INTERVIEW OF THE WEEK: Accept the stress to heal

INTERVIEW OF THE WEEK: Accept the stress to heal

Unhurry team interviewed Dr Samir Parikh, an eminent psychiatrist and Director of Department of Mental Health and Behavioral Sciences Department , Fortis National Mental Health Program, on how you should recognise and address stress. Dr Parikh has played a significant role in enhancing the image and reach of mental health across the country. Excerpts below:

What as per you is the reason for the rise in anxiety, depression and stress?

The key reasons why stress is increasing in the society are manifold. Poor work life balance being the most primary, has become even more prevalent due to the increasing digital interface that we find ourselves amidst, not being able to spend time doing activities that one finds joyful and reduced time for the self. And then, the ever evolving nature of relationships and transitions people have gone through over time has also had a significant impact on their mental health. A healthy lifestyle, open communication, talking to people, establishing a work life balance, having a work ethic, staying positive and optimistic are some  ways one can mitigate this stress.  

What are the 3 steps a young person can take when they feel stressed?

The first step to stress management is to acknowledge and accept the stress and identify the nature of thoughts and emotions associated with the experience. Once identified, the second step is to suggest an alternate thought to yourself which helps deal with the situation in a positive and adaptive manner. This helps in taking control of the situation and puts you in a better position to manage your thoughts. 

If you’re successful in implementing this, it’s a skill learnt. If not, the third step to stress management is to reach out and talk. Seek help from a loved one, friend, family, colleague or professional. #unmuteyourself

What are the signs someone should look out for to acknowledge their anxiety and seek help?

If you’re experiencing emotional distress, like feeling anxious or low, you feel that your thoughts are becoming more negative and you stay worried most of the time, these may be signs of anxiety. If you are observing behavioural changes within yourself or you’re withdrawing from people and getting irritable in your interactions. You see your academic or social life being significantly impacted and there is a lowered overall feel good factor, I suggest you talk to an expert. 

How can family members help someone with anxiety and depression?

The important aspect is that family members need to be supportive, provide for psychological first aid with compassion and empathy and make sure they don’t criticise the individual for their distress. Hand hold and encourage them to talk to an expert and during this process continue to be unconditionally positive.

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