There are so many theories on stress management and how stress is caused. There are various techniques which are shown. There are books, stress busters and even corporate programs which run for two or three days. People talk about stress busting foods, techniques and even fragrances. Going to a spa or exercising have all been propagated as stress management techniques.
However, the major root cause for stress needs to be identified first. It is only then we can address the issue. There are so many causes for stress and these keep changing as life progresses. Something which was stressful before, no longer bothers you and vice-versa. However, there is one strong underlying factor which is common to almost all of us in today’s world. This factor is causing stress more than any other cause.
This one factor is, ‘expectations mismatch.’ Stress today is caused by expectations and when there is a mismatch between your self – projection (ego) and the perceived adverse conditions or situations. Simply stated, when we do not get what we think we should get or are entitled to, we get stress.
To give an example, you may be expecting to earn well this year and get a new sedan. However, the income falls short of your expectation (even though you have earned well). You are able to buy a hatchback and not a sedan. So even though the situation is fine, you perceive it as adverse. This is especially true if you are working for an organisation. You do not get the expected appraisal, ratings or increment causing great stress.
Similarly, if you are a parent and your child does not perform or succeed as per your expectations, you get stressed. In interpersonal relationships also, expectation is the culprit which drives you to great stress. The problem is that we expect others to act, respond or behave in the way we want them to. This includes spouse, colleagues and children.
It has been found that this ‘expectation mismatch syndrome’, is not just some thought related issue. It causes actual mental and physiological stress, eventually leading to various diseases. We brood so much over what we could not get or what we want (and unable to get) that we harm ourselves.
This slowly builds up in our system leading to a negative thought process and is the main reason for even depression and other psychosomatic illnesses. Practically all the diseases are caused mainly by mental stress. Research is now showing that ninety percent of all diseases including various forms of cancer are an outcome of stress. Diseases are no longer determined by hereditary factors at all. Our state of mind and thought process, followed by lifestyle are the main causes of stress and diseases.
Someone had said, we are what we eat. That is only partly true. It is actually, ‘we become what we think’. There are numerous instances of people who are joyful and healthy till the end but they may not be eating even a balanced diet. It is their mind which drives health and happiness. So stress and diseases come to us when we are unable to manage our ego, expectations and emotions.
There are various psychological techniques available in Yoga to start managing stress. We need not worry too much or get philosophical. We should not even try and do any advanced practices. There are some wonderful practices which tackle this problem even without any conscious effort. We just need to practice them with discipline, on a regular basis and for at least three to four months in a row.
Yoga deals with the organism at two levels; mind and body. The physical practices cleanse you and make the body very fit. These practices combined with relaxation techniques, pranayama and meditation calm and improve the mind. In addition, a combination of the correct routine done with sincerity will help a lot in expectations management and making you mentally balanced.
It will improve your capacity to handle situations without getting agitated and becoming much more accepting. This kind of a routine has been specially devised by us in our online stress management program. This is very effective and all you need to do is practice daily for a few months to see great results.