It could be obvious, but allow me to say it anyway.
I’m not looking to remove stress entirely from my life. I can achieve that only when my desires drop to zero. And desires, I have in plenty. So, I plan to live with it.
Just about every day seems to be filled with stress, isn’t it?
There are so many of them in my life every day. Some stresses pass by quickly. Some others stick around like a parasite.
Then there is the stress from rejection and loss.
- Rejection of any kind – exclusion in a friend circle, in a work place, in the society – is really stressful. We all want to be, made to be, included only – not excluded.
- Loss of health and wealth can be immensely stressful. Loss of a loved one even more so.
- Being put down and being belittled causes stress that just doesn’t go away. It returns with a vengeance every time I recall it.
Stressful situations arise whether they are caused by myself, by others or by nature (cyclones, floods, fire, earthquake).
There is a natural order to everything in life. This order is inviolable. Stress happens when I resist the functioning of this order. The root cause of stress is my need to control external things and happenings to go my way instead of accepting them the way they are and the way they happen.
Acceptance does not mean abandonment, resignation or throwing in the towel. Nor does it mean a fatalistic attitude to life. On the contrary. Acceptance is an active engagement with the game of life. It is a reverential marvel at the divine design. It is an wonderment at the divine presence. It is a cheer to the unfathomable delight with which the game of life throws challenges and opportunities my way and coaches me to rise up to them.
My selfishness has a lot to do with my stress level.
Fortunately, I can prepare well ahead to handle a stressful situation before it happens so I’m not stressed-out as much when it does happen.
After equipping myself proactively to handle it, when I do find myself in the midst of a stressful situation, I can manage it further with a few simple action steps. I must take steps to improve both myself and if possible also the situation. Specifics to improve the situation must be tailored to the situation.
Stress is basically a beneficial tool. Every bit of it teaches me a lesson on how to be smarter, stronger and quicker in endorsing the divine design in life and in doing my part in accordance with it . But depending on how I react to a stressful situation, I think of it as positive or negative, feel happy or stressed-out. But stress remains a teaching witness only.
Stressful situations like consistent and repetitive domestic violence and abuse are best managed by decoupling from the situation. As in all stressful experiences, especially when losing a loved one, seeking the shelter of Bhagavan is the most beneficial action. When dealing with a difficult boss, life can become hell if not managed properly. [See Boss problems at work?]
I cannot avoid stress in life. My mind walks the walk of life, and desires rub generating stress. I need to remind myself, as often as needed, that “this too shall pass”.
A peaceful mind, however, does not get stressed out. Mind can become peaceful only in the company of the indweller. [saantim nirvaana paramaam mat samstham adhigachchati BG 6.15]
To taste that company, love is the only way [prema eva, Taitreeya Upanishad].
I must live in Love. Then stress management happens by itself.
Wishing you a less stress-prone life, dear reader.
[This post is in response to a request from a reader of the Boss Problems at Work? post]