Life was simpler when many of us qualified as Chartered Accountants. Over the years, things have changed but have they changed for better? There is an advent of affluence in certain sections of society. Human needs as well as wants can easily be fulfilled as the availability of goods and services has increased, especially for those who can afford them. This should have resulted in more satisfaction for the affluent section in the society. But are we sure that this has happened? Our forefathers had lesser means but lesser wants and probably they were as or more happy than what we are today.
The human beings have continuously invented newer products and services to make life safe and comfortable. The efforts are continuously on and shall remain on more vigorously for all the times to come. Discoveries and inventions will throng at faster speed than ever before. More and more means of entertainment will emerge to entertain the people and make them feel happy. But can it reduce the stress in modern life? Can these human efforts to seek increased comforts and accumulate wealth result in more satisfactory life? Is the life becoming more livable for us than before, is a moot question!
One of the biggest negative of the current fast developing world is that life is becoming more demanding. Difficulty in coping with the demands is resulting into stress. Such stress has become one of the biggest spoilers. Though human beings have found out various medicines to cure fatal diseases which were the primary cause for low life expectancy, new ailments are getting discovered and many of them are result of lifestyle of the human beings in pursuit of happiness. The monster of stress is ever expanding in every part of the society and the ever-increasing means of entertainment are not able to de-stress the human minds.
Substantial literature is available on de-stressing, but the levels of stress are increasing and penetrating deeper into the society. Stress can be a silent killer. It can cause heart diseases, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity; which can affect the body of the patient on a long-term basis and further give way to other ailments. It can also cause insomnia, depression, anxiety and schizophrenia. High stress can result into a weakened immune system, gastrointestinal disorders, sexual dysfunction, skin irritation, respiratory infections amongst others. The effects of prolonged stress are sometimes not reversible. Therefore it is advisable to keep stress at bay, as far as possible. This is easier said than done. But focused efforts can bear fruits.
Apparently, the major causes of stress are excessive workload, loss of job, relationship problems with spouse and other family members, difficulties at work place, etc. However, they are the apparent causes. The fundamental cause of stress is fear; mainly, fear of losing. The fear is of variety of things, including losing one’s own life or that of near and dear ones, money, assets, reputation, social status, job and the list goes on. This fear causes anxiety, when the risk of such loss increases or becomes prominent. Continuous anxiety for one or the other reasons can cause stress to build up. The pent-up stress can cause variety of physical as well as psychological ailments. Some of them are curable but many may become chronic. So the best way to get over stress is to overcome fear. It is difficult for a human being to overcome his fear, especially in today’s complex world. However, conscious efforts can always help.
Primary needs of human beings are more or less the same. However, fear is mainly the risk of not being able to satisfy the wants. Wants can be never ending for many and those who can control their wants can lead a happier life as their dissatisfaction levels remain low or may even vanish. Great saints have overcome their fear in life and therefore they could remain content and happy with simple living. Overcoming fear can not only make us happy but can accelerate our journey to achieve bliss, which is the highest level of happiness.
Fear of losing loved ones is difficult to conquer, but this fear emerges from the fact that we want to have them around us for our own emotional, physical as well as financial security. Fear of losing money and assets is also a result of financial insecurity. People fear loss of reputation and dignity mainly due to the fact that they want to remain in high esteem in the eyes of others. Fear of losing a job also comes out of want of financial stability. Risk of business failure keeps a businessman in stress. Fear of failing an exam causes a lot of stress to the students and their parents as it causes uncertainty about the future of the candidates and it also has social repercussions.
As our life is more woven around wants and not necessary needs, fear of not being able to satisfy the desires plays a substantial role in disturbing physical and mental health of people. More the fear, more is the stress. We need to control our fear to overcome our stress levels. Being conscious of keeping the fear in check can fetch great results. The fear in any situation does not bring any solution but it can only make a person a bit more cautious resulting in better performance, especially when the factors creating fear are controllable. However, most of the causes of fear are not in control of a person and depend substantially on external factors. Such a fear can bring helplessness in the minds of human beings and the stress caused by the same maybe more serious. Fear of unknown or fearing a situation, which one cannot mend or to which he is not responsible, should be deliberately avoided. Conscious efforts need to be made to overcome the stress or at least reduce the stress emerging from such events. Simple acts such as long walks, reading a book, listening to music, exercising, chatting with friends and spending quality time with family; can de-stress one’s mind. The religious preaching of having faith in divine power can help to overcome the fear and keep a person hopeful. Succumbing to fear can do no good but can only cause harm.
Proper understanding of the difference between needs and wants; and conscious efforts to overcome the stress can do wonderfully good for us. Many chronic ailments can vanish and life can become pleasant and fulfilling.