Why are we stressed? We are stressed because we want certain outcomes, situations and results in our lives. Be it in our office, our household chores or other responsibilities, we always want things to happen our way. And if situations and outcomes don’t align with our expectations, we very easily become stressed.
So how can we remain calm and composed when our efforts in the office don’t get us enough recognition or somebody does not behave favourably with us? How can we learn to remain stress free amidst many more such situations throughout our life? Modern stress management techniques do provide temporary stress relief but they fail to provide long lasting solutions. If we wish to become stress free for life we will require a more profound approach to the problem. True stress management begins with the knowledge of some fundamental truths about human life.
First fundamental truth is that we are the soul and not the human body. As the soul we are a tiny fragment of God who is an ocean of divine bliss. The second fundamental truth is that being the soul, our inherent nature is to love and serve God alone. However, due to the forgetfulness of our true nature we are under an illusion. This material illusion makes us believe that we are the body and hence our goal is to serve the body. Whenever some situation or some person obstructs our efforts to serve the body we become stressed. If only we can discard our puny desires and accept our constitutional position as loving servants of God, we will become stress free for life. How does that happen?
The soul is the servant of God. A servant’s duty is to fulfill the wishes of his or her Master over one’s own personal desires. Therefore, a true servant performs all his or her actions to serve the Lord and not for selfish reasons of comfort, recognition and prestige. When we learn to emulate such an attitude in everything we do, we don’t have to be stressed about the results anymore. How does it matter whether we get success or failure or fame or infamy? Our duty is simply to serve the Lord with love; the results are for His pleasure. This attitude also makes us realize that it is our attachment to the results that causes us stress and not the hard work. This is the science of Karm Yog mentioned in the Bhagavad Gita.
कर्मण्येवाधिकारस्ते मा फलेषु कदाचन |
मा कर्मफलहेतुर्भूर्मा ते सङ्गोऽस्त्वकर्मणि ||
karmaṇy-evādhikāras te mā phaleṣhu kadāchana
mā karma-phala-hetur bhūr mā te saṅgo ’stvakarmaṇi
“You have a right to perform your prescribed duties, but you are not entitled to the fruits of your actions. Never consider yourself to be the cause of the results of your activities, nor be attached to inaction.”
As we strive to perfect our service attitude towards God, we naturally learn to face all kinds of stressful situations with calm and ease. We will realize, our true nature is not to remain stressed; it is to love, serve and be blissful.