Breathe out the Stress

by Adwitio Sengupta
(Kolkata,West Bengal,India)

In today's world of tough competition, stress is inevitable. Stress is an integral part of our busy schedule. You cannot run away from stress. The more you try to run away from it, the more stressful you get. What is the simple definition of stress? Stress occurs when the demand is more than what you can supply. When you have too many things to do and very less time, stress creeps in. Stress can happen due to very trivial issues as well. For example, you go out of your house in the morning in a hurry and half way down to your office you realize that you have forgotten to turn off the geyser. So you rush back home and put off the power. Then again stress develops because now you are in a hurry to reach your office in time. So stress is something which we face at almost every point of time in life.
But how do we handle stress? Neither in school nor in college were we taught how to handle our mind. We were taught so many things like values, ethics, management, history, economics, literature, social sciences but nobody taught us how to manage our own mind. Learning to fight stress is an art. Have you seen an old house? In an old house or rather in any house, where is the place where dirt accumulates the most? The corners. It is the same with our body. Our body is nothing but a house. Just as dirt accumulates at the corners of a house , all the toxins and stress accumulate in the corners of our body. And the corners of our body are the joints. We clean our body from outside everyday but we never think of cleansing our body from inside. So it is very common to see people suffering from arthritis, joint pains, blood pressure, diabetes etc from a early age right from their 20s. Imagine a house which is not cleaned for 20-30 years! It is the same with our body.

The simplest way to de-stress our mind is to observe a few minutes of silence everyday. Sitting alone with our eyes closed for ten to fifteen minutes a day can work wonders for us. This is called meditation. Meditation doesn't involve concentration. In fact concentration is a by product of meditation. Simply sitting with your eyes closed and observing the breath movements can kill a sufficient amount of stress. Meditation is the art of doing nothing. Simply relaxing in your own self is meditation. Breath is a link between our body and mind. If you observe your breath carefully you will find that every emotion has a corresponding breath pattern. For example, if you are angry your breath will be heavy and fast, if you are sad your breath will be long and deep (when you sigh), when you are happy your breath is normal and rythmic in nature. So just by attending to your breath you can change the state of your mind. That is the reason why the ancient sages had observed so many yogic activities along with pranayams.The word Pranayam can be broken into two parts. 'Prana' which means the life force energy and 'Yama' which means to direct. So when you do Pranayamas you direct that subtle life force energy in your self which rejuvenates you instantly. Sudarshan Kriya,Suryanamaskars, Alternate nostril breathing, Sheetali pranayam, Bhastrika pranayam etc cool your mind and cleanse your body from inside. They also increase the oxygen carrying capacity of our cells in the body. When one practices these techniques a lot of positive changes occur in their body.

I have witnessed so many people whose lives have changed by practicing meditation. They have become more positive in their attitude, progressive in thoughts, improvement in their immunity system, clearer perception, improved leadership qualities, improved ability to multitask, and most importantly they have been able to get back the priceless smile on their face. There was an article which said that an infant smiles 400 times a day, whereas an adolescent smiles not more than 17 times a day. An adult smiles only 4 times a day. With age our stress levels increase as our responsibilities in life also increase. This deviates us from our true nature which is nothing but pure Bliss.

So just a few breathing exercises along with a few minutes of meditation can
bring out unthinkable changes in our lives. Stress is inevitable but suffering is optional. Going through ups and downs in life is a way of living but smiling with confidence through ups and downs in life is the real Art of Living!

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