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Guiding Light: In stress management we trust

Free Press Journal logo Free Press Journal 13-08-2022
© Provided by Free Press Journal

A neighbour just acquired the latest set of hot wheels, a colleague just got promoted, or a friend just booked that luxury holiday. Chances are one of those are true, and perhaps I’ve already got your cortisol pumping, as you may feel the onset of stress, that of being left behind or feeling lesser than them. The obsession with consumerism and largely meaningless status symbols has us scrambling from morn until night, to make sure that we can make ends meet, in the lap of luxury if we can help it.

Stepping out of your comfort zone and stretching yourself is a good thing, when done in a healthy way and for the right reasons. But when you constantly put yourself down, harbour feelings of inadequacy and use that as fuel to push yourself harder than what your body or mind can take, you’re creating a dangerous recipe for stress. The fruits of that hard-fought success can seem sweet the first few times, but over a period this builds up, until it starts affecting you in ways you didn’t expect, insomnia, anxiety over trifles or even relationship stress.

The problem with the rat-race, as they say, is that you’re still a rat even if you win! And as long as we keep identifying with this body and refuse to acknowledge our higher selves, we will remain entrapped in this mythical and illusory world that Maya weaves all around us. It is of course important to indulge in Karma Yoga and act, but we miss the opportunity of allowing our work to liberate us, when we remain identified with purely personal and materialistic goals, rather than expanding our horizons and exercising the freedom to see beyond ourselves.

When we allow ourselves to be guided purely by the ambitions of others, rather than focusing on what really makes us or our near and dear ones happy, we invite not just the stress of desiring that outcome, but also the stress of becoming somebody we are not. Inspiration is a good thing, but imitation is an insult to the uniqueness of your being.

Acting from a centred existence is the best antidote to stress, one that cherishes the good things in life, without getting obsessed or dependent on them. Oftentimes we try to seek out glamorous cures for our woes, taking for granted what our tradition offers us in terms of Yoga, be that asanas, meditation or pranayama. We get taken in by the glamour and sheen of unproven new age miracle cures, when in fact we had that golden prescription to wellness all along. So awaken and reclaim what is rightfully yours by heritage, before the only way to access this precious knowledge becomes a paid monthly subscription to yet another app on your already crowded homescreen.

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