Responses ranging from family problems to work tension poured forth from the uniformed personnel of the Central Industrial Security Force in the room, as Inspector-General of Police M Ravi sought to know the meaning of ‘stress’. It was the first-ever workshop conducted by the CISF’s Southern Headquarters on ‘Stress management’ and not without reason.
Growing concern over the rise in the number of shooting incidents involving the force personnel due to domestic or workplace-related tension led to the Bureau of Police Research and Development-sponsored workshop, said T Prabhakar, Inspector, CISF. “There have been several incidents in which our personnel either committed suicide or opened fire on their superior officers for reasons like denial of leave,” he said. “Due to manpower shortage, they also have to put in long hours of duty and do not get enough time to spend with their family. All this leads to stress,” the officer pointed out.
The workshop held at the Seafarers Club on Wednesday saw the participation of 45 CISF personnel drawn from the ranks of assistant sub-inspectors to assistant commandments from the southern region.
“For police personnel like us, wearing uniform itself is stressful,” said Ravi inaugurating the workshop. “At the same time, we cannot perform well without stress,” he added.
A fitness enthusiast, with several laurels to his credit as a badminton player, it was no surprise that he drew a parallel with a shuttle racket to explain his point. “If the racket does not have proper tension, then we cannot play. If there is too much tension, it will break,” he pointed out.
Posing a query to the officers on what they understood by stress and listening to their responses, he described its meaning in a nutshell: “Stress is the automatic response of the body to the physical and mental response to a challenge or demand.”
Calling it a fright-flight-fight response, the senior police official said the physical manifestations were due to biological and chemical reactions taking place inside the body, triggering anxiety, depression, blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes.
While peer pressure, pressure from senior officers and the continuous call of duty were major trigger factors, he said that stress started from home and emphasised on the need to build harmonious relationship with family members.
Cautioning the personnel against resorting to consuming alcohol for stress relief, he exhorted them to pursue meditation, yoga, techniques like progressive muscle relaxation, games and hobbies like dancing, reading books and listening to music in order to de-stress themselves. “Cultivating a positive attitude, balanced outlook and mindset, ability to accept failure, proper planning and prioritising the priorities are vital for stress relief,” he said. Experts from different fields are expected to address the three-day workshop on various topics like ‘Interpersonal relationship’, ‘Changing mindset key to stress management and ‘Yoga, meditation and spiritual aspects’.