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Author: Harsimran Kaur Vij (Nagpur), Junior Intern, Niche Advocacy Foundation

Emotions and Stress are what you feel; it’s a response. To me, it’s a feeling which you express, when your mental or emotional pressure overburdens you. And nowadays, everyone is dealing with stress so much. There are two types of stress in general, Eustress (the stress which leads to growth) and Distress (stress due to pressure or demands on us). These are different for everyone, for example, the stress of being unproductive in the pandemic, this can be eustress for some as they would get motivated by it, but as well as distress for some as they can feel demotivated. Generally, stressors are due to school, significant changes in life, relationship issues, family issues, financial problems etc.

Emotions are something you feel for a short time, but always remember, your emotions do not identify you. Because generally, we mix up our emotions with our qualities, like if I’m jealous of something, but it goes away the next day, that doesn’t mean I’m always jealous or a jealous person. We’re people with specific values who happen to have emotions and are triggered by them regularly. When we’re open to our emotions, we often think we are same as them, at this moment they have control over us. We always have a choice, though, being able to notice our emotions, even when they feel more powerful, gives us a place where we can refer to our values. We can’t always choose our emotions but a reaction to them. And this, my dear friend, takes a lot of you, but also it is one of the best things one can own.

I was 8 and a half-year-old when I was detected with thyroid problem and 18 when I was detected with PCOD. I’ve been a big over-thinker always, so somewhere in 10th, I understood it’s happening because of my thyroid. So having both of these diseases, which are so much connected to high-stress levels, I’ve come around a lot of stress in my life, and sometimes it’s just so unnecessary stress, that probably leads to over-thinking. And boy! Over-thinking is dangerous because we are not able to escape our own mind space! Stress has always been a problem for me because my stress leads me to anxiety and then to anxiety attacks. But I guess with time we do learn to deal with our stress and that’s very important for us because stress doesn’t just take up the mind space, it also leads to lowered immunity, reproductive problems, heart issues, breathing issues, dry throat, depression, panic attacks, anxiety attacks, mood imbalances, relationships, behaviour, work-life, in short almost every aspect of our life.

There are many ways to overcome stress and to manage our emotions.

There is this relaxation technique which always works for me, painting or making a doodle of a calming place in your mind; this is all about understanding your mind, just feeling your senses.

Then another being progressive muscle relaxation, find a calm place, sit or lie down comfortably, and then tense each muscle throughout your body, hold it for 5 seconds, feel the tension through the body part you’re doing it with and then slowly release the tension. Now notice how the feeling of relaxation differs.

Good food or your favourite food or chocolates always helps!

Exercise is a huge stress reliever.

Having a fun view of things also helps, like not being so serious all the time allows us to be a little bit free from the thoughts. It benefits physical health, as it reduces stress hormones, leads to good blood pressure, also for cardiac issues.

Having a journal is also a way- we can write points down, about when and where we feel stressed the most and then think where we can correct it.

Practising the four 4 A’s of stress management, which is – avoid, alter, adapt or accept. Avoid the unnecessary stress; also people who stress you out. Try to alter the situation if you’re not able to avoid it, express your feelings, don’t bottle them up. Adapt to the stressor, try to change your opinion, by thinking from another perspective, look at the bigger picture. Most importantly, accept the things which you can’t change, we can’t change death of a loved one, or an illness. In these situations, it’s best to accept them.

You know that point in your life when maturity hits you. For me, it was significant when I was in the age of 15-16, since then I’ve been able to understand and interpret things correctly, and this helped me a lot to move forward in my life because it became easy to cope with people. It gave me a different perspective to look through everything, to be straightforward, to understand people, and to give my best to everyone! Sometimes, it does feel as to why I should be the one who’s always understanding. Still, then I know these are my emotions, because I know I don’t want to think it that way, so coping with it does create a problem. But then I know I don’t want to change because then what will be the difference between me and others, so this way it becomes easy to hold!

Since last 6 months, we all are going through this severe pandemic, and many people have been productive, whereas some haven’t, and I think it’s acceptable both ways because everyone has their way of solving problems and dealing with it. I have been studying for my exams but yes enjoying the holidays more. Enjoying as in, having a joint family we all used to spend time together for 1-1.5 hrs playing cards and on Saturdays we used to sit whole night, just siblings, cooking, eating, having fun! I also started taking therapy after being diagnosed with PCOD.

And in between all this, my sister advised me to take an internship at NICHE Advocacy Foundation, and I agreed. Now I think that was one of my best decisions in the pandemic because this foundation has given me so much information and importance towards something in life in so less time.

One day one of my friend’s family member tested positive. I’d met her just a few days back only, so my family had been stressing a lot during that time because then I also had to get tested, so there was a lot of chaos, I was even quarantined in my room, but yes, my sisters and some of my elders were there for me and with me, they didn’t leave me alone, we sat together, they even tried cheering me up the whole time. But I was under a lot of stress because I have a small kid at my place and 17 other people excluding me. Half of us used to play cards together, so that stress, if I would’ve tested positive then probably whole family too would’ve, so overthinking about this and getting that guilt already was a big thing. But eventually, things went well, I didn’t have any symptoms, and everything was fine. We didn’t celebrate Rakshabandhan on the 3rd August because of the chaos, so we decided to celebrate it on the 8th August and honestly that 1 hr with everyone made me very happy, we dressed up, we received gifts, and we got clicked. A day later, one of my cousin brother and his wife tested positive, so all of us also rushed to the hospital, and got tested, we all were negative, got the home sanitised. Both of them were sent into different rooms, now there was 10x more chaos than before – taking so much of precautions and everything, it was necessary obviously, but adapting to it wasn’t easy. Five days later his father, one of my uncles, also tested positive, and he shifted to office, everyone faced some of the other issues during this time in my family. So from 29th July, all the stress still continues, even till date, because the number of cases has been raising, so tension and precautions, and because of having so much now there have been issues and arguments, One of the sessions of ITM-I attended about Emotions and Stress management, did help to think and proceed with pace. We were taught very nicely about how to manage our emotions and stress; we started with the activity of labelling a picture, telling about the physical reaction, thoughts in mind and actions. This gave a very good idea about how we should analyse these things first and then act upon it.

I learned a new technique, which I would want to share with everyone.

Applying ABC. – A, C-, B-, B+ and C+.

A is the situation you’re in
C- is the initial negative reaction

B- is the negative belief underlying the negative reaction

B+ is the positive belief which we get by thinking about our B- in another way.

And then you reach C+, which is a positive reaction.

I liked this very much, and it has also helped me since the session to think and react efficiently. I also learned about eustress and distress. Also, the list of promoting factors helped to think where to increase your energy and which part or thing has to be cut down. I also learned some techniques, like we should reverse count, have cold water, we should deep breathe (this personally helped me a lot), nurturing a hobby, physical exercise, yoga, good sleep, a good diet, time management is crucial for being stress-free. Searching for happiness- this is a very good thing one can do, search for it, even if in someone else’s happiness, learn to be happy for others too!

Another line, OUR PERCEPTION, OUR THOUGHTS, OUR BEHAVIOUR! This has a profound meaning and is very efficient. So just practice and practice and practice – LISTEN, BREATHE, ADMIT, GREET, EMBRACE, APPRECIATE, HOLD, PAUSE, FEEL, ACCEPT, etc.

Some more points about dealing with stress!

Whenever you feel lonely or stressed, put up some music and dance, watch the sunrise or sunset, connect with your loved ones, make time for yourself, DO AT LEAST ONE THING EVERYDAY WHICH MAKES YOU HAPPY, prioritise task, maintain a proper balance with things, view your favourite picture, think of your happy place, gain perspective on things like how important the problem is, judge yourself realistically, try keeping a positive attitude, WORRY LESS.

These things are said by a YouTuber/TEDx speaker, Paritosh Anand, which I would like to share with everyone,

Look FORWARD to things, and BELIEVE in yourself! Your belief will take you ahead, and it’ll make it to the end. Take One Step at a Time.

Embrace how your Past Failed you and Learn from it. Take those Lessons and Shape your Destiny! ONLY YOU possess the power to COMPLETE YOURSELF. TAKE THAT LEAP OF FAITH, AND FLY!



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