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Stress in the Modern World: Blight of our Generation

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Nitasha Kapila:

Let’s face it. Are we weaker than our parents and grandparents? After all they managed to live through wars and did not seem to be in the state that so many of us are in today. True, but perhaps it was not that they were any tougher than us. Perhaps it lies in modern diets; all the “artificial” and genetically modified ingredients in our food. It might be a contributing factor for some people but eating to the healthiest of regimes is, alas, unlikely to remove stress from your life. Perhaps work is tougher for us today than it was in previous generations. Again there might be a vestige of truth in that people tended to work closer to where they lived and organizations were less subject to frequent change, but let’s not forget that our forebears had to deal with considerable work place stress. It’s only a relatively modern phenomenon to have employee rights, fair pay councils and tribunals. The simple facts are that for many people life was just as tough at work 50 yrs ago.

Some people are under stress for clearly identifiable reasons – a redundancy, bereavement, or ill health. Here the causes are obvious and to some extent cures become easier to identify. This doesn’t make the effect any more pleasant only that this type of symptomatic stress has been with humanity forever. When the problems are less easily pinpointed the causes can have as much to do with direction, roles and clarity. Many of the ill have experienced feeling “stressed”, anxious, and uneasy without a readily identifiable cause. It might even be on the contrary – good job, stable relationship, children, holidays and disposable income … and yet it still feels wrong.


They both are closely linked. It is well known that stress, either quick or constant can induce risky body-mind disorders. Immediate disorders such as dizziness, sleeplessness, anxiety, tension, nervousness and muscle cramps can all result in chronic health problems the long run they may also effect our immune cardiovascular and nervous systems, for many people the word health is represented by images of highly fit people working out in a gym or competing in some kind of energetic sport. Mention the word lifestyle and people associate good lifestyle with accessories as cars, dinning in fine restaurants, going to exotic locations for holidays. Perhaps there is far more to health than just physical aspect. In addition there is mental, emotional and spiritual health which all be seen to work together and lifestyle is diverse and much more than car you drive and money you earn.

Stress is any change in your normal routine or health stress occur when bad things happen, as well as happy things. Getting a raise or promotion is a stress even just getting fired from your job is stress. Science is constantly learning about the impact that stress has on overall health. Stress is or may be a contributing factor in everything from backache, insomnia to cancer. More than 905 of doctor visits are due to health related problems nowadays.


The experience of men in society has changed radically over the past few decades. Society is much more fluid and is characterized by shifting pattern of employment, relationship breakdown, highly varied family structures, intense workload, sometimes contrasting with prolonged periods of unemployment and reduced leisure time (for some). The role and lifestyle of men have changed just as rapidly. Nowadays people do less of exercise, physical work and take more of fast, junk food and due to family problems and stress, some get involved in criminal activities, which further increases stress and health problems.

There are various kinds of stress – Eustress, Acute stress, Episodic Acute stress and Chronic stress. Stress may further lead to various problem s like depression, diabetes, hair loss, heart disease, obesity, ulcers, cancer (possibly), sexual dysfunction , tooth and gum disease, etc.


Eliminating stress completely from your life is impossible; however implementing some stress management techniques can subdue some of its effects. Stress management includes following a healthy diet, regular exercise and making time for uninterrupted relaxation, try and maintain a supportive network in the form of healthy social relationships (keeping a daily diary also helps), understand what it means to relax (deep breathing techniques medically helps). One last tip is to get organized. Things tend to be tossed everywhere and important items get misplaced, which adds more stress. Take the few minutes it takes to tidy up a bit.

Live a little bit for today and a little bit for tomorrow. Don’t take tremendous pressure worrying too much about what tomorrow might bring. Enjoy today and take what comes simply from being. Good health cannot be derived solely from a gym, workout, it is equally important to be emotionally fit and balanced.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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