Managing stress is just a mind game!!

A simple way to beat stress and bring peace and order to your daily Life: at all times, irrespective of what the circumstance may be, do what is important and do it very well.
There are always tens of things to be done on a daily basis. Some of these things are routine stuff like driving yourself to work or checking your mail. Or doing the dishes or dropping the kids off to school. In between these kind of tasks we often get rude shocks, unexpected events that need to be attended to urgently__a flat tyre, a sudden visitor at work or at home, a distress call from a friend or an urgent customer situation. And then there are the important stuff to be handled: presentation on new market strategy at work, college admission forms to be filled in for your older one, a gym routine that you have to keep up and the re-tiling of your entire kitchen floor. Mondays ~ Sundays, this story of frenzied living plays itself out, week after week. The routines, the emergencies, the important, unavoidable, non-negotiable stuff may keep changing the way it may surface in our lives, but their nature is the same. Their nature is to bring stress. To put us in a permanent pressure cooker state. Leaving us cooked completely!
So, where’s the room to live intelligently, you may wonder? There sure is: Listen to stress therapist and thinker Danzae Pace: “Stress is the trash of modern Life – we all generate it but if you don’t dispose of it properly, it will pile up and overtake your Life.” The way to dispose of stress is to continuously be mindful of what you do. Each day, do only one or two important tasks. Don’t crowd your days. And know, be aware, that each day will have to have its share of routine tasks, however mundane they may be, and again, each day will throw up its share unexpected events, meetings and twists. When you are aware and mindful of each moment, focusing on one activity at a time, your stress levels are easily managed. Stress may still rear its ugly head, every time an unplanned event surfaces, but your mindfulness helps you respond to it intelligently than react to it violently! Know that your Life’s Inbox will never be empty. There will be newer tasks and newer shocks always coming your way. The best way to live your daily Life is to not constantly think too far ahead. Within a day’s schedules, look at what’s most important and do it well, in that day’s circumstance or situation. If you had an important business meeting planned for the afternoon, but at lunch time if you got a call saying your father’s been taken to hospital, focus on being at the hospital, fully mindful to your prayerful presence there. Don’t focus on losing that important business deal or not meeting your targets for the month. Focus instead on the routine tasks of having a friend pick up your kids’ from school or even catching up on some sleep.
There are no techniques to manage stress. It is just a mind game. Close or minimize one window of your mind and open another to work on the given circumstance. But whatever you choose to do, do it well. Do it in peace. The intelligent living perspective is to live well, and live really well, till the end, whenever it arrives!

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People are – and will be – different from you!

Don’t expect everyone to be like you and to agree to everything you say or do. Simply accept the diversity in people around you! 
Last evening I watched Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani (Ayan Mukerji, 2013, Ranbir Kapoor, Deepika Padukone) one more time. In one scene in the movie, Padukone, while examining her relationship with Kapoor, tells him: “Tum galat nahin ho; bas mujhse alag ho!” It means: “You are not wrong, you are just different from me!” I thought that’s a wonderful way to relate to people that we have relationships with.
Much of your strife in relationships comes from wanting people to understand you, from wanting them to see your point of view and from wanting them to agree with you on everything. Now, this isn’t really ever going to happen. So we go on piling this impractical, unreasonable expectation on people around us and, therefore, we continue to wallow in grief and suffering when our relationships fail.
I have learnt this lesson the hard way. Initially, I used to have a huge problem in an all important relationship with my own mother. This caused me enormous grief and inner strife. But when I learned this lesson, I found my whole attitude change to one of acceptance – of our diametrically opposite ways of looking at and dealing with Life and of our different outlooks to how it must be lived. The day I stopped wanting to be right and stopped demanding that only my view be respected, I became peaceful. When I made my peace – over the way things were – I discovered how simple Life really is. I realized that we complicate it by expecting people around us to be a certain way.
Every relationship, in fact any relationship, is stressed when we try to apply labels of right and wrong or impose dos and don’ts to whatever’s happening in it. The best way to avoid that stress is to accept that people are, and will be, different. That there’s no right or wrong – there’s just a different point of view. And through such a simple, relatable framework, you build and sustain beautiful, ever-evolving relationships.

Travel light – travel far and in comfort

The concept of good health immediately points to our physical condition. But many of us are carrying too much weight in our minds – excess emotional baggage, born out of past experiences and anxieties about the unborn future. Unless we offload them, we can’t make much progress in Life!
The human mind is always engaged in thoughts. It’s like a freeway. Thousands of thoughts keep coming on that freeway. And most of these thoughts pertain to anger, hatred, fear, insecurity, jealousy, grief, guilt, sorrow and very few deal with inner peace and joy. Resultantly, each day, we are carrying the excess emotional baggage of several debilitating negative thoughts. Just like a flight agent will charge you for excess baggage, you have to pay a price for your emotional baggage too in Life. And that price is through a challenged physical and/or mental condition – diabetes, hypertension, stress, depression, insomnia and what not!
The way to offload your excess baggage is to do two things: 1. When you wake up every morning focus your attention on the day ahead for a few minutes and remind yourself that you will not bring any of the past or the future into your day. 2. Before you go to bed focus your attention on a peaceful night’s sleep and remind yourself that you will not bring any of your past or the future into your night. This could include reminding yourself about anything that’s going on in your Life – from a relationship issue to a fear of someone or something that’s gnawing at you to anger over a business deal or an insult someone has heaped on you to anxiety over losing a job…whatever. Whether you pray daily or not (depending on your religious preferences), do this twice daily, religiously. Watch yourself slowly, over just a few days, anchoring in inner peace.
This practice is adapted from an ancient Zen story.
Two monks, one of them in his 60s and the other in his 20s, were once travelling together along a mountain road. A heavy rain was falling. Coming around a bend, they met a lovely girl in a silk kimono and sash, unable to cross a small stream that was overflowing. The current was ferocious. And obviously the pretty young thing was scared she would be washed away should she step into the water.  

“Come on, girl,” said the younger monk. Lifting her on his back, he carried her across the stream and set her down on the other bank.

 

The older monk was aghast at what had happened. Monks were not to touch women under any circumstances. He angrily crossed the stream and grunted several times to see if the younger chap would notice his discomfort. He did not speak again until late that night when they reached the monastery. He no longer could control himself. “We monks don’t go near females,” he said. “It is forbidden by our monastery’s law. Why did you do that?”


“Sir,” said the young monk, “I left the girl there, by the riverside. Are you still carrying her in you?”

This lifetime is too short to be weighed down by emotional baggage. So, as much as you would focus on your physical health, focus also on losing, or offloading, the weight you carry around in your mind. When you travel light, you travel far, and travel comfortably!