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Our oriental philosophy advocates a relaxed attitude with attributes like tolerance, control of anger, control of desire and to some degree developing the belief that whatever happens-will be according to the will of God Almighty. So why keep on worrying about things beyond our control? But the modern man is not a fatalist. He thinks that everything is related to a system of science. Every effect has a cause, and every cause leads to some effect. In the modern world of reason, fate does not have a chance.
But the problem is that in this world of science and reason, man is going too far. He wants to outdo himself in pursuit of his high ambitions. In the rat race of outshining others he pushes himself so hard that his nerves are always tense and his body is always stiff. He has no time to freshen up his mind by living close to nature. Wordsworth once summed up the life of modern mind by saying: “What is this life if full of care, we don’t have time to stand and stare.” Modern man has no time to appreciate the beauties of nature like flowers, trees, rain, clouds, birds, etc.
Tension and worry is taking a heavy toll on man. People are becoming victims of chronic diseases like high blood pressure, diabetes, kidney problems, etc. Even young people are suffering from such diseases because their lifestyle is full of tension, work is sedentic, and their favourite foods are pizzas, burgers and other heavy dishes. Even school going children have their tensions. The expectations of parents and teachers are so high that poor children feel scared even after scoring 90 per cent marks. Each family wants its children to stand first in the class, scoring above 90 per cent marks.
Developing the art of relaxation is not easy. There are so many worries for each individual-economic, relational, corporal and official. They cannot be disregarded or wished away. They will not disappear if we close our eyes and ignore them. Not attending to the problems at hand multiplies them, making them more intense and alarming. So the first and foremost lesson in this regard is to attend to your problems manfully, analyse them, make a plan of tackling them logically as per priority.
The most urgent problem must be attended immediately while the least important may be taken care of after some time. Muster all your strength and garner all your support to tackle serious problems. Instead of brooding over it and burning your energy wastefully, try to find a way out. Proper planning and earnest endeavour can solve the most difficult of the problems. You will be surprised to note that when you translate your energies into action, the problem begins to decipher and look easier than originally thought. When one-fourth of the job is done, more than fifty per cent of the tension is gone. Tension is not only caused by the magnitude of the task but by our misconceptions about it. So become a man of action rather than a man of drifting thoughts.
It is important for every person to know his/her limitations. Your aims, goals and desires should be set after taking into account your faculties and limitations. Overestimating yourself is as dangerous as underestimation. If you are capable of becoming a teacher, do not push yourself to be a doctor or a scientist. A successful teacher may lead a happier life than a doctor, scientist or a higher official. Most people set much higher goals than they are capable of and create tension for themselves and their nears and dears. One may argue that setting higher goals is not a bad thing after all, and that one has to be ambitious to rise higher in life.
It is, therefore, necessary to make it clear that one should not be overambitious. Set difficult goals for yourself but they should not be so high that you end up a failure by sheer misjudgment of your capabilities. If you want to raise high in life, go step by step; achieve one thing after the other in a logical sequence. Highly overambitious people often lose their peace of mind.
Accept failure as a part of life. There is not a single soul on earth who has never failed in some attempt or the other. Failure does not mean that you cannot succeed later on. We often magnify the consequences of failure. Hell will not loose on you if you fail in something. However, do not get used to failure. Don’t be so careless and irresponsible to think that failure does no harm. It does. Many techniques have come up to develop the art of relaxation in a person. Yoga has been the most successful and universally accepted technique.
The ancient Indian civilizations emphasised on the practice of various yogic exercises to keep the mind and body in a healthy state. Yoga also prescribes certain dietary control whereby the body not only sheds extra flab but also prevents certain chronic ailments like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, bronchial disorders. Healthy mind in a healthy body is a famous proverb which contains a great truth. Yoga therefore keeps our body healthy and mind relaxed.
Meditation is another practice which relaxes our nerves. It is a method of sitting in a secluded place or room in the house and concentrating on God-freeing our senses from worldly things.
The mind is taught to stop wandering and thinking about our inner self. It is a technique of emptying the mind from mundane affairs which otherwise keep on afflicting us all the time. Our ancient universities like Nalanda and Patliputra taught this kind of meditation. These methods of self-control have been rediscovered in the recent times, and people have achieved amazing results by practising them. Closely connected to meditation is the religious aspect. It is often believed that being religious minded controls ones senses and desires. Our holy scriptures tell us that desires are the main cause of our suffering. If we are able to control them and curb our needs, making our life simple, we shall remain tension free. Going to a temple daily and saying our prayers also have a positive effect on our mind.
We are inspired to do good deeds-helping others, giving charity, speaking politely, respecting the elderly, etc. Such deeds give us internal and durable happiness. Developing some hobby like gardening, painting, playing some game, etc. also keeps us relaxed. And last but not the least, taking the help of drugs, alcoholic drinks never helps in controlling tension. On the contrary it increases tension in many ways. It makes our body weak, it makes a hole in our pocket adding to financial worries, and wastes our time as a man is unable to do any constructive work while under the influence of drugs. It causes great pain to our family members-parents, brothers, sisters, etc. If tension persists for a long time and takes the form of anxiety neurosis we must seek medical and professional treatment developing a relaxed attitude while doing our duties diligently is important for a healthy and long life.