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Stress is the shadow of wrong imagination February 6, 2012

Posted by aglakadam in Management.
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Imagine this situation: 

You are in a happy holiday mood. You plan to have a joyful day with your family as such you decide to go on a long drive. You start driving your car on a highway where there is almost no traffic. You are tempted to explore the odometer and you press hard on the accelerator. The madness of speed invariably brings obnoxious consequences. As you approach a traffic signal square, you do not stop at the ‘red traffic signal’ but zip past it since there is no other car on either side of the four-way.  All of a sudden you get alerted by the sound of a police car siren. You see in the rear view mirror that the police car is approaching you at a still faster pace. You know that you have just committed a mistake and somehow the traffic police might have taken a note of it. The police car is at a distance where it would soon overtake you and ask you to stop. You feel stress mounting inside. You start imagining the consequences. What if you do not stop and rush at a still faster pace? Oh but the police might ask for more troops to stop me at the next turn! If they ask me to stop, I should obey them, says your inner voice. I am sure I will be fined for trespassing the traffic rule as well as for the rash driving. Oh God, please help me, they should not take me to the police station, I have no wrong intentions for sure. Your heart rate has increased and the effect seen as sweat drops on your forehead. You loose focus on the road and you’re only concentrated on the incoming harassment from behind. By now the police van is almost parallel to you. You have already started feeling very low, restless and insecure. Suddenly what happens is unbelievable for you. The police over took your car and went ahead,  probably they were chasing a different target. Oops, all the while you were thinking that the police was running after you!

When there is ‘terror alert’ announced by the intelligence agencies, the overall administration & police is on its toes. What happened with you in the above illustration was something similar, your mental mechanism was all of a sudden put on high alert. There was a temporary phase of worry, stress and shock for you. Did you realize that all this was fictitious and hypothetical? Nothing of what you had imagined was actually true? You were not the target of the police van and they never intended to put you behind bars. However it was you who negatively extrapolated the imaginary consequences and started palpitating.

Can you get back to the first few words of the above imaginary situation. You were in a happy welcome mood which eventually translated into anxious and nervous state of affair for you. All this happened only because of you. It was you who instigated the negative thoughts in your mental backdrop. The world outside was the same even when you started the day in a happy mood and when you got into the stressful situation.

I share yet another situational example for you here. There was one family which was on to start a holiday tour. They had to board the train at a particular scheduled time known to them in much advance. Due to certain household chores they got delayed to start from home. Unfortunately for them, that day, the train was scheduled to arrive on time. Father – mother and their kids were tight-fisted and had their fingers crossed while they were rushing to the railway station in the car. The angry husband was all the way shouting at his wife & scolding her for being slow in arranging travel preparations. Although they intended to be on a holiday mood their journey started with stress. The poor children were close-lipped somehow wanting that they should be able to board the train. Finally, it was a touch and go situation and they somehow managed to get into the train. Friends, wasn’t it true that even if the gentleman had not behaved in a stressful manner they would have been able to board the train? What actually happened was the head of the family imagined all negative consequences and got stressed out. 

We get exposed to similar situations many times in our daily life. In the process we sometimes unnecessarily invite a lot of stress and sadness into our life. The difference between stress and sorrow lies in the man’s perception. When you think bad, you feel bad. When you start feeling bad, it turns out to be worst for you personally.  Stress is like friction, it is a necessary evil.  Elementary level of stress is in-fact necessary for human being to survive. Stress is an energy & enthusiasm catalyst. It provokes a person to get into action mode and perform. Like you can store only a limited volume of fuel in your vehicle, human body is also designed to store a limited quantum of stress. As the stress grows more than the defined limit, it starts spilling and warns danger. It is our responsibility to disallow stress to walk along our life as soon as it becomes a liability. Finally it is our judgment to decide till what stage we would allow Mr. Stress to walk along with us in our journey of life!

LESSONS FOR EXCELLENCE :

  • Never allow stress to be blown out of proportion because of unrealistic imaginations.
  • Stress is like a small stone found under the shadow of a huge mountain.
  • Invariably stress is created inside the human mind, it should be cured there itself.
  • We should learn to be good to stress and in return stress will always be good to us.
  • A basic amount of stress is must for us to excel in our ventures in life.

 

Ajit Varwandkar

Feedback : md@fsindia.in

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