The happiness factor; tips to manage anxiety and stress

According to a new research, unhappiness or loneliness accelerates the aging process more than smoking. CE speaks to experts to find out more

author_img Reshmi Chakravorty Published :  19th October 2022 07:57 PM   |   Published :   |  19th October 2022 07:57 PM
Image used for representational purpose.

Image used for representational purpose.

An international research team has recently found out unhappiness damages the body’s biological clock, increasing the risk for Alzheimer’s, diabetes, heart disease, and other illnesses. According to Dr Charan Teja Koganti, MBBS,MD, consultant neuropsychiatrist, KIMS Hospitals and associate professor, VRKMC, Hyderabad, “Feeling unhappy is not just a parameter to measure mental health but also physical health as both are interrelated. Most of the patients that go to cardiology/gastrointestinal/orthopaedics departments often have a stressor or feeling unhappy that’s either manifesting as cardiac anxiety/stomach ulcers/chronic pain respectively.”

Mind and body form a two-way street. “Research has linked social isolation and loneliness as a high risk factor for many physical diseases such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, a weakened immune system, cognitive decline and alzheimer’s dementia,” says Dr Charan.

Agreeing with the international team of researchers, Dr BSV Raju, director and neurosurgeon, Aster Prime Hospital, Ameerpet, says, “Biological age is more important than chronological age. People often overlook another important modifiable factor for chronological age is state of mind (mental age). It’s essential to work on both physical and mental state to reverse the chronological age.”

As the previous researches depict, it has been found that people who have medical illness and have mental health illness can develop both severely, shares Dr Shyam K Jaiswal, senior consultant Neurologist, Care Hospitals, Banjara Hills. “Children and adolescents with chronic illnesses often face more problems when compared to their peers. In addition, they may experience tremendous forms of stress.

It can have a great impact on physical, cognitive, social and emotional development which can also be stressful for other caregivers. Young people having chronic illness have the same developmental issues as the ones who are healthy. Development can be disrupted with consistent visits to hospitals. Parents and healthcare providers should be cautious when it comes to the lookout for signs of depression, anxiety and adjustment disorders, as these conditions cause difficulty in coping with the stressful events of life,” says Dr Shyam.

Self-help ways to maintain good mental health
One can relieve stress with yoga, meditation and mindfulness.
Healthy diet and micronutrients are vital in maintaining good mental health.
 Maintaining a good social support system can go a long way.
Having adequate amounts of sleep can also improve mental health.
—  Dr Shyam K Jaiswal, Sr consultant  neurologist

Tips for managing anxiety and stress:
Eat healthy – One of the best ways to keep your immunity levels up and prevent viral infections is to focus on your diet. Do not give in to the urge to binge eat and reach for junk food.

Exercise regularly – Some of the best neurologists in Hyderabad believe that exercising is the best stress-buster and can keep off depression.  

Stay connected – The damage done by social isolation and anxiety is untold. It is very important in times like these to stay connected and share good times with family and friends.  

Take breaks – Quite often we put a lot of pressure on ourselves. Difficult times need a different approach. Once in a while, it may be a good idea to shelf the ‘To Do’ list and take a much needed break.

Seek help – Caring for people with other health issues, and for vulnerable groups like babies and senior citizens can cause anxiety. It is best to seek help.

—  Dr Shyam K Jaiswal, Sr consultant neurologist