Last week when I went to hospital for my infusion with Waliya, my daughter, I asked her for a topic to write on. Immediately she said, ‘being stress free in a stressful world!’ ‘Wow!’ I thought. Trust her to come up with such a topic! Well, she has observed me in all situations, and often gets tickled by my behavior. So, anyhow, immediately, I started writing. As she sat sorting out her own work, on her phone, I got to work on my blog post. While the drip of Perjeta, and Herceptin injection was being arranged. She was horrified to see that big needle going into my porta cath, (which had been implanted in my upper chest, before my chemo began last year.) ‘Its okay, I assured her, after this there is no pain.’ She relaxed, and I got to work here.
Is it possible to be Stress free in a Stressful World? No, not all the time, but definitely most of the time. It’s a mindset. You have met such people. How to keep yourself cool? Here is an interesting anecdote of Wasif Ali Wasif, that will answer your question:
Wasif Ali Wasif met this person who said, ‘I’m very upset with all that is going on in our country these days.’
‘Did you cause these things?’ He asked him.
‘Then have tea!’ (‘feir tu cha pi!’) he said.
Circle of Influence.
In life, you live in your Circle of Influence, (the part that you have control of,) and you are surrounded with your Circle of Concern. These are the things happening in your country, and the world.
Why get upset over things which aren’t of your making, and beyond the circle of influence. It is only in the circle of influence that you should be doing something. When something occurs in the circle of influence, then you do something about it. Even then, there is no need to get stressed with it. You just do what has to be done, and then be done with it.
I’ve seen Haroon and his wife Uzma are such folks. I’ve never seen them flustered, and they lead an action-packed life. They’re always chill about everything. Having a balanced outlook on life, with a good sense of humor.
If it’s got nothing to do with you, stop worrying about it.
On the other hand, if has something to do with you, but you can’t do anything about it, again, stop worrying, because that isn’t going to make any difference. In fact worrying will only make things worse. Also, it will deprive you of sleep, and spoil your hunger, and make you hypertensive. Making you ineffective in facing the problem. So, try to be at your best to solve the issue.
Say, ‘So What?’
Just say this! It is one of the best things you can say to an impossible situation. I saw it written first time in Flt. Lt. Nasrullah’s hospital room. (That was his ‘home’ for twenty-five years of his life. As a paraplegic.) He had been retired due to his condition.
As an air force officer, he chose to stay in hospital, rather than become a burden on his family. He wrote for newspapers, went out in evenings in his wheelchair. Had a social life, met people, which included visiting us on weekends, in our home in PAF Masroor in 1991 – 1992. My husband, arranged his computer to have voice activation (this was very rare in Pakistan then,) and Bhai used that with pleasure. He watched movies, listened to music and read books. In short he was amazing. If he could be stress-free. We all can jolly well be that!
Don’t think about it
It was the same when I got cancer and knew that chemo treatment will make me lose my hair. I made up my mind that I’m not going to stress about it. I mean, if it falls it falls, I can’t do anything about it. What I can do, is not being stressed out about it. So, I never took any pictures of my fallen hair, or a pic with my bald head. Nor the two times I shaved it. I got beautiful wigs and thoroughly enjoy wearing them. In fact I love them so much, that I plan to wear them even when my hair comes out. I’ve found wigs, are fun to wear, easy to maintain, and look good. (It has become my take-away!)
So, it is your call. You decide, what you are going to do about a stressful situation. Specially one that is expected, and you get the time to think about it, then make up your mind about what you will do about it.
Facing outrageous price hikes.
These days, the world over, inflation is at a peak. Again, since it wasn’t our fault, lets stop getting upset. Yes, we have to face it. So, there are few ways to face a price hike: (Believe me, I have faced this situation, time and time again in my life.)
- Increase your income: Find another income generating activity or source.
- Reduce expenses: Have a candid brain-storming session with family about how to reduce expenses. What things can be cut out.
- Stop or reduce the outings, to save petrol, (if you went out every weekend, plan some home activities, or explore nearby areas.) Go out lesser.
- Especially reduce dining out. Instead you can make some fancy dishes at home, and serve in candle light.
- Start growing your own vegetables and salads, if you can, and have space for it. It will make your food more organic, keep you busy and make you healthier.
- Re-cycle your resources: There is so much wastage in our lives. Let’s just make do with whatever we have right now, and stop extra shopping or seasonal expenses. Use those old duputtas, to make nice new shirts.
- Make gifts for friends: if you are talented enough, you can do small paintings to gift out, or do handicrafts to make gifts to give away. This will make your gift more valuable too.
- Enjoy nature more: Its free! 🙂
Do what you can, then move on:
Remember to do what needs to be done asap. Do what is your responsibility about yourself and your immediate family which is your circle of Influence.
Whatever happens, take a deep breath. Accept it as it is. Look up for guidance from Allah, or whatever you call Him. Then get on with it. Your actions will reduce the stress. It is when we don’t accept reality of things that we have a problem. Once accepted, things get more clear.
Laughter is best medicine:
You’ve got to find reasons to laugh twenty-three times a day. That’s the minimum. Meet friends who make you laugh, do activities that make you feel childish, and enjoy life. Watch videos that are hilarious.
Have a cut-off time every day:
In our case, when we were going through the worst time of our lives, maghreb (sunset, or 5.00 pm – whichever comes first – that was our ‘cut-off time.’) We never spoke about problems after that. An effort was made to do activities which make us feel relaxed and have fun. Often we went out for a drive or eat out.
Also when you do talk about problems, be solution oriented, and have a cut-off time for that too. Maximum one hour! (Or, whatever time is enough and appropriate.
Do not repeat:
When a problem occurs, sit down and decide how you will face it. Once decided, work out the steps needed. Then do not keep talking about it. Save yourself from repeating and mentioning the incident again and again. a
Always, always and always be grateful in whatever situation you are. Find reasons for your gratefulness, and look at the ways in which you have been blessed even in these circumstances.
Share your bounties:
If these are stressful times for us, then how much tougher it must be for the daily wagers, and those who are without jobs these days. Find some way to do something for those who are less fortunate than ourselves. That will give you an inner happiness. Find ways to be kind and helpful to those who cannot do anything for us in return. Do it for Allah.
Stay blessed my Readers. 😊