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Stress negation & management

Everyone understands/ experiences stress these days. There is physical stress, mental stress, emotional stress, financial stress and more. The bottomline is that anything that throws you out of harmony with your natural peaceful self is actually stress.

Not all stress is induced by the external environment. The catalyst of stress is always within. There is a stimuli received externally that reacts with the internal catalyst and causes stress. The internal reasons for stress include the following:

Laziness - Laziness can be physical, verbal, mental or emotional. Physical laziness means not working hard, mental laziness means not thinking hard. Come to think of it this way... we all can see/ sense the physical body, bones and muscles. What makes us think that the mind/ brain doesn't have muscles. These mental muscles also take time to develop and need to go through the mind gym. If you haven't exercised your mind enough, if you don't think and analyse regularly on activities that matter, than chances are that your mental muscles are not developed. Next time when something analytical/ logical and mentally strenuous needs to be done, you will struggle and get stressed out. This is the single biggest stress root cause for senior corporate executives. What can be done about it ? There are a number of books written on the subject. I personally find the books written by the Theosophical Society really useful to understand the mental body. The book is written by Arthur Powell. It will strain your mental muscles to read and understand it, but it is worth it. Talking about activities, it is beneficial to everyday reflect/ analyse your thoughts, words and actions the previous day. Were these thoughts, words & actions good, were these useful, were these positive, were these intelligent, were these constructive, did these help me achieve my noble objectives ? These are the questions we can ask of ourselves everyday. This exercise brings triple benefits [1] it helps you improve by introspection and self-evaluation, [2] it develops mental muscles to analyse (trust me analyzing yourself is one of the toughest jobs), [3] It helps you harmonize with 'life' and people/ objects/ situations around you. Try it out... Other book that I have found useful is "Thinking Fast and Slow" by Daniel Khaneman. It is a truly spectacular book that helps us understand the priming of the mind, which is another factor we are about to discuss.



Happiness is a planned outcome; not a coincidence


So what is the priming of the mind and emotions - in simple terms it means that our mind has two styles of thinking - Khaneman calls it System 1 and System 2. System 1 is the relaxed and natural state of thinking which is 'without filters'. It often includes the social thought patterns, our own calcified ideas about life, work, family, relationships and wealth. System 2 is the logical and analytical thinking that questions the conventional thought patterns and enables us to think different, more intuitive and out of the box. We need to carefully and systematically inculcate System 2 thinking, so that we can discern better. If you are a System 1 person with limited System 2 thinking, then chances are that you will struggle in dynamic and innovative environments. This is also a significant reason for stress


The other big reason for stress is to put simply lack of faith in life. Due to many factors including our upbringing, the world events, the muck of the media and internet and the society around us that often seems full of challenges of life, we all tend to live and believe in a rather insecure life. Often the negative incidents of life are magnified and stored in a large shelf space of our memory. The happier moments of life are often relegated to a corner of our mind. In general it helps to make conversations non-personal, as the problem is not with people but behaviors. This will happen automatically once you have faith in the process of life. This can happen rapidly through forgiveness of people who have hurt you, through forgetfulness of negative events and through joy of happy events of life. One must trust God, or the universal consciousness in which we leave, breathe and have our being. This is extremely important and this is the absolute truth many sages have talked about. How to increase our trust in universe / Every day take some time out to count your blessings. All of us have good health by and large, good family, good finances.. there is something good happening in every life at any point of time. Count your blessings and have gratitude towards life. Gradually this will become a habit and it will make you a magnet of attracting happiness and peace in your life.


The other big reason for stress is lack of holistic fitness. If you look at Yoga, it has many aspects to it. These include right thinking, right eating, right living, right breathing, right exercise, right contemplation, right concentration and right union with your intuitive self. This is true yoga. In the modern times only two of these that are right breathing (pranayama) and right exercise (yoga asana) have become popular. However the other six aspects are equally important. Think about it this way. You give your body nourishing and tasty food, you give your emotions interesting movies, gossip, adventure sports etc. But what do you feed your mind ? What do you feed your soul ? Mind and Soul are extremely important to be fed well. These can be fed through proper living and meditations that include contemplation & concentration. These are called as Dhyan and Dharana in India. It is very important to meditate. I find "Meditation on Twin Hearts" very useful to give me my daily dose of spiritual food. This is a highly advanced meditation and provides excellent results in form of inner peace and happiness.


Work life balance is yet another factor - You must find pockets of 'deep rest' in an otherwise busy life. For a bare minimum, sleeping well is really important. This doesn't mean long hours of sleep, instead it means deep sleep. For me a yardstick of deep sleep is when I don't know where I am when I get up in the morning. With God's blessings it happens with me every day. This brings in tremendous excitement to face life every day, because every day looks like a new beginning without any baggage of previous day or week, month or year. The time window after you wake up is very important as your mind can think clearly. So make use of this time to plan solutions for various tasks at hand.

Limited ability to upgrade your skills and talent - The future is extremely dynamic. It is pertinent that we constantly upgrade our skillsets. One of the key areas a client point out to me was about cognitive capabilities. This made me really think that are we cognitive enough ? Cognition is the ability to make decisions wisely, intelligently and systematically. Some amazing people I've spoken with often make 5 year plans of life with annual rethinking/ upgrades as needed. More often than a lot of my friends retreat to peaceful corners of the world be it in Himalayas or Western Ghats towards end of the year to contemplate about the year gone by and plan for the next year. Without planning there is no impetus and without impetus there is no action. In this regard, I have been fortunate to work with colleagues and seniors who keep upgrading themselves year on year to my amazement. It is really inspiring to be with such people.

Surround yourself with high energy highly inspiring and successful people - Many of us have mental blocks to be with such people, because we feel insecure, or deficient. This thought is like a calcified idea that must change. Often I have found that high energy and highly successful people are very willing to help others. They do not judge and are genuine to extend their helping hand in mentoring and nurturing as needed. Obviously they are really constrained for time, so whenever you find time with them make the most of it. But before all of this create your own mental image of become a high energy, highly inspiring and successful person yourself. The mental imaging and future planning is vital for holistic success. Holistic success is to have good spiritual, mental, emotional and physical health along with harmonious interpersonal relationships and successful life.

Lastly understand your strengths and development areas - This is self-explanatory. Do not commit yourself to tasks that are out of bounds because of lack of time, skill or inclination. Often we give emotional promises to fulfill tasks and activities that we have no idea about. This is accentuated by limited mental thinking about the intricacies/ activities/ planning required to execute a certain task. Before committing think hard if you have the inclination/ competence and time to complete a task. Don't be shy of asking for help if needed. You will be stressed if the development areas far exceed your strengths at your workplace. In that case either upgrade these development areas to your strengths or find a job/ activity that can be executed with your strengths. This is true for everyone as all of us have some strengths and some development areas. So don't be over-critical of yourself. You are your own benchmark. Ensuring that today is better than yesterday is a failsafe for a great life.

Hope this article helps you get more clarity on life. All the best. Pardon any grammatical mistakes as this isn't edited; typed as my thoughts flow through my fingers to the keyboard.

#pranichealing, #corporatewellness #Hyderabadishappy #innerpeace

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