation, a small taste of ice cream, cookies, or chocolate can help you to lower your stress levels almost instantly.
5. Whole Grains: A diet rich in complex carbs and whole grains encourages your body to produce increased levels of serotonin, a feel-good hormone that improves your mood and produces a sensation of relaxation.
6. Blueberries: It helps boost mood and brain function .
It also helps the body to release dopamine, the neurotransmitter associated with desire and reward.
7. Almonds: It will boost your B2 and E vitamins, helping boost your immune system while you’re stressed out.
8. Spinach: Packed with magnesium, spinach promotes good vibes.
9. Finger millet: Raagi as the finger millet is locally known, contains calcium. Research has shown that calcium helps reduce irritability and nervousness to some extent.
It has also been found to be particularly effective in alleviating symptoms associated with PMS (pre-menstrual stress). Consume two tablespoons daily in your chappatis, by simply mixing it with wheat flour.
10. Apples: This fruit contains phosphorous and iron and helps reduce oxidative stress. This, in turn, helps cell-regeneration which is known to be adversely affected in times of stress. As the skin is possibly the first to show signs of stress, apples can help counter that by helping build healthy skin and hair tissues.
11. Chamomile: Back in 1800s, it is believed, chamomile was used to calm hysteria. Today, it is used to relieve anxiety. Research has shown that it also has some anti-spasmodic properties and can help relieve cramps and several digestive problems associated with nervous disorders. Whenever under pressure, sip on chamomile tea.
So, make conscious changes in your diet and food habits, try to include the above mentioned suggestions and transform yourself from a STRESSFUL to a STRESS-FREE SELF.


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