Author: Dr. Sona Kaushal Gupta, Director Dr. Sona Counseling Consultancy and Founder of an NGO PARIFOUNDATION

Member: L&D Global, Mumbai Chapter

Ships don’t sink because of the water around them but sink because of the water that GETS in them. Don’t let what’s happening around you, get inside you and weigh you down.

More than a third of teenage girls in England suffer from depression and anxiety says the In India stress, depression and suicides have increased from 7.9 to 10.3% says the movement I QUIT. The statistics of stress and its consequences are staggering. It is a wake- up call for all of us!

Stress is a silent killer, an epidemic, which has spread all over the world and engulfed thousands of unaware, innocent people, children, and youth in its vicious toxic web. It is a creation of our mind and lies within our mind, and like a parasite, it preys on it, making us emotionally and physically weak. There is some good news, however, that stress can be prevented, provided we know how to do so. It is also manageable if we have already succumbed to it. The sad news, however, is that Psychological Stress is a hallmark of many diseases, ranging from obesity, diabetes to heart disease and even cancer. Stress can lead one to depression, suicide, drug abuse, and many more maladies, which plague us and our society today. Now a large chunk of these diseases is labeled Psychosomatic—which means-diseases of the Body due to a stressed Mind.

There are a plethora of diseases that range from unexplained headaches, body aches, migraine, pseudo-seizures, GIT Disorders, Respiratory problems etc, the list is never-ending. People run from pillar to post, from one doctor to another, trying to find magic medicines which can cure them of these physical ailments, which have made their life a hell. Ironically, with the prescribed medicines, they do find momentary relief, but the symptoms just relapse and come back over and again, because The  Stress, which  the root cause of their illness, has not been addressed!

If Counselling is added to the medicines prescribed, whereby psychologists empower the patient and guide him to find solutions to his problems, and EMPOWER him how to say NO to stress, it shows remarkable results. Medicines have a limited role in countering stress, and their role is similar to the shredding of the leaves of a tree, which soon come back again because the roots of the tree are alive and keep nourishing the tree. The roots have to be sacrificed first- only then will the tree die. Similarly with psychosomatic illnesses. If we wish to get rid of our physical and emotional symptoms, we HAVE to address the root cause which has caused them—we have to address the stress factor underlying the disease.

What exactly is Stress? The term “stress”, as it is currently used, was coined by Hans Selye in 1936, who defined it as “the non-specific response of the body to any demand for change”. More simply put, it is a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances which we cannot cope with adaptively. Stress is not a viral or bacterial disease which can be cured with medicines like antibiotics or pain killers. It is a psychologically state in our mind which can be prevented or managed, provided we know how to think positively and learn how to cope adaptively with our problems. Stress develops IN our mind while the stressor, the challenge or the problem, as we may like to call it, lies outside

  • A difficult exam , an irritating boss, a nagging spouse, are all problems outside of us—which can cause stress IN our mind, by our negative or irrational thoughts.

So how do we counter stress?

Firstly, learn to accept what has happened, then with a stable mind, plan your next move. Acceptance is a skill which immediately makes one feel emotionally stable. Increase your resilience or Emotional strength, learn to be in high self-esteem, do not self- blame or be in guilt, learn to cope adaptively with problems, be adaptive to the changes around you, communicate well, understand other’s perspective, distance yourself and try to get another perspective of the same situation bothering you, and focus on the opportunities which means focus on the positive side of the situation, on your strengths and successes.

Let’s remember, It is not the things themselves that serve to unsettle the people, but rather their judgements and opinions of things. 

The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation but your thoughts about it. – Eckhart

Our body is well equipped to ring the alarm bell whenever we get stressed. We have anxiety, palpitations, headaches, various cognitive symptoms, breathlessness, appetite and sleep problems, various symptoms which tell us that we should be aware and take care of our self.

Various techniques teach us to MANAGE our stress, like Relaxation techniques, Breathing techniques, music, exercise, yoga psychotherapy etc.

Leaders are Role Models who are capable of steering their company and its people to greater heights, provided they are stress free and thereby emotionally stable. Not only should they be Intelligent and Knowledgeable but they should also be Resilient, Flexible, confident, empathetic and compassionate. A stressed Leader is an angry or irritated or frustrated person, who cannot bond emotionally with his colleagues or workers. That is the reason of unhappiness in most of the Corporate  offices today, where the workers feel insecure and stressed. Leadership has a RIPPLE EFFECT. A stress-free, happy Leader will have a workforce of happy stress-free people, who will not only be more job secure and more  work productive but will also engage readily in helping the Leadership to scale – up the Company.

Stress Prevention/Management Workshops should be held regularly in all Corporate Organizations and Counsellors should  help the  people be stress-free and cope better with their day to day strerssors. I prefer to coin the word  PREVENTION  OF STRESS, rather than Management Of Stress. After all, who would like to fall sick AND THEN go to a doctor to get medicines and recover? Prevention of stress is possible AND Prevention has always proven to be better than Cure.

Let us all learn and try to keep ourselves stress-free and happy, thereby creating a stress-free aura around us – which will not only make our family and work place environment MORE congenial, but will also make the society and hence the world a better place to live in.


Author: Dr. Sona Kaushal Gupta, Director Dr. Sona Counseling Consultancy and Founder of an NGO PARIFOUNDATION

Member: L&D Global, Mumbai Chapter