Theme of the week

Issue L (15.01.2012)

Thriving on Stress

Stress is an integral part of modern life. After a certain age, every person is loaded with multiple roles and responsibilities which at times do not seem to be interlinked also.  For instance, a person who is chief of a family may be needed to work in a position where he is not allowed to take any decision and is not given much regard. A lady administrator may find her professional role quite different from the role of a daughter-in-law or that of a wife. Besides this, many other factors springing because of fast pace of changes create a lot of stress.

However, there is a positive aspect associated with continuous stress. It taps the creativity lying hidden in a person and at the same time increases our tolerance level also.  Stress also motivates a person to work hard. Many times people realize their actual qualities when they are required to face stressful situations. Thus, most of the times, those who are required to undergo high stress are found to be more powerful, mature and creative also.

There are many advantages of stress. However, we are able to experience them only when we take some initiatives to manage stress positively. We are required to draw energy from seemingly stressful situations. The following steps can be taken to manage stress:

In day-to-day life, we can make the following habits part of our life style:

  • Identifying some of our unique qualities and consciously spending some time every week to express these qualities helps in generating positive energy which enables us to take extra mental, physical and emotional load easily.
  • We should create and express positive thoughts and positive emotions consciously throughout the day as far as possible. Positive thoughts and emotions help tremendously in overcoming the ill effects of stress. When there is no outlet to express positive thoughts and emotions, we can write them or draw them in a diary.
  • Doing some meaningful activity which gives us a sense of fulfillment should be made a part of day-to-day life.
  • We should find at least 20 minutes or more in the morning and at least 20 minutes or more in the evening everyday just for ourselves. In the morning, doing some breathing exercises or pranayam, meditation and or morning walk helps in collecting positive mental and emotional energy and peace which helps us throughout the day. When we feel deep peace during meditation in the morning, the whole day is generally spent peacefully and meaningfully. In the evening, reading a good book related to human life or biography of a great person, etc. and reflecting about it for a few minutes helps tremendously.
  • All of us have some expectations from our life which, when fulfilled, help us and people around us in some way or the other. Fulfillment of some of these expectations are in our control whereas there may be certain matters where we have no influence and still some, which are prone to create conflict whenever we touch them. The following figure depicts the situation clearly:

               Expectations From Life

Fulfillment in Self Control

Areas of No Influence(B)

Conflict Prone Areas

We should consciously focus on those areas where we exercise positive influence. Gradually, the positive influence spreads. People who are neutral or who a negative attitude for us also gradually start identifying our positivity and the size of “B” and “C” areas start reducing.

If at any point we feel that “B” and “C” areas are increasing, we should start working for increasing our emotional strength and communication skills.

  • When we feel acute stress or depression,  the following steps can help us in washing out our anxiety and negative thoughts:
  • We should start by forgiving ourselves and others. Whatever situation we are in may be highly important. But the more important fact is that everyone is evolving day by day. It is necessary to forgive ourselves and others to move further on the path of maturity. Instead of experiencing guilt or grudges, we should reflect deeply and honestly and take decisions for future.
  • We should draw some learning out of every stressful situation and, with the hope of implementing that learning, forget about the negative aspects of the situation.
  • When we feel hurt, we should immediately remind ourselves that there is something more to understand.
  • We should read a quality book, listen to soft heeling music or go for a walk to help ourselves in balancing our hormones and the thought process.
  • Remember—stress, fears, and depression affect our mind and our body, not US or not our inner SELF. Our real power and happiness resides in our wisdom, our consciousness and our soul which are always free.

So, we can be HAPPY and under severe stress at the same time.
We can be highly effective and successful in our work when we are under tremendous stress.

Self Assessment

In this section, we give a small questionnaire just to facilitate the reader get a rough idea about an aspect discussed in the theme of the week in relation to himself or herself. In this issue a small questionnaire is being given to help you identify the symptoms of stress you may be experiencing at a particular point of time.

When stress crosses our tolerance level, it reflects in the following ways:

  • Physical ailments
  • Emotional instability
  • Reduced mental energy
  • Reactive behaviour

Identify Your Stress

Read the following statements carefully and give your response in terms of number according to the instructions below:
If you strongly agree, put 5
If you agree, put 4
If you somewhat agree, put 3
If you disagree, put 2
If you strongly disagree, put 1

  • I feel headache, backache, or pain in shoulders frequently.
  • I often suffer from constipation or diarrhea.
  • I feel tired or lethargic after working for some time.
  • I am suffering from a chronic ailment for more than last six months.
  • I often feel worried.
  • I am not able to laugh heartily or enjoy in a party or picnic.
  • I generally feel that people do not think positively about me.
  • When someone criticizes me, I feel deeply hurt and do not forget it easily.
  • I feel my grasping power is not as good as it used to be.
  • I have to read a page several times to properly understand its contents.
  • I tend to forget easily something which I have put somewhere recently.
  • Many times I miss out some obvious details of a situation or an object and take some wrong decisions.
  • I get angry if somebody goes against my values or my instructions.
  • Many times I am not able to talk clearly and effectively to other people.
  • I immediately react if someone shows temper towards me.
  • People often feel that I impose myself.

 Scoring Key

Symptoms of Stress




Physical Ailments




Emotional instability




Reduced mental energy




Reactive behaviour








Analysis of Scores

The range of scores on each symptom ranges from 4 to 20 and the total score can vary from 16 to 80. Thus, a total score below 32 would indicate low stress, score between 32 and 48 would indicate medium stress, score between 48 and 64 would indicate high stress, and score above 64 would indicate very high stress.

Suggested Life Experiments

  • Manage Your Subconscious Mind:

For next one month, notice your thought processes when you drive, when you lie down for a nap or when you sit down to study. Many times, the mind starts wandering with negative thoughts and feelings.
This happens because there are negative recordings in our system and the mind is programmed to replay them whenever we allow it some free time. However, we can also reprogram our mind.
Everyday in the morning just when you wake up, consciously shed off all the fears which were in your mind till last night or during your dreams. You can do some breathing exercises and meditate for a few minutes to help yourself feel totally positive and relaxed. Every day in the night just before you sleep, read a book with an intention to get a new insight or an answer to your problem. To your surprise, you will start getting the insights within a few minutes if you continue with this habit. Start thinking of the new hopes you get from this insight and go to sleep.
It is believed that whatever is processed in our mind when we are partially conscious gets reflected during our communications and affects our life. By constantly watching and controlling these thoughts when both conscious and subconscious mind are active, we can gradually facilitate our conscious mind to control the subconscious mind.
Listening to soft heeling music while going for a nap and doing routine activities can help us further in putting the burden of negative emotions off the subconscious mind. The day when the subconscious mind is totally free and pure, our positive wishes get properly established in subconscious mind and get fulfilled.

  • Forgive Yourself and Others  

Find an appropriate time every week when you can sit down and relax yourself totally without any interference for at least 30 minutes. Think very honestly about the guilt and grudges in your heart. Remind yourself that there is a supreme power or cosmic power because of whom this universe is running, who is the creator of all the resources and who takes care of all when someone deeply feels its presence and gets linked. This power is helping everyone evolve day by day. Surrender all your feelings of guilt and grudges to this power. Let the supreme power forgive everyone so that they do not protect themselves with the same negativities. They can make a fresh start. Forgive yourself and let the supreme power forgive you. Make a fresh start of your life.
Continue this practice for next three months and see the changes in your communications and in your relationships.

Your Comments

JSXxuuDwtHOZwe Really, raelly important topic here D’. Sadly, the ‘mental sabotage’ starts when many are young and just continues to get worse and worse over time. I honestly believe that this is a subject that should be taught in public schools, it’s that important.

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