Ten wise and sensible pieces of advice for avoiding stress and tensions of all kinds (I)

By yoga teacher Gregorian Bivolaru

In order to exit the exhausting spiral of tensions and stress which often tend to overwhelm us when we deepen into our daily routine, it is necessary above all to learn to become again the masters of our own time. It is true that this requires a certain mobilization, discipline and perseverance on our part!

Each one of us knows that whenever we feel tired, tense or stressed, the option of relaxing for a day or two or, even better, departing on a one or two week vacation can be new and ideal ways for us to rebalance our lives, and even avoid chronic stress which is often caused by the tensions of daily activities. The truth is, however, that it is not always possible to immediately go on a vacation. Therefore, whilst waiting for the next holiday that will bring us a well-deserved chance to relax, we can put into practice as soon as possible, some wise and sensible recommendations that are meant to successfully help us cope with the dizzying rush when dealing with daily obligations. By always smartly applying these tips, we can avoid confronting inconvenient fatigue, tension or stress and we manage to almost always maintain a state of well being and harmony during all the beneficial actions we undertake on a daily basis.

The first wise and sensible tip:

Let us firmly and clearly formulate deeply beneficial and creative goals

At the beginning of each working period or when we move to a new phase in our daily activity, it is necessary to clearly and firmly formulate some deeply beneficial and creative goals that are related to the field of activity we are engaged into.

We can familiarize ourselves with this kind of individual practice if we try, for example, at the beginning of each week to very clearly define certain precise targets that we intend to achieve during the week ahead. It would be very useful if we reserve the time required to write them in a book, to have an objective view of them all. Then it is necessary to make a brief but thorough evaluation of these proposed targets to see which ones are priorities. Even more than that, it is better if the number one priority of the week is already established.

In order to better organize the goals that we have, it can be very useful to classify them, for example, given three classes of priority: 1. priority objective, 2. imperatively necessary activity and 3. optional activity. We will achieve this classification of the objectives depending on the perspective that we have now, at the beginning of the week. Then, according to the assessments we make, we will seek to focus especially on meeting the priorities and resolving the issues contained in the first two categories, without thinking for the moment of the ones from the last category, until we have at least met those of the first two categories.

At first, it may be difficult for us to classify our goals even in this simple system with three classes of priority. In this case, you have to keep in mind that in order to avoid becoming tense and of course not to stress ourselves, it is better not to focus on more than one priority per week and on more than one activity from the group of the ones necessary every day! Respecting this principle, we will be able to maintain our inner balance and we almost always will have a wonderful relaxed mind.

By thoughtfully proceeding in this way, we will be able to carefully pursue with a beneficial state of inner relaxation, the fulfillment of the beneficial and creative goal that we clearly formulated early in the week. We will find that by formulating a clear and firm intention, which is the wise result after much thought, will considerably help us in having more success in the beneficial steps we intend to take. However, we can directly and practically become convinced of all these if we understand a wise statement that tells us that “a beneficial action that is based on a clear and firm intention is already half achieved.”

The second wise and sensible tip:

To constantly keep track of priorities and necessary actions

In order to have the highest efficiency in what we do, it is useful to constantly write our aims, necessary priorities and actions in a notebook or in an agenda. Even if this initially seems like a waste of time, the careful and responsible writing down of the beneficial objectives that we have set in an agenda, is a particularly useful activity and also, perhaps surprising at first glance, very relaxing. This kind of objectification given by keeping track of priorities, also allows us to almost always have an immediate reflection of our intentional mental orientation and our present mental content.

Such a simple but very effective practice will gradually help us more clearly and precisely formulate our goals because when we need to effectively write in words what we intend to accomplish, we are determined to achieve a minimum effort of self-objectification. We can deepen this practical exercise by trying, if possible, to as precisely as possible also write down the time (day and sometimes hour) when we estimate that we can carry out the action that we intend to achieve and we should note this in advance in our agenda.

Also, in order to maintain consistency in our action and in order to maintain a state of exemplary focus during the implementation of each such action that we proposed in advance, you should start thinking about something else only after we successfully completed the previous action or only when we sufficiently accomplished a certain stage of a broader action that we proposed previously. In doing so, we will benefit from a sense of a striking and increasingly strong inner fulfillment and satisfaction resulting from the correspondence between what we wanted and what we achieved.

It is useful to consult our agenda especially when we conclude an activity and get ready to achieve a new goal. We can thus estimate if our initial assessments were fair and which of the proposed activities is best suited to be achieved in the near future.
For this activity of planning of the targets and of assessing the deadlines that we intend it is important to regularly consult these notes, for example, at the end of the week or at the end of a calendar month, to compare the actual results with those of our goals. We will aim to be as objective and responsible as possible and to perform with lucidity and detachment this individual balance of our activity. In doing so, we will also know and understand ourselves increasingly better, being able to correct, where necessary, any inconsistencies or deficiencies that we still have in some areas of our daily work.

The third wise and sensible tip:

Let us leave our personal ambitions aside and instead increase the state of profound detachment

To be truly successful in what we do, it is useful to try to minimize our personal ambitions and not to let ourselves be overwhelmed by a fierce desire to achieve something. For this it is necessary to always act in a divinely integrated way with complete detachment. A sensible way to address the program for a week or even for just a day of work is to constantly seek to cultivate in ourselves a state of detachment in all the actions in which we are involved. This is an essential key to serenity, inner peace and success in all the beneficial and divinely integrated actions that we realize. When we harden ourselves to do something and we are stubborn and full of ambition or when we stubbornly do as much as possible in a competitive egotistical manner, we do nothing but deplete our vital, physical, mental and even spiritual resources, in a useless and absurd way, and finally, after we notice that things did not go according to our ambition we are likely to end up being disappointed, exhausted, or to even snap. Therefore, in order to always integrate in a harmonious way our involvement in a particular action it is necessary, in the light of experience gained over time, to balance the efforts we invest in the various stages of an action as harmoniously as possible. It is also very important not to deceive ourselves by vain ambition, passionate involvement when our common sense tells us that we need to be aware of existing circumstances, to harmoniously adapt to them. Also, when we are engaged in certain actions or projects that we aim to achieve, it is important not to let ourselves be confused or defocused by no matter what other actions or secondary concerns which fall outside the objectives that we clearly and firmly established previously in a state of lucidity. It is very important to constantly and uninterruptedly try to cultivate and maintain in our being an exemplary state of detachment from what we aim to achieve, like someone else is watching the whole episode of what we are doing, even though we are the ones who are involved in it. Keeping us always in this state of exemplary detached involvement, we can also see ourselves with more objectivity and thus we can correct in real-time any wrong trends that may arise.

The fourth wise and sensible tip:

Make sure you have estimated well the time needed for your activities

Most often, the main reason for the failure of not carrying out certain activities that we have proposed above is the lack of time. The real art is to optimally manage the time you have available. For this, you need to allow making time, or in other words, to know how to wisely allocate the time we have to actually accomplish what we wanted. It is also important to allocate time for what we did not foresee, since we were not aware of all the aspects involved in the action in progress. Therefore we must learn to almost always foresee and to train our ability to anticipate the evolution of things, and for this it is useful to always allocate a reserve of minimum time in order to cope with unforeseen situations that could occur at a certain time, even during a certain action that we started. If we do not take into account this wise advice full of common sense and if our agenda is full to the brim with all sorts of goals that we allocated minimum amounts of time, then it is almost certain that at some point we will encounter real difficulties when we have to respond promptly to unexpected requests because we will clearly consider that we are “too busy”. The state of “being busy” is connected to our lack of flexibility in relation to the time we allocate in advance to various kinds of actions. Moreover, it is possible that actually some of the activities we have decided to do will take longer than we expected, and if we have not allocated time for such contingencies, we are in the situation of not being able to keep our promises and thus destabilizing almost the entire schedule. This can be extremely unpleasant and often it makes us nervous, tense and we stress ourselves out, especially because of the subjective impression of “not having enough time”. A helpful and full of common sense form of advice that we can apply is to let those targets that are not urgent wait and to preserve at least 30% of the time in a the week, even a minimal 5-7 hours, to solve unexpected situations that may occur over time which at the time are presented as some pressing needs or emergencies. It is important to know that the priority of some objectives may change over time depending on the steps taken during the execution of the action. The priority of an action may increase or decrease and that is why you have to manifest a wise flexibility coupled with lucidity and alertness regarding the proper way of action during the intermediate phase of a predetermined activity.
Read the second part of this article

19th of semptember 2013



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