Staying Healthy with Saloni: The ups and downs of stress

Staying+Healthy+with+Saloni%3A+The+ups+and+downs+of+stress

by Saloni Shah, Assistant Humans of Harker editor

Dear Eagles,

I look around my family room, and everyone seems stressed. My dad recently received a promotion at work, yet he seems more stressed. My mom is stressed because her dad – my grandfather in Mumbai, India is not well, and his health has taken a bad turn. And I am a high school sophomore trying to balance my academics and extracurricular activities, juggling to be the best at everything I do, so I must be stressed.

We ignore that there is stress in daily life which has positive connotation – there is good stress, like receiving a promotion and doing well in school. But these positive stresses are not the same as my mother feeling concerned for my sick grandfather.

There is distinction between the negative variety of stress termed distress, which often connotes disease, and eustress, which often connotes euphoria. Even though eustress inflicts less harm upon the body, the body responds to the negative stimuli acting upon it in the same way for eustress and distress.

Sometimes it’s hard to find, find my way up into the clouds. Tune it out, they can be so loud… Just keep breathin’ and breathin’ and breathin’ and breathin’ I know I gotta keep, I keep on breathin’.”

— Ariana Grande

Cortisol, our body’s stress hormone, spikes up with stress. It is usually higher in the morning than at night. A breakfast rich in protein, ideally between 25-30 grams, helps to normalize the cortisol levels.

As a response to stress, cortisol secretion increases in the body. We can manage both good or bad stress with stress management techniques to stay healthy and well. My father achieves this by diligently working out in the gym, whereas my mother focuses on yoga and nutrition.

Studies have shown that owning a pet can reduce stress and improve your health — unfortunately, I have lost this argument with my mother, who is morbidly afraid of dogs. So, I have to find other ways to control stress.

Unplugging myself from stressful situations and stepping out for a breath of fresh air always seems to calm me down. I also listen to music to alleviate my stress. From the notes of Travis Scott to Kygo to Ed Sheeran, music elevates my spirit and relaxes my mind. Research confirms the power of music on relaxation and stress management.  

I recently added Ariana Grande’s song “breathin” from her new album, “Sweetener”, to my collection. The song is about anxiety and panic attacks and breathing when you think you can’t. The lyrics of the song are powerful and can have a healing power on people who face such feelings of anxiety.

“Sometimes it’s hard to find, find my way up into the clouds. Tune it out, they can be so loud… Just keep breathin’ and breathin’ and breathin’ and breathin’ I know I gotta keep, I keep on breathin’.”

In health and wellness,

Saloni Shah

This piece was originally published in the pages of The Winged Post on Oct. 17, 2018.