In today's fast-paced and stressful society, it is imperative to understand the importance of holistic well-being and the art of relaxation – of both body and mind.
A relaxed yet alert individual performs at a greater efficiency level and is far more creative and productive than his tense counterpart.
Factors leading to stress, and techniques for relaxations, along with personality types and lifestyle modifications are all shared by the author in this small and useful guide.
Vikas Malkani is an internationally renowned motivator, metaphysical teacher and author. He is considered an expert on human relationships and practical spirituality, and has lectured worldwide on these subjects.
The best-selling author of numerous books, he is also the recipient of numerous awards for work in the fields of consciousness and human relationships.
Stress has been with us since the beginning of time. Being a part of our response to any challenge or stimulus, it has proved to be a positive force, aiding our continued survival and providing a dynamic that distinguishes between the active business of living and mere passive existence. By shaping our lifestyle, setting the tempo and determining the rhythm at which we live, stress can generate the impetus necessary to convert thought into action, whether that action is making love, conducting an orchestra, running a race, escaping from fire or flood, or meeting a deadline.
But today, life's challenges are far more complex than that used to be, while life itself is altogether a harsher, less natural process than it used to be. Living in an age of immense and increasingly rapid changes, we are subjected to greater, more insistent and inescapable pressures to adapt, keep up, and compete-in short, to survive-than at any other time. Achieving the right balance between too much and too little stress, has become an integral challenge of life.
In fact, some stress researchers suspect that many of us are becoming addicted to our own increased levels of stress hormones, depending on constant challenge as a self-prescribed antidote to the intolerable prospect of boredom.
Answer to the Stress Problem
It is common to all sufferers from stress, whether the over-stress of the fast track or the under-stress of boredom and frustration, to have a feeling of not being in control of their lives. If we think of the people we know who can handle significant amounts of stress and avoid its damaging effects, we well find that they maintain a strong sense of commitment to their work and other activities and respond positively to challenges rather than feeling overwhelmed by them. They seem to be able to recognize the insidious action of repetitive over-arousal before it affects their well-being. They also realize that there is no single solution to the problem of stress – after all, what is stressful for one person is not necessarily stressful for everyone. So the ultimate responsibility for our well-being rests first and foremost with ourselves.
In order to feel in control, we must develop a healthy, stress-proofed lifestyle. Over the past few years, growing awareness of the importanc4e of balanced nutrition, the need for exercise, the dangers of smoking, alcohol and drugs, and the hazards of environmental pollution and ecological imbalance, have fostered a renewed interest in holistic well-being.
We cannot separate our physical health from the well-being of our minds. Both are closely interdependent. In turn, equilibrium of both mind and body is determined largely by the way we communicate and relate to other individuals, and by the symbiotic relationship between society and the environment. Stress can arise in any area of life when we fail to respect the interdependence of human being and all other living organisms, or of we upset the rhythmic balance of rest and movement, and the complementary cycles of physical and leisure activities.
At a time when high technology is revolutionizing every aspect of the way we work, it has become more essential than ever to humanize our working environment and our professional relationships and to adopt more flexible attitude to the structure of employment and our styles of working.
Well-organized people suffer few pressures, scheduling their activities efficiently to minimize the tyranny of time stress.
Most of the lifestyle changes outlined in the book are simple to implement – and you will probably find that you do some of them naturally anyway. But the majority of us have at least one aspect of our lifestyle that requires stress-proofing. Effective stress-management may simple mean making adjustments to your diet, such as, reducing the amount of tea re coffee you drink (caffeine has a marked effect on the amount of adrenalin in the blood); or it may be a matter of adopting one the relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation, and massage which helps to develop a more positive and confident attitude to life's challenges; alternatively, it may mean riddance of accumulated nervous energy and tension by taking up more vigorous exercise, to give yourself a feeling of release.
Giving Yourself a Break
Allowing ourselves to become chronically overstressed is often a warning sign that we have stopped paying attention to who we really are.
Learning to give yourself a break, in every sense of the word, needs practice, especially when you are the one who is driving yourself the hardest. But the rewards in terms of regaining self-possession, and restoring the feeling that you have control over your life, can prove incalculable. Having the courage to examine long-held beliefs, to challenge and possibly change your attitudes towards yourself, your work and your relationships, may in turn alter your whole relationship to stress. Recognizing that you have a right to make mistakes, to refuse excessive demands, to say "no", to express your needs and feelings openly, to make time for yourself, and to cater for your wants as well as those of others – all these are central to cultivating a healthy, balanced sense of self-altruism, probably the most basic survival skill of all.
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