Dr KK Aggarwal
Padma Shri and Dr B C Roy National Awardee
President, Heart Care Foundation of India
Stress may be broadly defined as comprising of 3 components, namely a “known situation, interpretation of a situation and the physical and mental reaction to that interpretation of the situation”.
Stress is a situation: There cannot be a stress without a situation. One cannot be stressed about some event occurring in USA without knowing the person or the situation. The situation requires familiarity with the particular sensory object (knowm situation).
Stress is an interpretation of a situation: Without interpretation, stress is not possible. The same situation can be interpreted differently by different people. A stimulus may be stressful to one but not to another.
Stress, therefore, is the body’s physical and mental response to the interpretation of a situation. Management of stress, therefore, involves either changing the situation, changing the interpretation of the situation or making the body resistant to physical and mental changes in the situation.
Practising Patanjali’s eight limbs of yoga via living a yogic lifestyle, adhering to the various Dos and Dont’s in life as taught in various religious teachings, and learning to meditate helps our body to resist these sympathetic-activating changes and handle the stressful situation.These involve proper diet, exercise, meditation and relaxation exercises.
Changing the interpretation of a situation involves counseling. Cognitive behaviour therapy used in counseling is one such example. Change in interpretation requires deeper understanding of the problem and removal of the obstacles. This can be done by using Ganesha’s principles of stress management, Rosenburg’s Principle of Non-Violent Communication, or the principles of counseling from Bhagwad Gita.
Change of the situation is the final resort for solving the problem, even though this may not be always possible. For example, in a dispute between husband and wife, divorce should be the last choice, after all counseling efforts have failed to resolve the issue.