Stress is not only the most important talked about topic in today’s day and age, it has also become a part of our daily vocabulary. I hear myself saying, “I have been stressed all day,” and hear my colleagues say “This project is going to be stressful” and likewise people expressing stress almost like the recognised emotions of anger, joy, peace and happiness. “I am attending events, meetings, making time for my family, entertaining friends, meeting deadlines and exceeding my targets…you can’t complain I am doing more than I can?”
Is stress the new high?
We feel we are on a speed run, a journey that seems exciting in both negative and positive ways and also keeps the adrenaline pumping in. We may think it is adrenaline, but little do we know when the cortisol set in overdose and replaced the former. As it is we know very little about our bodies and lately, we have not even had the time to do so.
Our mind and body does recognise that feeling, and at some level we all very well understand what stress is or what is does to us. The trouble is that perhaps somewhere we have begun to enjoy it. It’s almost like if I AM NOT STRESSED is equal to MAYBE I AM NOT DOING MUCH IN LIFE, MY PEER GROUP IS DOING SOO MUCH. Before we know, we are silently competing for stress. The more we have it, the more we want. Is stress a new addiction? Are you addicted to stress? It’s an answer we don’t need to give to anyone, but silently ask ourselves.
If you have started feeling guilty about doing nothing and just lying peacefully on your sofa, for hours or may be the whole day or the whole weekend after a hectic week or day, perhaps you need to ask yourself?
Why am I feeling bad doing nothing, when I mostly work, why is this moment of rest troubling me?
If you’ve noticed yourself sitting quietly and your own company is disturbing you and there is a sudden need to consume some form of social media, your mobile or TV. If sitting in silence is more disturbing than being with the distractions, please be rest assured, you have without choice become a stress addict.
We are overloading our lives with activities because we have stopped enjoying our own company or let me put it address to needs of our soul.
As much our body needs food, brain needs information, soul has its need for food – the silent mindful state. Are we giving that to ourselves. You may say, I don’t have time?
However, I found my time zones in the no time zone and experimented with the stress game
I allowed myself to combat my stress addiction in a couple of ways, which essentially links back to one core practice – Mindfulness. It is not a philosophy; it is a practice just as brushing our teeth every day.
Are you bathing alone? It’s not what you are thinking, but in full honesty when we rush for our morning shower, we walk in with million strategies, thoughts and plan for the day. It’s a functional exercise, the mind is cluttered with thoughts and we are superficially cleaning ourselves. Can we leave the thoughts outside and experience the water as cleansing our mind and soul? It’s a detoxifying experience, but when done with mindfulness it can kick start a day like meditation.
Bring back old ways of eating: Thanking and expressing gratitude towards food improves our attitude towards food. When our food time is relaxing, we are giving our selves the time to serve our body mindfully and body rewards us with a better processing. Body develops a better ability to deal with stress
Take five minutes off to kick start breathing: Life force or prana is why we are all here on this planet. We don’t care to think much as our breathing is on auto pilot. If we pay five minutes of mindful attention to our breath, we can control our breath. Thoughts and breath patterns have strong interlinkage and hence a direct bearing on our state of mind. That is where breathing programmes are teaching us breath techniques as a way to be in a blissful state. If we can’t attend, maybe we can give those five minutes to ourselves. In traffic, lift, walking and honestly anywhere.
Observe, observe, observe: The moment we engage our mind in an activity called observation of everything outside us, be it a table, pen, chair, pillow, grass or vehicles, we give ourselves the tiny opportunity to learn to be in the moment. Observing without the need to process slowly conditions the mind to relax and pulls us in the moment. Stress is most often about what can be? What will be? What went wrong? It is mostly, a past or future state.
Prepare for the worst: Plan for the best and prepare for the worst. It’s not a negative thing. Stress kicks in when we fall short of our own expectations of how it is supposed be.
Acceptance without comparison: Allow yourself to be you, you will have unique ways of doing things. Do not compare your business, work, progress with the speed of others. Yes, the market does mean competition, but create plans that have unique plus and are not reactive in nature.
Water therapy: I strongly vouch for this. Every time we drink water, we drain out the set of built up emotions. Being fluid in nature water has the ability to detoxify us in the fastest possible manner. I often thank the water I drink and see a shift in my energy and thought process.
Carrying others’ monkey on your back?: Many people often want to pass their stress on others as they are unable to handle it on their own, which is prevalent in corporates business as well as personal situations. What do I do, or at least try and do is I automatically distanced myself from the situation, and use this as opportunity to learn tact and management, recognise the behaviour, and practice emotional intelligence to deal with it.
Related read: How can starting up entrepreneurs deal with stress?
These are some of the ways I practice dealing with stress and they help me on a daily basis. You can make your own check list. The idea is to recognise that stress can make us lead our life on auto pilot and most of our life may be gone before we realise that. Therefore, we need to accept and understand our stress levels and actively take charge of our lives.