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How does Repose help with my stress?

Stress is the new buzzword! Though it was there all along, it is the millennials who gave the limelight it deserved and taken forward by Gen Z. With work life and personal life getting intertwined due to work from home and with never-ending deadlines, stress levels of people are on an uptick especially during the recent times.

Do not get us wrong here. Stress can be good too; it prevents us from being complacent and pushes us to do our tasks at hand. But left unchecked, it might do more harm than good.

To understand stress, let us delve a bit into the physiology of stress. Most physiological functions like heart rate, digestion, respiration are regulated by the autonomous nervous system. It comprises two opposing sets of nervous systems which work in tandem– sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. To meet the various demands of the body, the heart tends to pump blood accordingly. Thus, the change in the rate of heartbeats is the key to understanding the physiological response of our body to meet our daily demands. In scientific terms, this change in the timing of heartbeats is known as heart rate variability (HRV).

Stress is that state of tension when the body is in a “fight or flight” mode. This response is wired in our systems through evolution as a survival technique. When the body perceives danger, the sympathetic nervous system takes over. The most visible measure of it is a sudden increase in heart rate, pumping maximum blood to take care of any expected contingency. This will lead to a decrease in heart rate variability. Thus, a decrease in HRV is the most used indicator of stress.

Remember that the body cannot take any sustained state of stress. It is just not how humans function. Throughout the course of evolution, we experienced stress only when we are in danger and hence the bodily functions were altered only sparingly. Even when stress occurs, it is compensated with a sufficient rest period to recover from the harmful effects of stress. Under this state of rest and relaxation, the parasympathetic nervous system takes over.

With the current lifestyle, the body perceives stress more often than it should. This pushes the body to a situation where stress accumulates without a chance to recover from it. We tend to ignore it as we cannot see the effects of daily stress accumulation immediately. In fact, most of the time we cannot even understand if we are having any acute (one time) or chronic (repeated) stressors in our daily life.

The Repose platform helps you identify and quantify stress levels. It uses a state-of-the-art chest-worn wearable to collect ECG data for 24hrs and give a stress profile for that duration. This stress profile answers the questions of

1. What are your stress levels (both emotional and physical)?

2. which activities are causing intense stress to you?

3. whether the stress you are experiencing is acute or chronic?

4. Whether the stress you are experiencing is good stress or bad stress?

Here is a case of stress profile of a software employee over a day. We can observe high-stress regions at multiple instants and there is an accumulation of stress also happening. Once we identify stress, it is important to know what is causing it (the stressors). Repose helps you do it by providing an option to journal (integrated into the app) the activities done during the assessment period. After a couple of 24-hour assessments, you can understand the effect of your lifestyle on your body. This gives a clear picture of the stress you are experiencing and what are the acute and chronic stressors in your life. This shall provide you a cue on the intensity of recovery activities that should be integrated into your lifestyle to combat stress.

As they say, to know your enemy is half the victory. Once you understand the stress you are experiencing, you can make minor tweaks or major modifications in your lifestyle which either eliminate stress or add enough recovery to balance the stress. Thus, you can catch hold of your stress before it catches you and lead yourself to a path of long-term wellness.

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