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In my opinion the term “Stress Management” is an oxymoron.
First you create stress within yourself, and then try to “manage” it.
Funny, isn’t it?
Why not prevent stress in the first place?
Focus on “stress prevention” rather than “stress management”.
Let us try one way how to do this.
Long back, sometime in the 1960’s, when I was a small boy, my father took me to visit Belur Math, near Kolkata, and there I acquired a tiny pocket book called “Thus Spake Vivekananda” which I cherish even till today.
Whenever the chips were down, or I felt dejected, I referred to the inspiring gems of wisdom, distilled from the complete works of Swami Vivekananda, for instant motivation and strength.
Here’s one of those gems of wisdom [a phrase from the sayings of Swami Vivekananda]:
Anything that makes you weak physically, intellectually, and spiritually, reject as poison
I feel that the word “weak” is all encompassing and embraces anything that creates in you a stressful situation like all negative emotions and feelings including anger, irritation, infuriation, frustration, despondency, depression, demoralization, unhappiness – anything that disturbs your inner tranquillity and equanimity, drains you emotionally and intellectually, besides literal physical weakness.
Oh yes, Stress is weakness, Stress is Poison!
Now sit down in a quiet tranquil place, close your eyes, introspect, and try to think of all the things that make you feel negative – all your stress-creators and stressful situations.
These can be anything – toxic or incompatible persons, who irritate, annoy and hassle you, foods and beverages which don’t suit you and are physically detrimental, activities, which may appear pleasurable, but actually drain you out, technology and gadgets, like your cell-phone, which disturb your peace of mind, and strained relationships, which are a source of stress.
Make an exhaustive list of all the things that make you “weak” and try to reject them as “poison”.
At first you may be a bit sceptical about this approach, but when you start implementing, you’ll be surprised how much it is in your own control to prevent stress.
While you reject the things that make you weak, you must also reinforce the things that make you feel "strong" and positive.
So simultaneously, reflect and contemplate, and make a list of things which give you strength and joy, make you happy and productive – all the things and people that create positive feelings in you – and try to devote as much time and energy to these positive things that give you strength and make you feel good.
This technique of stress prevention works for me, and I’m sure it’ll work for you too.
You can take my word for it that this stress management philosophy is very effective, probably because it is so breathtaking in its simplicity.
In a nutshell - Do things, meet people and go to places that give you POSITIVE VIBES and try to avoid, or minimize, Negative Vibes.