How was the word 'stress' coined and why do we need to 'manage' stress...explains Baaba
In today's condition from the moment we open our eyes till we go to bed, we undergo a tremendous amount of strain. The loud beeps of the alarm clocks are required to wake us up every morning and our disgust knows no bounds when the alarm clock complies. That is when the anxiety begins to mount. Some just switch off the clock and get back to sleep only to regret later with an upset schedule. Others, who do get out of bed despite resistance, also undergo strain at least for some time. Each one of us is constantly under stress. How was the word 'stress' coined? Why should there be stress at all? Who creates the stress?
It is we who create the stress for ourselves because we do not understand the meaning of stress. We all want to experiment with stress, experience stress. Try going into your sub-conscious mind and ask yourself, you do want to test yourself, you would like to stretch yourself and want to know your breaking point. We wish to know what is the elasticity of stress? Why should we calculate our shearing force and bending moment? This is human nature. A human being would ignore all warnings and want to experiment himself. Right from childhood, this quality is present in a human being. You try to stop a child from touching the fire, he may pay heed to you for a while out of fear, but the moment you are out of sight, he wants to test whether the fire really burns.
The term "Stress management" itself gives a negative impression. It makes you conscious that you are under stress and you have to 'manage' the stress, which means that the stress is not the truth. What is management? Managing something implies we have to conceal the truth, the reality is suppressed. A person who thinks right, who executes his work in the right manner and at the right time, does not need to 'manage'. You have to manage another person because he does not work in the right manner. Why should there be stress at all? If there is no stress there is no question of managing it. Managing itself is a stress.
We do not believe in business ethics; we do not believe in the right time to eat; we do not believe in the right way of living; we want to create our own time also. God may appear to be partial as far as allotment of money, comforts, and material possessions are concerned, but as far as time is concerned, God has allotted the same 24 hours to each and every human being! People are often heard saying that they wished the day had 48 hours. No way! God has not provided this!
This is time management - you have to manage these 24 hours of your day to complete your work. In the work field various time management techniques like PERT and CPM are available which allot a fixed period for a particular job to be completed. Accounting period is available, budgets are fixed, sales targets have to be achieved within a particular time frame and all these departments are interlinked. Deviation in one department immediately has an effect on all other schedules.
We all start with time management from the day we born. Unfortunately, unlike the work field, in our life we are neither aware of the time provided to us, nor the finances available to complete the project. In our life the work has to be completed everyday, the scheduling should be for every moment. In case you fail to complete your project, your entire schedule is delayed. You then have to take another birth to complete the unfinished work. Time management does not stretch over several years, the time has to be efficiently managed because every moment is valuable. Most of us are unaware of our karmas or the project to be completed in this life, we keep piling or postponing small jobs, which builds up the tension and creates stress in us. The principle is the same whether it is the work field or your personal life - delay in execution of the scheduled work is the cause of stress in life. In order to relieve stress, time management is equally important. If we can tackle this efficiently, 50% of the stress is taken care of.
HOW DO WE CREATE STRESS
A small exercise will help us identify how we create our own stress. Let us divide management into three divisions:
Automatic self-critical thought/Cognitive distortion/Rational response
Most people, be it a businessman or an executive, during the process of working have some thoughts and expectations and these thoughts are which make us function. Our life is totally guided by our own thoughts and these thoughts are created by our education, by our background and by the experiences accumulated by us either in this janma or any previous janma. Upanishads refer to this as kaarya-kaarana (cause and effect). Cause is the reason why you execute a karma. If you do not execute your karma in the right manner, you are creating a kaarana for another kaarya. It may not be necessarily for execution of that particular work; they create the reason for eliminating the reason so you have to execute further karma in order to release that karma. While executing a job, if you do not create any further cause, there is no further karma to be executed. While working on a project report, unknowingly you commit a lot of mistakes. Now to eliminate those mistakes, you have to execute further jobs and this is called creating a cause. This is how we create stress.
Another small example will clarify this cause and effect principle. According to the Government rules and regulations you are not supposed to construct a building beyond 50 ft but you turn a blind eye to the laws and complete the construction with a 2-feet protrusion. The concerned executive cannot ignore it and you are asked to demolish the extension. You created a cause for a kaarya and now you have to execute a wrong kaarya to remove the cause. This may linger on for a number of lives. This leads to stress.
Automatic self-critical thought: most of us indulge in negative thinking right from the inception of a new project. The first thought itself is whether you would attain success. You approach a consultant who is an equally critical thinker because he can be a consultant only to you. If he were to start a project he would approach another consultant. If he can advise others, why not himself? Each one of is a critical thinker, we are born in such an era. In kaliyuga only negative thoughts prevail though it is possible to be in sathyayuga while living in kaliyuga. Time is a status of mind. A production manager's thoughts and actions are directed only on how to increase production. He is not concerned about sales and would try to utilize the machines to the end capacity. His thoughts are concerned with managing his own department.
The first lesson in management is to learn to manage yourself. If you cannot manage yourself it is not possible to manage an organization. If you cannot manage yourself and try to manage a sub-ordinate, you become a part of criticism amongst the staff. A group of people are also critical about their own thoughts and ideas. These are called critical or negative thoughts.
Cognitive distortion is when you exaggerate the personalities or over estimate the work.
Rational response is the reality.
Now honestly fill up these columns. Think of two major projects that you have been wanting to execute. The final rational response should bring out the following:
1. What are the problems you foresee
2. What are your first thoughts on that
3. What are the prospects you see.
Normally, we estimate problems, which cannot be solved by us. The moment we decide that it is a problem, the mind trains and tones itself not to solve them. If you do not want to execute a particular job, you always identify a problem in that job. For example, due to reasons beyond your control, either because you need financial assistance or because you want to avoid certain responsibilities, you are compelled to take a partner in your business. This is not what you want and hence your mind only has negative thoughts about a partner. It is your sub-conscious mind, which does not allow you to accept the thought of taking a partner. You do not want to face the situation and hence present it as a problem. The sub-conscious mind identifies it as problem throughout the life. Since your thoughts are negative right from the beginning, throughout the business life, that partner will always remain a problem to you. When a finished product comes out of the factory and you identify that it has a certain problem, even when it is rectified, your mind cannot accept that the problem has been solved. Such is the human mind and these cause stress.
Positive thinking can eliminate the thought of a problem itself, hence the first column can be eliminated. Consequently, the automatic self-critical thought is eliminated. A distorted mind leads to exaggeration, which also has to be done away with. The last column containing the rational response is a compromise. What is reality? None of us know the reality. We always conclude that if we get something what we desire we shall be happy because we are not willing to undertake further responsibility. This is rational response.
Compete with yourself, you should be better than your yesterday. Acceptance level is very low. The mind becomes used to getting tensed and the mind looks for getting tensed. You are tensed because you are not relaxed. Mind is an abstract. Thoughts alone do not create the mind. It is a combination of thoughts and emotions. A disturbed mind takes wrong decisions whereas a peaceful mind can take the right decisions. Stress starts after you have studied the whole night and you are unable to remember what you have studied. The forgetfulness is due to the preoccupation of the mind. When you study something the memory cells are created and they become active when you evoke them. It is like opening a file on your computer. Be ambitious, dream but it should not interfere in your work. You always compare your efforts with your dream which increases stress. Do not allow dreams to interfere with karmas. Let the karmas interfere with the dreams so that expectations are based on karmas. Karmas are reality and the dreams are expectations of mind combined with or based on karmas. Technology should not make an inferior you. Give your best and do not carry guilt that your efforts were insufficient. If you have made a mistake unknowingly, either correct it if you are able to, otherwise just move ahead. The negative emotions secrete in the hormones and create problems.
We can compare our Vedic science with today's modern business
technology. According to Vedic science, the self-criticism is
tamoguna, over estimation is rajoguna and the rational response
is satoguna. None of the three situations are the truth, they are
expectations or estimations. Once you jot down your expectations,
you would strive to attain only those expectations and not look
beyond them. You thus create a tremendous amount of stress
because you thought this was rational thinking, and that you have
created satoguna. You have to overcome even this and reach the
turiyavasthaa, which is the only truth. It is not possible to
reach the truth unless you know what is the truth.
HOW DO WE COMBAT STRESS
At the thought level:
What is profit and what is loss in business? Does more money mean profit? Can profits be calculated only in terms of monetary gains? The word profit may have diverse implications. The reputation of an organization is also a gain even it means some monetary loss. A healthy organization is a balance of various factors: what products it manufactures, what is the reputation of the company, how does it stand against competition, how efficiently is the quality controlled. If you manufacture a stethoscope and launch it in the market, people should ask for it by the brand name. The image of the product is your biggest profit. In the long run this is what fetches money. In our thoughts also we should maintain quality control.
Kaizen mentions that a person who thinks qualitatively alone can produce qualitative products. If you are determined to produce a quality product, the process starts thereon. If you slacken in your efforts even slightly, the finished product will not be of the desired quality. The thoughts start the process but we always give an allowance to the thought. While designing a bolt and nut, the stress created on the structure is calculated, the shearing force is considered, the diameter of the nut is calculated, and based on all these the design is made. In spite of these you give an allowance of +_ 1-mm on the pitch and the thread. Why is an allowance given? This allowance is given for human error and not machine error. It is also called an allowance for 'human error'. The machine maintains the right thread and pitch, it is the human mind which creates the error and transmits the thoughts into action or process. This is at the design stage, then the manufacturer gives another 1% allowance and the inspector gives another 1%. This makes it a total of 3% error and this loss of efficiency of the product is the ultimate users loss. The reason is just our negative thoughts right from the inception of a project. Lack of quality consciousness causes stress which emphasizes the importance of qualitative thoughts.
In any organization, the correct analysis of the unit has to be done. These call for identification of the organization, identification of the work process involved, identification of the responsibilities. When we take our own decisions, without proper knowledge, we create stress. We are not even aware what we are supposed to do and how to go about it. How can one identify which project would be successful, from where to obtain the facts which would help you to take a decision - dilemmas like these create the initial stress for an organization. Lack of knowledge leads to stress and lack of knowledge stems from lack of confidence. Merely having some idea about a project does not give confidence to take the plunge.
The main causes for stress in any organization today are:
· Identifying the right project
· Managing it the right way
· Man management or industrial relations
The first three can be controlled within limits, man management is the toughest. If you are too lenient and grant too many facilities to the people, it would create problems and so would fewer facilities. The right grants at the right time is the solution. Identifying problems of a particular individual and helping him to overcome them gives a personal touch and makes him feel a part of the organization. Man management becomes important since we do not have faith on each other. Relationship means faith. When a father and son do not get along how can we expect two strangers to adjust to each other and work in cohesion?
Secondly, the delegation of responsibilities is absolutely necessary. Even in the human body the work is distributed based on identification. The responsibility to hold the glass has to be given to the hand, because the leg cannot do that. That means if you identify wrong, you delegate wrong. After delegation, you should believe that the work allotted would be carried out efficiently. When we work against these, we create stress. You should learn to manage yourself and not interfere in others' work once you have delegated jobs. If you have instructed your right hand to hold the glass, suddenly if you want the left hand to do so, and try to switch it, you may lose the glass altogether. Hence, identify properly before you delegate.
Lack of confidence also gives rise to stress. You should have the confidence in your own capabilities. If you have the same facilities like others, there is no reason why you cannot manufacture the same quality. Encourage yourself, encourage others. People can make mistakes, but do not carry them with you indefinitely. Do not repeat them but do not cry over it either. These are stress-relieving points.
At the physical and mental level
How to relieve the stress? In a two-day workshop, several exercises are taught which help you to increase your confidence level which in turn help you to identify your self and identify the problems confronting you. To attend such a workshop your mind should be absolutely free of routine jobs.
Several daily practices can help you to tackle stress to a great extent:
Praanaayam: There are 21 types of praanaayam but a simple one is enough to start with. Wake up early morning and in Brahmamuhurtha (between 3 AM and 6 AM) one should practice praanaayam. Sit in dhyana mudra facing east (because energy flows from east to west) either in sukhaasana, padmaasana or ardha padmaasana. People with problems in knees can also sit on the chair with their feet firmly on the ground though not directly on the floor. A mat or a small carpet should be kept below the feet. Take slow rhythmic deep breath known as diaphragmatic breathing - when you breathe in your stomach should bulge out and when you breathe out, your stomach should go in. Keep your eyes closed and concentrate on your breathing. As the breath goes in visualize bright white light entering through your nostrils and spreading within your body. If you have any physical problems, you can direct this energy to that particular area and visualize that the problem is flushed out. While breathing out visualize black clouds coming out which means the system is being cleansed. Practice this 21 times every morning.
The word praanaayam comprises of praana or oxygen and yaama or travelling. This means oxygen or tremendous amount of energy travels through your nervous system. When this happens, all the nadis are filled up with this energy thereby increasing the vibrational frequency in the electromagnetic field. This leads to positive thinking, negative thoughts are expelled and the system calms down. A calm mind can take the right decisions; a disturbed or a preoccupied mind always takes the wrong decisions. A person can think of only one thing at a time. The duration of that particular thought has to be increased which can be done through deep breathing.
You can take deep long breaths every hour for five minutes which equips you for the next hour. The results are wonderful and refreshing. Positive thinking is the key here. You attain or become what you think. You direct your thoughts in a particular way and you become that. When the mind is relaxed, the decisions are perfect. When the decisions are perfect there is no stress. Stress is due to wrong decisions created by you and not by others.
Sound therapy or chanting of OM: scientific experiments show that regular chanting of OM increases the vibrational frequencies to 4800-5000 cycles per second. After praanaayam take a deep breath and while releasing the breath divide it into 1:1:3 proportion. During each division the sound that which emanates should be aaaa ..oooo ..mmmmm (longest, for as long as you can stretch it). When you start releasing the breath give a jerk at the naval area or the swaadishthaana chakra also known as the varna sthala. This therapy creates enormous vibrations in the sahasrara chakra, ajna chakra and the brain, the mind becomes calm and you are relieved of your stress. You can focus on what you want and once you focus you receive it too. Immediately after this you go into meditational state. These can help you overcome your problems by at least 50%. Nobody can solve your problem, you alone can help yourself.
Yoga nidra: You all have desires and certain expectations from your business. In a small piece of paper jot down in capital letters, without any repetitions, corrections or over-writing, your expectation from your business within a specified time but in the past tense as if it has already taken place. (For example, my company, name the company has achieved a net profit of Rs 1 crore in the financial year ended on 31st March 2006).
Now fold the paper and keep it in your palm, sit back comfortably, relax, loosen your clothes, legs stretched in front, no tensions in the muscles at all, close your eyes. relax relax relax Once you are relaxed, focus on the intention written on the paper and visualize that it has already taken place. Visualize it not just once but several times. This should extend to 15/20 minutes. Every morning after praanaayam and OM chanting focus on your wish or intention which should be reasonable, and you are sure to achieve it.
Focus on what is right: Be reasonable; do not add to your stress. For instance you may desire to have ten factories but is it practical? It would only increase your headache. Take on responsibilities only to the extent you are able to manage it or else you end up doing nothing and are only stressed and strained.
Yoga and meditation: the moment we talk of meditation people seem to withdraw as they carry a notion that meditation is for people who have retired from active work life. Every human being must go into the meditational stature from the day he is born. A new-born child sleeps most of the time and he even grows in sleep. You too have to grow in the meditational stature but it has to be done very systematically. During the process of meditation, when you concentrate on light or God, physical awakening of kundalini takes place. Meditation means to reach the state of shunyathaa (nothingness), adwaitha. Through the sushumna, the kundalini energy rises up to the sahasrara chakra where it joins with the static energy (Shiv and shakthi), and you become calm. We train ourselves to focus only on one, and ultimately we focus on the self, the inner self. When you reveal the capabilities of the inner self, you automatically reach a state of peace, there is absolutely no stress and strain. When you thus start vibrating at a very high frequency, the mind is calm, the desires are limited, the requirements are limited. Today you are unable to achieve what you want because you cannot focus on one. Pravachans and scriptures bring awareness and prepare you to go into meditative stature.
Reiki: To convert the negative thoughts into positive thoughts, Reiki is another proven successful method. This brings peace and meditative stature to the mind. It also increases confidence, increases the intuitive power, brings physical, mental and spiritual fitness in all respects.
Thoughts have to be transformed, today we are living in negative situation. Confusion, ignorance, avidya are the main causes of stress. Our physical body and mind is attracted towards negativities; we need to purify ourselves. Know your self, recognize your capabilities and the happiness is yours. You can be successful if you identify you karmas and execute them in the right manner. You fail because you try to execute others' karmas. The self is the purest form and you gradually start realizing it with regular practices. When you identify yourself, you find you are Supreme. When a Maharishi says,'tathaasthu', it happens, so also, you attain what you desire