As we all learnt in the last article that problem is not a problem, but reaction is the problem, but then why do we react ? Stress – How it affects our lifestyle ?
We react when our expectations do not get fulfilled, but why do we have these expectations ?
We have these expectations when we get attached to some desires. E.g. when I get attached to my ego, I expect respect from others and when this expectation does not get fulfilled I get disappointed and then I react to it either by expressing or suppressing my negative emotions like anger, hurt feeling , anxiety, rage etc…..
I will give you one more example. When I get attached to love, I expect love from people, when I do not get it, I get disappointed and react to it again by expressing or suppressing negative emotions like anger, neglected feeling etc…
So now we can understand that the origin of reaction is attachment to desires.
When we go through it for short period of time and then let it go, we called it Acute Stress. We get some physical changes for short duration, but if the impact has gone very deep, then it can become the causation of serious acute physical ailment or chronic physical ailments. E.g. A person can get a heart attack or migraine after hearing a sudden bad news.
Now if we start accumulating these reactions in the form of negative emotions, then we are going through the Chronic Stress. Chronic stress will again become a causation of all chronic ailments.
Desire can be compared to fire. If we grasp fire, what happens ? Does it lead to happiness ?
If we say: “Oh, look at that beautiful fire ! Look at the beautiful colors ! I love red and orange; they’re my favorite colors” and then grasp it, we would find a certain amount of suffering entering into the body because of the attachment.
Attachment leads to possessiveness – MY husband, MY wife, MY friend, MY family.
Possessiveness leads to fear of losing, overprotection, craving, jealousy or even the feeling: I can’t live without her/him/my car/my cat/chocolate/pizzas/my job/my jewellery/my music….
We go through life getting attached to things, wanting them to last forever. But they don’t last, and this makes us sad. We experience envy and anger and even become violent with others because we cling to a false perception of permanence.
To avoid all these reactions we have to change our attitude towards life instead of trying to change others. We should have some knowledge and awareness about some changes which we can make to avoid suffering due to our reactions. Stress management through lifestyle changes
- Always try to be in present
This is going to help you to stay in reality and not in the past or future negative emotions like anger, hatred, fear, worries, insecurities etc….
It’s not so difficult to be in present, if we use our five senses properly, which will help you to be in present. These five senses are your vision, hearing, smell, touch and taste.
Mindfulness means your 100% involvement in whatever activity you may be doing. E.g. if you are at work, your whole attention should be in work; if you are cooking, your mind and body both should be 100% involved in cooking.
Practicing mindfulness in our daily life will help you to be in reality and avoid ill effects of negative thoughts or emotions.
- Apply law of impermanence in your life
Impermanence means not permanent, so that means everything is going to change. Our mind, our body nothing is constant, there is nothing constant inside us or outside too.
Whether it is sadness or happiness both are going to change, then why we are getting attached to any one of these ? Look at both of them as same without getting attcahed.
- Acknowledge change
This means understanding that things will be different from how they are now. Acknowledging change will help you to not to react because this moment is going to change, then why I am reacting and harming myself. It will help you not to resist what is happening; rather it will help you to observe it as it is.
- Observe as it is
This will help you to only observe, what is happening without reacting. Eg if a person is angry on you and abusing, you can observe, what is happening to him, why is he reacting so much, what is happening inside him etc….
- Accept change
Instead of resisting change, allow it to unfold and try to understand what’s transforming and why.
Circumstances will not turn out the way you want them to, and it’s perfectly all right. Accepting the situation can help you to deal with the change effectively, make the necessary shifts in your life to embrace the change, and help you move forward after the event.
- Don’t have expectations
If you go back and think about your sufferings, you will realize that every time the cause of the disappointment was some expectation, maybe from self, from other person or from the situation.
Reducing or having no expectations about anything can help you to accept whatever may come from it.
- Always be action oriented
Whenever there is any problem, rather than reacting through your thoughts, work only on the possible solutions. Use your intellect to select the right solution at that moment and just act on it. Your selection may be wrong or may be right. If it is right, do not get attached to ego or joy and if it is wrong, do not get attached to failure, think that you got the experience.
And if there is no solution to your problem then forget about it because just thinking over it is also a reaction.
- Never blame anyone
Whatever is happening with you is because of your thoughts and reactions, so never blame anyone else for your troubles.
And whatever is happening to other person is because of his thought process, so never blame yourself for it .
Always remember that only you can destroy or help yourself, and no one else.
In short, always be in present with mindfulness, because nothing is constant, everything is going to change, so do not react and harm yourself by getting stressed.