While engrossed in work at home or in office, if we can be anchored in an inner calmness, it greatly helps.
This needs developing Self-awareness. Sri Paramahansa Yogananda, the author of 'Autobiography of a Yogi', says "Be Calmly Active & Actively Calm". In other words, ‘to buy and sell but to keep our minds on God’.
Some of the tell-tale signs of a rising stress level, are :
• Local tensing of muscles,
• Shallow and rapid breathing with some rise in pulse rate,
• Decrease in focus,
• Reduction in happiness level,
• A nagging feeling of moodiness, grumpiness, negativity and hyper-criticism against others or life in general ,etc.
Whenever these happen, we can do some of these :
1. Take a break for 5 - 10 mins : This is investing time to eventually save time, because you will come back to work smarter,with more focus. Take deep breaths (abdominally i.e. diaphragmatically), stretch up, have a glass of water, or little fruit-juice or hot soup (avoid too much tea / coffee), tense all body muscles in a wave and then relax, etc.
2. Exercise everyday : before coming to office either intensely (i.e.much sweating) for 20 minutes, moderately (light sweating) for 30 mins, or gently (series of light stretches) for 40 mins. For people who have not had regular workouts, moderately is the best ; for those who choose to exercise gently everyday, moderate to intense workout twice a week are desirable, but while we can customize, regularity is always the key.
3. Enjoy your work : Bring your whole heart to it. To work only for salary is a kind of slavery to matter, we must also work for joy and with creativity. While working, be sincere,but not serious. Keep smiling and do your best.
4. Manage your time well and prioritize : When with spouse/kids/parents, give your whole attention to them and while working in office, be focused on work, but have no resistance if you have to switch roles suddenly, say because of a phone-call. This living in 'now', and acceptance-driven gliding between roles, will create a dynamic work-life balance. Mis-management of time/the related work-life imbalance, and stress, feed on each other.
5. Mindful Eating : We become what we eat and think, so let us choose carefully. Choosing thoughts takes a long practice ; choosing foods also needs some mastery over habits hard-wired into our brains and the slavery to taste-buds, but with a healthy self-love and care, it is do-able. Never skip your breakfast. Make your last meal of the day two hours before sleep. Eat fresh fruits, seasonal greens, sprouts, almonds, etc. Don't drink too much water with/immediately after the meals, but any amount an hour later. Drink plenty of water the first thing in the morning.
6. Tame your Ego : We all have ego, it is our body-identified lower self-awareness. One can never be completely free from awareness of the self, but it can evolve from the small ' I ' which limits our consciousness to 'me' and 'mine', to the big ' I ' which includes all. Taming ego smoothens relationships. We don't need any self-mortification here, no need to give up our assertiveness - we don't have to become a door-mat or a vegetable, but we just need to respect others as we respect ourselves, and appreciate their point of view. Our behavior reflects our attitude ; our attitude reflects in turn the centering of our consciousness.
7. Learn & Practice Yoga : Some Pranayama (Yogic breathing techniques to manage and balance the Prana or life force) followed by Meditation, will effectively manage stress like nothing else. Pray before and after meditation, and pray for others also.
Let us choose to be happy. Happy, healthy people create the ultimate competitive edge for any organization, any country. They also please our Maker, for His very nature is Joy and He is both immanently transcendent and transcendently immanent – present in every speck, beating our hearts, flowing our breath, making and unmaking galaxies – yet beyond all these.
The ultimate truth is this : All negative stress is spiritual isolation.
Have a blessed day !