Someone said, life was stress-free when apples and blackberries were only fruits.
It’s no more a surprise that time at work and home have become unified in some way. Hence, we cannot keep our minds away from thinking about something that needs to be done. Our minds are haunted by a list of either incomplete tasks or undesired events. And at times, we are bothered by the uncertainty ahead of us. As a result, we either start living in the past thinking of the events of the past or think of the life in the future worrying about the unclear possibilities. In the process, we stop living in the present. While our body connects with the events around us, our soul stays connected with either the past or the future. This dichotomy puts all the pressure on our mind and is possibly, the stress that we experience.
If we can keep our minds focused on the present, we can respond consciously to the stimuli around us. It’s easier said than done.
What makes our mind wander : too much of work or too less of work? I think, it is a misnomer that too much work causes stress. And similarly, it is a misnomer that a little work leaves enough space in the mind to relax and leads to a good life. If someone connects with the deeper meaning behind what one is doing, one enjoys work. Every working day gives the pleasure of a festival day or a holiday. When one has loads of work, it’s possibly an invitation to more enjoyment until one gets physically tired. Similarly, on the other hand, if someone has no work, one feels unemployed and allows the mind to wander in the past and negative thoughts giving rise to stress.
We hear about bad bosses, unfriendly work environment and so on giving rise to stress in our minds. Again in these situations, one does not see oneself contributing to a positive outcome, creating value for oneself or a larger institution. Traditionally, social scientists recommended several do’s and don’ts to motivate employees, students, peers, colleagues, older people. Work environments are provided with ergonomic furniture, proper lighting, ventilation and ambience; HR experts build rewards and recognition programmes, run learning and development initiatives, espouse empowerment for their staff; Managers consciously give objective feedback to their staff, set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound) goals etc. Still, we find that some organizations work very well while the others do not see their employees engaged with the organization.
I think, the moot question is if people are willing to lend their shoulder to the spinning wheel of life. If the answer is ‘yes’, loads of work do not create stress. Rather, it’s fun and joy to see so much happen each moment! It’s about the connection that one has with his or her work.
One has to invest time and energy in building the connection with the present. Once it is built, one has to invest energies and emotions on it to keep it going. The wheel of life keeps spinning; we need to stay at it!