Manage Stress with Spirituality and Enjoy Work Life


By

Dr. G. Lakshmi
Sr. Faculty Member
ICFAI National College
Mysore
 


ABSTRACT

Stress is usually thought of a negative terms. Stress can manifest itself in both positive and negative ways. The positive stress is known as Eustress. It is viewed as a motivator since in its absence the individual lacks that 'edge' necessary for peak performance. Stress is considered negative when it is associated with heart diseases, absenteeism, breakdowns, physical and organizational and emotional problems. Stress can either help or hinder one's effectiveness depending upon the stress level. When the level increases, personal effectiveness increases but, when the stress crosses the optimum level, the persons' effectiveness declines. Too much tension in the string also yields very poor result and may break the string. Only optimal amount of tension only produces pleasant music. There are several major sources of stress.

Spirituality is the essence and religion is form. Spirituality is the source of an unlimited number of forms of human experience may take, like meditation, prayer and treating others with respect, dignity and as equals. The Managers in an organization are more concerned about their workers and subordinates and the impact of spirituality on their working habits. Workplace spirituality refers to the ways few express our spirituality at work, both for personal support and in making ethical and just decisions. The effect of spirituality is Planning, Organisation, Directing, Coordinating and controlling.

Unlearn Egos: EGO means Edging God Out. Very important I in us creating a sense of separateness and we inflict our personalities with pride and selfishness. Ego keeps us away from reality and makes our perceptions distorted. We become rude, aggressive and indifferent at work. Instead of overpowering out ego and throwing away rotten mentalities, we keep on blowing our own horn about No Overwork without compensation. Resulting in frustration, fatigue, stress and reduced effectiveness. As "Patanjali says "The mind is like a clear crystal. It has simply got covered with dust (EGO) If you want to see life clearly you have to wash all the dirt off. A person engulfed with such dirty attitudes will pollute everybody and everything around him. Ego widens the gap between people and destroys relationships. The only way to overcome ego is to be patient and sympathetic and doing work inspired by a higher spirit. The Vedas offer important lessons to all of us that in order to realize our full potential, we must get rid of egoism, which breeds from ignorance.

INTRODUCTION

"Stress "refers to an individual's reaction to a disturbing factor in the environment. It is defined as an adaptive response to an external situation that results in physical, psychological, and behavioral deviations for organizational participants. Stress is the feeling one experience when he perceives a gap between what one wants and what one gets or has; it becomes an excess of demands over the individual's ability to meet them. It is an internal reaction caused by our perception or interpretation of what is outside and it results in building up of commotion within us.

Stress is usually thought of a negative terms. Stress can manifest itself in both positive and negative ways. The positive stress is known as Eustress. It is viewed as a motivator since in its absence the individual lacks that 'edge' necessary for peak performance. Stress is considered negative when it is associated with heart diseases, absenteeism, breakdowns, physical and organizational and emotional problems.

Stress can either help or hinder one's effectiveness depending upon the stress level. When the level increases, personal effectiveness increases but, when the stress crosses the optimum level, the persons' effectiveness declines. Too much tension in the string also yields very poor result and may break the string. Only optimal amount of tension only produces pleasant music. There are several major sources of stress. The stressors generate from individual, group, organizational and extra organizational sources. Job stress is not limited just to things that happen inside the organization, during working hours. The other organizational stressors are family relocation, economic and financial conditions, race and class and community conditions etc.,

A group can also be a potential source of stress. These group stressors can be categorized into three areas. They are lack of group cohesiveness, lack of social support and intra individual, interpersonal and inter-group conflicts. Among individual factors contributing to stress are personality, life and career changes and lift trauma.

The following are the major stressors:

Procrastination: It affects most of us at sometime. Most often we procrastinate when faced with something we do not want to do. However most of the stress is self-induced and they are caused not by external events but by the way one looks at and interprets those events which occur in life.

Environmental and work stress:

This will affect from an inability to perform well in a particular role because of misunderstanding over what is required from the role of a boss or subordinate or because of lack of skills. It may come from overcrowding, pollution, untidiness and distractions.

Fatigue and Overwork: Here, stress builds up over a long period. This can occur where one tries to achieve too much in too little a time, or where one is not using effective time management strategies.

Frustration: It is a result of a motivation being blocked to prevent one from reaching a desired goal. Assume that you are trying to finish a report by quitting time, but one interference after another requires your attention and your time. When we are sure that our goal for the day many not be reached, you are likely to become frustrated and become irritable and develop an uneasy feeling in your stomach, or have some other reaction. These reactions to frustration are known as Defense Mechanisms.

EFFECTS OF STRESS;

Stress can have serious consequences on both our health and work performance. The problems due to high levels of stress can be exhibited physically, psychologically or behaviourally by the individual. High levels of stress are also associates with ulcers, high blood pressure and arteriosclerosis. Stress can cause depression; irritation, anxiety, and fatigue lowered self-esteem and reduced job satisfaction. Sustained over a long period, stress can lead to attempts to escape through the use of drugs or alcohol. The job related stress leads to lower productivity. Lower quality, high health care cost and increasing employee conflicts.

STRATEGIES:

There are few specific techniques that individuals can sue to eliminate or more effectively manage inevitable, prolonged stress conditions:

Yoga: Yoga is the most effective remedy for stress. It has been used in our country for centuries. Pranayaama, Manomaya Kosha, Anandamaya Kosha are useful to cope with stress.

Pace Yourself: Plan the day on a flexible basis. Do not try to do many things at a time. Slow down. Think before reacting to negative situations or people. Avoid the trap of trying to do too many things at a time and then failing to accomplish much.

Practice the relaxation response: Engage yourself in physical activity, such as swimming, walking, riding bicycles to get some exercise to combat stress. Freely discuss the problems, fears, frustrations and sources of uprightness with those who care about you.

Focus on situation and solution. Nothing will happen until we start concentrating on the solution. By deliberately managing the antecedents and the consequences of their own behaviour, people can achieve self-control and can avoid people or situations that they know will put them under stress. This strategy involves individuals controlling the situation instead of letting the situation control them.

MANAGE STRESS: The art of stress management is to keep our composure at a level that is healthy and enjoyable. The strategies that should be adopted to manage excessive stress depend on the source of that stress. Where stress and fatigue are long term, then life style and organizational changes may be appropriate. If the feeling of stress comes from adrenalin in the body, then it may be effective to relax the body and slow down the flow of adrenalin.

SPIRITUALITY; Due to stress, ambiguous, face paced, demanding, chaotic work life only value based working is the only solution. Inner wisdom is the only source that will sustain in the long run. Ethical and spiritual values have lost their place leading to employees with many mental problems and also dissatisfaction among them regarding their jobs. Spirituality is that which comes from within. Spirituality is beyond our programmed beliefs and values that is the source of wisdom. It is the source that influences to behave with passion, understanding, empathy and love.

Spirituality is the essence and religion is form. Spirituality is the source of an unlimited number of forms of human experience may take, like meditation, prayer and treating others with respect, dignity and as equals. The Managers in an organization are more concerned about their workers and subordinates and the impact of spirituality on their working habits. Workplace spirituality refers to the ways few express our spirituality at work, both for personal support and in making ethical and just decisions. The effects of spirituality are Planning, Organization, Directing, Coordinating and controlling.

First of all a Manager should establish a personal vision of their function in concert with the organization's vision use meditation and visualization to explore for creative consciousness for a vision that is consistent with the organization's higher purpose beyond self-interest. Now the manager will plan his work in concert with the vision of the Organization create specific definable and measurable results that would ensure that his personal vision is achieved through the achievement of the organizational goals and objectives. Focus the employees; thoughts and actions on the things they can change or influence and leave the rest to the future.

Making unrealistic demand from employees will lead to stress and misunderstandings which worsens the position. Developing interpersonal communication skills such as listening to other's views and providing effective and timely feedback is a key to effective communication. When one's ideas and attitudes are effectively communicated to people around, they may land in a win win situation in every sphere of workplace or social gathering. This can save the manager and his subordinates from unnecessary misunderstandings and consequent tensions. Managers should value and integrate differences in all their business transactions establish an accountability system that is performance, result oriented in terms of differences. After organizing the work and delegating it to others according to plans ascertained, the next step is to direct others during their functioning.

Manager must support their employees at every stage. Establish regular communication with personal source of guidance, wisdom and inspiration take 5 to 10 minutes everyday to meditate, pray or introspect regarding a situation or opportunity that requires attention in the organization's life. Lot of importance is attached to including spirituality at all levels of managerial functions. Not only directing and motivating employees can lead to the successful achievement of organizational goals but it is also necessary to coordinate their activities, the next function of managers.

To avoid any conflict in the functioning of various departments in an organization, it is necessary for the managers to coordinate all their functions. Teamwork has the capacity to bring satisfaction to our efforts and learning to our minds and hearts. Challenge to strive to do one's best when others on the team simply want to get the task done well or not. The problem of most of the MNCs toeay is the cultural differences among employees, which can be dealt with effectively by including spirituality in manager's perception. Even one can develop a new level of appreciation.

The success of any plan made by the management depends upon the controlling function of the managers. Without effective control all managerial planning is futile. Nowadays, control function does not mean harsh control techniques adopted by managers which may include strict physical or monetary punishments rather a more understandable and realistic measure. The inclusion of spirituality at control level is important as it helps both, the managers as well as the employees to understand each other's problems and point of view in a more reasonable and sensible manner. The people are looking for leaders who are enlightened enough to provide a visionary leadership with an assertive communication, and inspiration to make a different. The main reason that today's work force predominantly behaves irresponsible and uncaring according to many managers- is because they were expected to behave like machines, to do the job without thinking what was right or wrong.

A workplace where people have the feeling that they are an asset for the organization, the their family and their feelings are appreciated, that their thoughts on processes at work are heard and seriously considered, a workplace where there is z connection between top management and the operational level without many doors that need to be passed first, is a workplace where everyone will want to stay. This kind of work environment is possible only when spirituality is a part and parcel of management function and workers day to day activity.

ENJOYING THE WORKLIFE:

Work is meant to be a celebration or source of enjoyment. It is a fulfillment. Instead it has turned out to be a drudgery or a pastime for a majority of us. Modern technology, fast life style and materialistic attitude disempowering us and we feel dull, fatigued, dejected and tortured. So what to do? The only time for enjoy and celebrate is on weekends when they unwind themselves. However a closer examination would reveal that we have only a vague and very subjective idea of the policies of our organizations and about the competitor's ways of working. Carefully we have to go step by step to derive some logical conclusions.

Unlearn Egos: EGO means Edging God Out. Very important I in us creating a sense of separateness and we inflict our personalities with pride and selfishness. Ego keeps us away from reality and makes our perceptions distorted. We become rude, aggressive and indifferent at work. Instead of overpowering out ego and throwing away rotten mentalities, we keep on blowing our own horn about No Overwork without compensation resulting in frustration, fatigue, stress and reduced effectiveness.

As "Patanjali says " The mind is like a clear crystal. It has simply got covered with dust (EGO) If you want to see life clearly you have to wash all the dirt off. A person engulfed with such dirty attitudes will pollute everybody and everything around him. Ego widens the gap between people and destroys relationships. The only way to overcome ego is to be patient and sympathetic and doing work inspired by a higher spirit. The Vedas offer important lessons to all of us that in order to realize our full potential, we must get rid of egoism, which breeds  from ignorance.

We must have faith in our capacity to unlearn wrong attitudes. Help, guidance, inspiration may come from a Guru, guide or teacher, or it may be you yourself. Start unlearning" conditioned responses". A way to strengthen ourselves and ward off negativities is to remember that, inspite of outward differences and appearances; we are pure, perfect and divine in origin and part of one God. Be patient and cultivate faith. We must explore honesty.

We talk about our problems in front of out colleagues, bosses or whosoever in a public forum; we proclaim we are very hard working, often working late hours. We are quite positive in attitudes se say, and somebody else is making our life miserable. Infact, we are very dishonest. To hide our inefficiencies, we blame our bosses, organization and its policies. If we honestly introspect the present scenario, we will find that a lot of our problems and frustrations are self created and can be safely dumped away.

The Sloka of Gita says that do your work and do not wish for results. Your duty is to work and the results are in God's hands. People term this a propagation of fatalistic attitude amongst masses. In fact, Krishna is not wrong, only the interpretation is wrong. Krishna is not wrong, only the interpretation is wrong. Krishna never meant to say Work without rewards what he meant was that you keep on doing your work with full efforts, energy and concentration. Rewards will automatically follow. But if, while working, you keep on thinking and worrying about rewards, your efforts, energy and concentration on work will get reduced. So herein lies the crux- work dispassionately and it will never bore you henceforth.
 


Dr. G. Lakshmi
Sr. Faculty Member
ICFAI National College
Mysore
 

Source: E-mail August 19, 2008

           

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