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October - November 2004


Towards a stress-free life

by Arundhati Dutta

(The writer is the founder member and Vice President of the Orion Educational Society – a non-profit organisation that assists students in studying abroad. She is also a motivational speaker and regularly conducts workshops and seminars for corporates. Here she writes about a major problem in this life full of hassles.)

Everywhere people are suffering from a high degree of stress. There is work pressure, discord in personal relationships, heart breaks, peer pressure, exam stress, career frustrations, money problems, work politics, and a whole lot of other reasons for stress and tension.

Amidst this maddening rat race, it is often difficult to remember who we are, or to find our essence, our inner peace, and the source of our being. Most of us are too busy to stop and review the ‘why’ of things. Why we fall victim to peer pressure, why we run after money, or why we suffer from relationship problems and/or work politics. On the surface, the answer is simple. We tell ourselves that we do it all to survive, to succeed, and to ‘make it’.

Yet, the real answer is far deeper than that. The real answer lies in our deep sense of inner insecurity. In our constant needs, our expectations and our sense of possessiveness, our jealousies over the people and the things we love and crave.

So can a world without stress be created? Does it exist? Is it possible?

The answer is yes. And the answer lies within us, inside ourselves, within the deep inner recesses of our being.

How can we reach this space? How can we achieve a stress-free, worry-free existence? How can we live a more positive life amidst the context of everyday life? How can we bring peace and calm and inner fulfilment amongst ourselves?

The first step to a stress-free life is to think positive. To always dwell on the positive feelings, the good, the liberating, the enlightening. Joy, hope, determination, love, generosity, caring, sharing are all positive emotions while worry, stress, anger, jealousy, frustration are all negative emotions. With a little practice, we can pinpoint the negative emotions that crop up within us and learn to eliminate them. This can have a huge positive impact on our life. Another important thing to remember is that no incident or event in itself has any meaning other than the meaning we give it. For example, two school students fail their examinations. One tells himself that he will use this opportunity to improve his academics, the other commits suicide out of hopelessness. What led one to improve himself and the other to commit suicide? Nothing but their own perspective of life.

Even in business or in relationships, we find people interpreting similar situations differently. This in all cases, it is our viewpoint or opinion or perspective that determines how we interpret an event or incident. I’m sure by now most of you will agree that our perspective or worldview plays an extremely important role in how we react to different situations.

A positive perspective can have an extremely liberating effect on our life while a negative perspective can lead us towards fear, frustration, despair and disappointment. We need to remember all the time that life is what we make of it; and that every choice we make today will contribute to determining our tomorrow.

So never let yourself get bogged down by negative thoughts. Instead, think of every even as an ideal opportunity to learn, to grow, to improve. In time, you will begin to find yourself leading a life that is stress-free, worry-free, healthy and refreshing. It pays therefore, to think positive.

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