One day, I saw an otherwise cheerful and chilled-out team member standing in the hallway, with a grim look on his face. “What’s the matter?” I enquired, “Are you all right?” He had clearly intended to breeze past me, but since I’d stopped him, he suggested discussing the matter in a meeting room. Once there, he asked me, “Can you send me on site?”
Some time ago, he had told me that he wasn’t fascinated by on-site work, so I probed further to know the reason for his change of mind. It turned out that his father had started telling him things like: “What kind of engineer are you? Every engineer except you seems to be going abroad. Our relatives have started asking me, if you are even an engineer.”
These statements had hit my team-mate hard. I could see stress written all over his face. How many times do we see such small things taking a bigger turn and becoming a cause of worry and stress?
Stress can hit us due to internal or external causes. In small dozes and over a limited time, stress can be motivating. The stress that a player feels before a game helps him or her to do well. But beyond this it is a health hazard. We owe it to ourselves to break free of stress by identifying the cause and addressing it. The reasons of stress broadly include (but are not limited to) the following:
- Mismatched expectations: Sometimes we aspire to become like others. We fail to assess whether becoming like that person is good for us or whether we are even capable of doing it.
- Social or peer pressure: This happens when society expects us to be in a particular way that is not in line with our natural personality.
- Not getting what you deserve: Sometimes we truly deserve what we aim for. We completely throw ourselves into it. But circumstances around us may change and force us out.
- Not being able to adjust with change: Sometimes people go through personal losses, natural or man-made calamities or similar major changes that are beyond their control. A reasonable amount of mourning about such incidents is expected. We are human and our mind won’t be able to switch things off and move on right away. But prolonging it won’t help either.
All of us have been in such situations at one point or another. How do we take charge of our own lives? We could try doing the following:
- If you are a logical person and use your head to take decisions, ask yourself: Can I do anything to change the situation? If the answer is yes, do change it and free yourself from stress. If you can’t do anything, then carrying on with stress won’t help. Let it go. You deserve better.
- If you take decisions using your heart, engage your mind in activities that you have longed to do for years. These activities will fill you up in ways you could have never imagined.
- If none of this helps and stress impacts your health, relationships, productivity or any other aspect of your life, taking professional help is advisable.
Either way, we need to move on! Identifying a way to achieve closure or changing the state of our mind is the key to beating stress.