Blessed is the man who is too busy to worry in the daytime and too sleepy in the night-EARL RINEY.
STRESS is a buzz word now a days in social talk and medical discussions. 50 years ago, i.e. in my childhood or even till my adulthood, we had hardly heard anyone suffering from STRESS.
It was either there no Stress at that time or people and medical Science had not recognized it as disease or condition of discomfort.
To make my task easier I went to find the Medical definition of the term STRESS, two of which are as follows:
“In a medical or biological context stress is a physical, mental, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension. Stresses can be external (from the environment, psychological, or social situations) or internal (illness, or from a medical procedure).
Stress is the body’s reaction to any change that requires an adjustment or response. The body reacts to these changes with physical, mental, and emotional responses. Stress is a normal part of life. You can experience stress from your environment, your body, and your thoughts.
I am sure that there can be lot more definitions of this condition which are not so Generic and Benign.
I have seen people under stress being robbed of the passion to live and enjoy the good things in life which are available to every human being.
Academical discussion can bring the scientific and clinical reasons of the stress but to me the basic reason is the lack of discontentment and absence being thankful of what you have and running after all the time the things that you do not have. Discontentment is a mental state that may or may not relate to your social, economic or physical state but it certainly robs you of your immune system, interrupt your sleep and makes you vulnerable to all manner of illnesses.
Let me now very briefly try to find some of the ways to avoid the stress which I have borrowed from the book of the prominent GURU.
1.WAIT TO WORRY: Most of our working colleagues are worried about loosing their jobs while they are safely and comfortably carrying their jobs and sometimes they never lose it till the retirement like me: My advise to them is simply “Please wait to worry till you finally lose it instead of being scared to of loosing which may never occur.” I know it sounds simple, but it is difficult to follow.
2.STAY IN THE GAME: To win it is not necessary to be good proficient and energetic but be in the game till the end. There is no one who has not been knocked down and hit the mat but most of the times the winners are those who stand up after every knockdown but before the final whistle. In life you never know when the tide will turn, so you must play till the last ball.
3.INSIST ON INTEGRITY: You can make a conscious decision in your life to do everything with integrity. When you do that, you inoculate yourself against stress arising from guilt and shame. Everyone fails sometimes or the other, but failure of a bad person adds insult to injury while failure of a good honest persons attracts, sympathy and makes him the center of support and makes him more adorable and like worthy.An added advantage of telling the truth is the luxury of forgetting the moment you have uttered the truth because you do not have to remember it with the fear of contradiction.
4.STAY OUT OF DEBT: Ladies & Gentlemen , I do not have to be an economic GURU to tell you a simple truth that a small debt adds tons of worry and stress on the borrower and till the debt is not paid fully his sleep is very choppy. I am a Chartered Accountant by profession, and I have worked in the organizations which were cash trapped and ones with surplus bank balances and the life of Shareholders to Directors including that of CFO are world apart in both these situations.
I have lived in Saudi Arabia where at one time there was no idea of credit sale. To purchase even a Bulldozer also we had to carry cash in a suitcase and also lived in America where for a pack of cigarette also people use credit cards and I am personal witness of the amount of stress an average American is. Debt gentlemen is a trap very cleverly laid and now a days the whole world is in this trap and floating in the pool of STRESS.
SO, AVOID DEBT AND SPEND ONLY WHAT YOU HAVE AND BUY ONLY WHAT YOUNEED MOST.
5.FEAR NOT: Fear is a natural emotion part of our Psyche; it is a passion to save us from unknown and invisible dangers. It is part of animal kingdom’s safety net against harm, but in present world where physical danger in human society is not as prevalent as in previous time the fear has taken other forms. Usually the most common fears are:
1. Fear of losing health
2. Fear of losing a loved one
3. Fear of losing the means of subsistence like job or failure of business
4. Fear of losing the reputation
5. Fear of losing control
6. Fear of death
Out of all the above fears the only the last i.e. THE FEAR OF DEATH is real otherwise all the above may or may not happen at all. I am sure that most of you may not have encountered most of them, but they always linger in our mind and spoil most of our fun in life. I can not come up with any solid counter measure to confront the fear except to ignore it till you face it. I do not go to the doctor till I am sure that my body is no long able to cure itself and it works for me. Try if you can handle it.
6.HAVE THE FIRST LAUGH: In our childhood and even in our adulthood our time was spent with our friends and colleagues talking laughing and ridiculing each other. I remember my University Campus life where I had all sorts of stresses and pressures but in the company of my partners, we used to laugh so much that our tummies used to start hurting. Our biggest pastime was to come up with the pranks, ridiculing each other looking for funny situations, stories and jokes and one of the easy means of gaining popularity was neither intelligence, money, dressing or your grades but how funny you are. A funny guy was the attraction of the town and celebrity in his own right.
While I was doing the CA training one of our colleague was picked by every Audit team not because of his professional excellence but his quick wit, funny remarks, and easy personality. He was our passport to every society howsoever important, serious or auspicious it used to be. He was popular with Accountants, Managers, workers, union members and even religious scholars. During the nine years i.e. 4 years of my hostel life and 5 years of my CA training despite all sorts of hardship I do not remember any specific period of stress. I can safely say that “LAUGHTER IS THE BEST MEDICINE” which now seems to have become scares like, honestly, integrity, sincerity and friendship.
PLEASE LOOK FOR IT AND BE IN THE COMPANY OF THE PEOPLE WHO CAN MAKE YOU LAUGH. THEY CAN BE YOUR BEST BENIFACTORS AND SAVE YOU FROM UN-NESSESARY STRESS.
To conclude this discussion let me add in the end my very crude but successful recipe which I use when my STRESS gets beyond my capability of handling. I am basically a villager and somewhere in the bottom of my DNA there is a villager dealing with the things in my crude way:
“When the stress becomes too much I take (imaginary) white sheet and put all the STRESS causing elements in one neat pile, fold this sheet and put a big knot as villagers do to carry their stuff from one place to other and put this big bundle at the (imaginary) gate of GOD and leave it there. I try to forget this bundle for as long as I can unless new pile is ready and then when I go and look at the old bundle either it is gone or has become much lesser in size to which I replenish with my new worries and leave it there again.”
IT WORKS FOR ME; TRY AND SEE WHETHER IT WORKS WITH YOU.
Rais Khan is a Chartered Accountant and an author. He has worked in corporate sector for 40 years in a variety of corporations ranging from IBM to Etisalat in UAE. He has worked and lived in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, USA, Africa and the UAE. Currently he is a freelance business consultant and part-time writer. He is the Editor of Pehchaan and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org