These days, stress has become such an integral part of our daily life that we have forgotten what it feels to be stress free. The scriptures inform us that a stress-free state can be called a higher state – it has the characteristics of joy, freedom, peacefulness, alertness, a high state of connectedness with the external environment, fearlessness, a feeling of homecoming and a sense of inner power and mastery. Several seekers were given the title of ‘Swami’ when they reached this state.
However, stress management cannot be achieved casually. Rather, it is a process of evolving from a stressed consciousness to a state of centered and in-control consciousness. Stressed people live all the time in a state of constant reactivity – so if someone says something rude to them, they immediately retort and then fume over the remark for days. They become puppets in the hands of people and circumstances. As a result, they feel their life is not in their control and this makes them seek symbols of power – money, control over other people, status, glamour, rewards etc. Sometimes this inner vacuum is so high that outside symbols become the be all and end all of life, which have to be acquired at any cost.
Stress management begins with small steps. Initially, these can be in the realm of corporate skills but as an individual progresses further, it moves towards the realm of spirituality. There are no rules on how to destress oneself – it varies according to different individuals.
Some steps worth trying are:
Realising the immense potential of self: Many people have a limited assessment about themselves, which can be expressed when they say that ‘I am like this only, I have these fixed traits and they cannot change.’ The few able to transcend their limit-oriented minds become achievers, thinkers, philosophers, leaders and artists.
Facing the present: Many people are mentally running away from the present into the past or future. However, only attention to the present can create a beautiful future.
Acknowledging people as they are: There are many times when we wish that we could change the characters of the people we love. This creates stress, as we should realise that we cannot change others, we can only change how we respond to others.
Respecting one’s own body and life: Paying attention to one’s health and activities that keep us in good health can help one destress.
Working towards happiness seeking goals rather than only pleasure seeking goals: This is another sure-fire way to decrease one’s stress levels.