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ANXIETY, STRESS, DEPRESSION

A degree of anxiety is normal at some stage in most people lives, but it can develop into an emotional disorder characterized by feeling of fear. Women appear to suffer from anxiety more than men. The sufferer may have panic attacks, with symptoms of increased, heart and breathing rate, a rise in blood pressure and blood sugar level, pallor, sweating, shivering, and dilated pupils. Emotional symptoms include insomnia, nightmares, lack of concentration and frustration. Different coping mechanisms work for different people. When applied to job performance there is an important difference between arousal and anxiety. Arousal is the experience of being in a heightened state of consciousness. You are motivated alert and ready to perform the job. A low level of arousal can actually facilitate your job. But when the level goes too high, it can actually decrease your efficiency and performance. Work place anxiety can have serious consequences. It can cause employees to use prescription drugs, forgo leisure time, suffer physical ailments and affect their overall well being work place anxiety can cause clinical anxiety disorders, generalized anxiety disorders, obsessive compulsive disorders, panics, and phobias.

Stress is any external or internal influence that has an adverse effect on the functioning of the body. These influences include physical factors such as disease or injury, or mental ones, particularly anxiety. Some degree of stress is necessary to keep people alert. Problems develop when a person can no longer handle the emotional, physical and mental stress encountered in every day life. Symptoms such as fatigue, nausea, indigestion, palpitation, insomnia, anxiety, irritation, headache and chest pain may develop. A stress changes the hormonal balance in the body and lowers the immune system leading to higher risk of infection. Stress incontinence is an involuntary release of urine as a result of some action that increase abdominal pressure on the bladder. It is caused by weakening of the pelvic floor muscle which can occur after childbirth.

Depression is an emotional and mental state of extreme sadness, disappointment and frustration that disturbs normal patters of behaviour. It has a range of severity and is a very common disorder that affects more women that men. Doctors generally distinguish between two types. Reactive depression starts as a natural reaction to a stressful situation or event. Reasons include death of a family member, unemployment, divorce cases, marital conflicts, financial worries, loss of property, broken love affair. Endogenous depression is that depression which has no obvious cause. It can be caused by changing harmone levels or can develop after some sickness such as glandular fever or infections hepatitis. Anyone may feel depressed at some time in life, but depression becomes an illness only when the symptoms are long- lasting or severe enough to interfere with normal functioning over a period of months or years. Symptoms of depression include weepiness, inability to feel pleasure, forgetfulness, low self-esteem, loss of appetite, weight loss or gain, sleep disturbances and insomnia, and headaches, indigestion, restlessness, loss of interest in work, lethargy, feelings of helplessness, anxiety, mood shifts, fatigue, sad facial expression, lack of concentration, and inability to work. Thought of death and suicide can occur in the severely depressed. Many people believe that depression in some women results from unrealistically high expectations of combining a successful career with family life. Married women often have worse mental health and higher rate of depressive illness than single women. Married women often suffer from postnatal depression which is a form of depression that occurs after childbirth. It may be caused by the rapid change in harmone levels that occur after birth or by the birth experience itself, especially if this did not meet an expectations. The main symptoms are irritability, extreme fatigue, insomnia, anxiety, hopelessness, guilt, lack of concentration, panic and obsessional thoughts.

Stress is a term borrowed from physical sciences and means the bodily and mental strain a person is subjected to in the course of this reactions and adaptations to the threats, challenges and pressures of life. Dr. Hans Selye, authority on the subject says, stress is too well known but too little understood In simple words he defined stress as the rate of wear and tear of the body

In yogic terminology mental stress is chitavikshepa. Different forms of chitavikshepa described by a Patanjali are : Vyadhi, Styana,Samshaya, Pramada; Alasya, Avirati, Alabdhabhu mikatva. These create hindrance not only on the path of yoga but also in our daily life. People under stress shows the following physiological reactions

Overall increase in metabolic rate; increased perspiration and decreased skin resistence; decrease in the alpha wave activity of the brain, higher lactate concentration in the blood, increase in blood sugar, change in the acid base balance of the body, increase of base excess, retention of sodium and excretion of potassium deposit of large amount of calcium salts, increase in the activity of neurohormones, especially of the adrenal and pituitary glands and secretion of cholesterol, accelerated heart rate and cardiac output.

Psychologically, the stress covers all forms of response to fear, anxiety, conflict, frustration, arousal and tension. There is an intimate relationship between the mind and body. One affects the other but mind is more powerful than body. It goes without saying that medical science has done an excellent job in either eliminating or decreasing the scourge of many dreadful disease. But despite its great achievements, medical science has not been able to deal with psychosomatic disease. The doctors have nothing but tranquilizers, sedatives, anti depressants and anti-pain  drugs to prevent and cure anxiety, stress and depression. But it has been proved beyond any doubt the pain-killer and drugs prescribed for the cure of psychosomatic disease are not only harmful but also habit-forming. The constant use of these drugs for a long time can cause constipation, impaired memory, sleep disturbances, lack of energy, agitation of the mind, irritability, muscle pain, loss of appetite, nausea and depression. Depression is a serious and painful feeling which can occur to anyone at any stage of lite in mild or severe, fleeting or permanent, acute or chronic degree. Some people experience the feeling of depression worse in the morning and relatively better in the afternoon. While others who have chronic depression have low mood throughout the day. It is described as a block cloud round the head or numb sort of feeling. People who suffer from depressive illness have different thinking about themselves and about others. But giving vent to such expressions, I am a nuisance to my family, Death alone can end my misery. I am undesirable to my husband, My wife is not faithful to me. Many distressing expressions and experiences occur to the person suffering from depressive illness. Moreover, the sufferer may show symptoms of muddled thinking, impaired concentration, sweating, worrying, palpitation, indigestion, dry mouth, diarrhea or constipation, indecision, drowsiness, weight loss, in some cases increased appetite, loss of energy.

Yoga is an integral subjective science whose spiritual, mental and physical import cannot be separated from each other. An important reason for the affliction in our world is that the modern man, due to complexity of existing culture, can neither express nor fulfil his desires in a natural way; nor can be get rid of his ever increasing ambitions. The simple and natural life which has been lost by the human society could not be substituted by the cultural sublimation and eradication of fundamental instincts and passions. A deep void and perplexity full of struggle is the tragic tale of modern man. Today human beings are subject to more intense and frequent stress and strain due to a faster pace of life. The practical acquisition of yoga is the attainment of Chitta free from tension and depression. Yoga techniques beings based on wisdom oriented restraint and contentment uproot the desires and produce calmness in the mind. Yoga, having analyzed human behaviour, searches out the inherent catalystic element that i.e Kama element in it. The Avidya is the inclination of mind to search for the self in the objects other than the self. In yoga, the purgation of protruding emotions can be catharised without suppression. According to Freud libido is the main force at the root of impulses, passions, fatherly or motherly love, devotion of Lord, materialistic fascination,  anger, envy, suspicion, emulation, hunger, passions, thirst,lust etc are all expressions of this power, These passions colour all the activities of the individual in their own colour and through them Kama is expressed as well as ethical ego which does not recognize them, does not allow them to be fully expressed and the struggle of these two elements generates stress and depression. But in yoga this process of catharsis can be implemented in two ways. So long as the suppressed passions are concerned through shavasana the unconscious samaskaras are allowed to protrude frelly. Then they are made known through the powers of the mind which could further be catharsised. The subtle seeds of this process of catharsis are found in Prathahara of Patanjali Yoga. In psychology when protruding emotions are controlled or obstructed by self-imposed ethical powers then the repression takes place wherase in yoga the seer spiritual discriminatory wisdom which transcends even ethical ego precreates restraint and thus the emotions are purgated. In this purgatory process, other parts of yoga may also prove to be important and useful. Since the emotions have both physical and mental dimensions, Pranayama andAsanascsan be helpful for their catharsis. Depression which are from a proven chronic physical ailment can be removed with help of yoga. Various asanas to the state effects according to the state of development of the individual. Pranayama exercises namely Ujjyi pranayama, Kapal Bhati, Sitali Pranayama,Brastrika Pranayama lead to purification of cells, tissues and other parts of the body. Asanas namely Vajarasana, Sarvangasana, Bhujangasansa, and Shavasana are highly beneficial. Brain with billions of nerve cells is the most sensitive and highly complex organ in the body. This organ requires enormous quantity of blood. Most of the nervous disorders are caused by inadequate nourishment of the brain. At the initial stage, the individual feels fatigused, then his memory begins to impair and head and hands start trembling and other senses become dull, This is followed by the disturbances of the sense of balance, melancholy and depression. Shirshasana and Shirshaasna remove mental tension, anxiety and depression. Shirshaasna and Sarvangasana can improve the functioning of the cerebral and endocrine glands.

Yoga is more than mere philosophy or ideology. It includes healthy habits of living, right attitude and all the patterns of behaviour. The role of asanas and pranayama in removing stress and depression have been discussed. Meditation is one of the most important aspect of Patanjali yoga. It is of course difficult to control the mind with Meditation. For Meditation the mind must be calm and we must realize that divinity in some degree is present in every individual. We must also have regular habits of foods, good sleep and good habits. The role of Mantra in Meditation has been discussed in detail in Mantra yoga and hypertension. According to yogic philosophy there are four states of consciousness

a. Walking state

b. Dreaming state

c. Dreamless sleeping state

d. Turiya state or state of super consciouness, in which we attain a silent and pure awareness. According to yoga experts one must learn to know the self by directing one mind to look towards inner self. This can be achieved by the process of Mantra yoga or Meditation. The experience of knowing the self is difficult to attain but it can be achieved by the constant and regular practice of Meditation. The aim of meditation is inner happiness and harmony. One can achieve this aim by adopting any method of Meditation everyday. Thus by regular practice of Asanas, Pranayama and Meditation one can get rid of stress and depression and attain peace and happiness.

Sexual life: Married people must lead a well regulated sexual life. In taking up Yogic Asanas and Pranayamas, a well-regulated sexual life is necessary to derive maximum benefit therefrom. Sexual energy is the greatest power of the body and mind. This is the supreme strength in the human body embodying all power and assuring all forms. Instead of wasting this power, it should be checked and controlled and converted into great mental energy called Ojas shakti. Most of the maladies, disease, miseries and suffering of a being are due to reckless sexual enjoyment. Married people who desire peace, happiness and longevity of life, should therefore lead a well regualted sexual life.

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