Thursday, August 21, 2014

STRESS MANAGEMENT

STRESS MANAGEMENT
Musings of a Stressed Out Mind
By
VIKRAM KARVE

The title of this article may be a bit of a misnomer, but I have used it since it is a commonly used term.

An apt title would have been STRESS PREVENTION

I feel it is best to try and prevent stress rather than try to manage it.

How do you prevent stress?

I found the clue, long back, in a small booklet called “Thus Spake Vivekananda” which encapsulated the teachings of Swami Vivekananda in a nutshell.

I first learnt about Swami Vivekananda, sometime in the 1960’s, when I was a small boy and my father had taken us to visit Belur Math near Kolkata. 

At Belur Math I acquired a tiny pocket book called “Thus Spake Vivekananda”.

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.


AN INSPIRATIONAL GEM OF WISDOM FROM SWAMI VIVEKANANDA

Here is an inspirational gem 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.

The term “weak” embraces anything that creates in you a stressful situation.

Thus “weakness” includes all negative emotions and feelings like anger, irritation, fury, worry, anxiety, frustration, despondency, depression, demoralization etc, which, in a nutshell, cause unhappiness.

These negative emotions disturb your inner tranquility and equanimity, drain you emotionally and intellectually, and make you feel “weak” just like physical weakness.

Oh yes:

Unhappiness is Weakness

Unhappiness is Poison for the Soul


IDENTIFY YOUR UNHAPPINESS CREATORS

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,

Reflect and introspect on all your unhappiness-creators and unhappy situations.


UNHAPPINESS CREATORS

These unhappiness creators can be anything, tangible and intangible, things, activities and persons, and include:

1. Toxic individuals and incompatible persons, who irritate, annoy and hassle you
 
2. Foods and beverages (like Alcoholwhich don’t suit you and are physically detrimental to your health and well-being
 
3. Activities, social and personal, which may appear pleasurable, but which actually drain you out
 
4. Technology and Gadgets, like your cell-phone, which disturb your peace of mind

5. Strained Relationships, which are a source of unhappiness and cause stress in you

6. Any activity or thing that causes a guilty conscience within you

7. Disagreeable persons and unpleasant activities which are a stimulus for negative emotions like anger, worry, fear, etc and create negative vibes within you.

Close your eyes, introspect and think about all aspects of your life  your work life, your home life, your social life.

Think about all the persons, activities and things that generate negative vibes, create stress and unhappiness in you, things that make you feel “weak”. 

Then, follow Swami Vivekananda's advice: 

Anything that makes you weak physically, intellectually, and spiritually, reject as poison 

Yes, you can do it in actual life.

Just “reject” all these “poisonous” things and people by avoiding them as far as possible.

Make an exhaustive list of all your 
“unhappiness creators”  all the things and people that make you “weak” - and try to reject them as “poison”.  
 
At first you may be a bit skeptical about this approach.

But when you start implementing, you will be surprised how much of it is in your own control to prevent unhappiness.


SAY NO TO UNHAPPINESS CREATORS and WELCOME HAPPINESS CREATORS

While, on the one hand:

1. You reject the things that make you weak and unhappy

simultaneously, on the other hand:

2. You must reinforce the things that make you feel strong and happy

Say NO to unhappiness creators

Say YES to happiness creators  

Yes, if unhappiness is weakness”, happiness is strength.
 
So simultaneously, reflect and contemplate.

Make a list of things and persons that give you strength and joy and make you happy and productive.

Include all the things and people that create positive feelings in you.

Then try to devote as much time and energy to doing these positive things and interacting with these morale boosting people that give you strength and make you feel good and happy.  


MANTRA FOR HAPPINESS (and UNHAPPINESS) - IN A NUTSHELL
 
To put it in a nutshell, if you want to be happy:

1. Try your best to generate happiness vibes by doing things which make you “strong” and happy 

2. Try to reduce or even eliminate negative unhappiness vibes by rejecting” things which make you weak” and unhappy. 

(And if you want to be unhappy, just do the opposite  keep wallowing in negative vibes by encouraging your unhappiness creators and avoiding your happiness creators).


HOW TO CREATE HAPPINESS and HOW TO CREATE UNHAPPINESS

Whenever I feel unhappy, I realize that it is because I have allowed myself to be overwhelmed by my unhappiness creators.

And the moment I envelop myself with my happiness creators, I start feeling happy.

Remember this saying of Swami Vivekananda:

Anything that makes you weak physically, intellectually, and spiritually, reject as poison 

(Conversely, I say: Anything that makes you feel strong, imbibe as nectar)

Implementing this inspiring gem of wisdom from Swami Vivekananda is breathtaking in its simplicity. 

Try it – experiment – discover your happiness creators and unhappiness creators.

Start making your two lists and then you know what to do.

This works for me and I am sure it will work for you. 

I do feel stressed out and unhappy at times, but I know why  and I know what to do – so I try my best to make my unhappiness creators disappear and overwhelm myself with happiness creators.

Wish you a stress-free life filled with happiness.

VIKRAM KARVE
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Disclaimer:
All stories in this blog are a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the stories are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

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Revised version of my article written more than 20 years ago and

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