Happy man silhouette flying with birds

Stress kills. We know that already.

The tragedy is that despite knowing this fundamental truth, we continue to allow this turgid emotion to rule and destroy our lives. We allow our anxieties and traumas to keep us away from happiness, bliss and joy. We allow the decimation of celebration and laughter from our very existence.

Why do we do that?

The simple answer is ignorance. Ignorance of what causes stress in the first place. Not being aware of the root causes of anxiety, we continue to live a life of mindlessness and neglect. These are the principal causes of one of the biggest killers ever known to mankind.

In my Kundalini yoga classes, which deal primarily with the elimination of negative emotions and blockages, I have seen numerous souls easily reconnect with their inner vibrations and blossom like flowers from a bud. All by simply following a few basic principles elucidated below.

Not being aware of the root causes of anxiety, we continue to live a life of mindlessness and neglect

Don’t get attached to the outcome of your actions

When we work hard at something, a project, an examination or in our professional lives, we do it to excel and there is nothing wrong with that. The problem is when we get attached to the outcome of that endeavour.

The best possible reward of doing something is to do it with love and passion. That by itself is immensely satisfying as well as gratifying. It is by attaching ourselves to the applause, success and fame of our actions that we commit the folly that gives rise to that ‘sick feeling in our gut’ when we fail.

Do what you love and love what you do

In keeping with the first principle, it follows that we should do what we love to do. A surprisingly large number of individuals have the luxury of not doing what they don’t love to do. I have known professionals who at the age of 40 and 50 have changed their professions to follow their passions.

A lawyer I know became a professional wildlife photographer. A student of mine gave up her lucrative family business of wealth management to take up painting ceramics, something that she loved since she was a child. These are examples of just two beautiful souls who decided to take charge of their lives and not be governed by their fears and insecurities. To live happily ever after!

The best possible reward of doing something is to do it with love and passion

Decode the Matrix

Know this—this life as we know it isn’t real. We are trained from our very childhood to fail and to be unhappy. We are taught to love success, fame, achievement and greatness. The most important thing that we are never taught is how to be happy.

The Hollywood movie The Matrix is a perfect portrayal of this problem.

This life is structured to be controlled by a few who get richer as you grow unhappier. I have a friend who owns 16 Birkin bags and the unhappier she gets the more she shops. [The price range for a Birkin is $10,500 to $150,000—that’s between six and 95 lakhs a bag!]

The day I became happy in my life, I stopped shopping. I did not need anything at all to make me happy. I was already there.

This illusion and fake world that has been created for us has to be left behind to pursue a world of beauty, nature, music and love.

It is only the latter that can get us to shed our anxious, unhappy and stressful lives and allow us to live a life of bliss and joy.

Stop lying

Every time we lie, we create the vibration that is going to cut into our aura. Each time a truth is violated, we take a step closer to stress. Radiant people who have a glowing aura are remarkably truthful and honest people who do not lie, cheat or hurt anyone by their words or actions. The very act of being dishonest makes our subconscious minds hate ourselves and we move a notch lower on the spiritual path.

Integrity on the other hand makes us strong, gives us a powerful aura and blesses us with success and abundance.

The most important thing that we are never taught is how to be happy

Eat well

This cannot be emphasised more upon. You have to understand the relationship between what you eat and what you are. By dumping junk into our body, we allow the rot in our intestines to infect our brains and our thinking patterns. In fact, this is such a huge subject that entire books have been written on it.

Suffice to say that a sattvic and nourishing diet makes you ebullient and optimistic whereas a tamasic and junk food diet paves the way for a depressed and confused state of being.

Sleep well

Probably even more important than eating well is getting our requisite quota of sleep every single day. Sleep deprivation is one of the principle causes of stress and stress-related diseases prevalent today.

Sleep is the time when our body as well as our mind rejuvenates and repairs itself.

Some people believe that only the number of hours that they sleep is important and that their sleep timings don’t matter. They assume that if they go to sleep at the unearthly hour of 4am and wake up at noon the next day, they are fine since they have managed to get eight hours of sleep. Nothing can be further than the truth.

Integrity makes us strong, gives us a powerful aura and blesses us with success and abundance

Our body needs quality sleep, which is best between 9.30pm and midnight. After that, the quality of our sleep changes to being less beneficial and healthy. So the ideal time for you to go to bed is between 9.30 and 10.30pm. The first tangible benefit that you derive from such a practice is that the number of hours you need to sleep goes down. So if you could sleep for 9 hours when you went to sleep at 2am, you may now need only 6 – 7 hours.

The need for quality sleep in our lives cannot be overemphasised. Those who alter their lifestyles to incorporate healthier sleeping patterns shed stress, anxiety and depression to a great extent.

Meditate

Man doing meditation

If we can learn and train ourselves to cut out the noise, the chatter and the clutter from our minds, we can live better, richer and stress-free lives. The act of sitting silently in meditation has more benefits that can be explained and catalogued.

Meditation heals, de-stresses and creates equilibrium in your mind that is an apt foundation for a perfect life devoid of anxiety and stress.

Meditation re-wires your nervous system back to the state of calm and silence that you are born with. It helps you to connect with your soul and opens your heart to love and joy.

In this busy, dog-eat-dog life of ours, if we can just take 20 minutes to commit ourselves to silence and to travel within, it would be a giant step taken towards peace, calm and serenity in our lives.

Love

This is saving the best for last!

The energy of love and compassion is healing and nourishing for those who are generous with the amount of love they share with others in their lives. Those who love generously and unconditionally are the ones who are radiant, healthy and happy.

Please remember, it is not how many people love you that determines the love quotient of your life. Instead, it is the number of people that you love.

So it is obviously best to open up your heart—to give and share love and when you are done doing that, share some more.

See the difference it makes in your life.

All of the points mentioned above are not meant to be just de-stress mantras that you need to implement to control your blood pressure, cholesterol or your anxiety. Rather, they are pointers to a way of life which is the only way to be. These eight sutras should be inculcated as part of a lifestyle and mindfulness that is not limited to just reducing stress or healing ailments. They should be lived, breathed and spread to not only live a happy life yourself but also bring happiness, cheer and joy to this world.

To make this world a better place to live in.


This was first published in the June 2015 issue of Complete Wellbeing.

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