Swami Tejomayananda on Overcoming Stress

Worry and anxiety arise from our inability to face a particular situation and to deal with it effectively. This is the kind of stress that we feel most often and we try to relieve it in many different ways.

For instance, we become anxious when we are unprepared. If a student has studied well, the examination is not a problem for him because he is well prepared!

If a student who has studied well goes to the examination and is still anxious, there may be other reasons, such as personal ambition or high expectations from his parents which make him think: “I must do really well, I must get an A.” The stress and anxiety he experiences comes from an insistence upon a particular fruit of action, “this and this alone should happen.” Thus expectation, ambition, or desire, instead of being a motivating force, can become a dissipating factor.

Stress can be created by expectation. Desire and ambition should inspire us to work, but if too strong, they cause only perspiration, not inspiration!

Professional insecurity, emotional insecurity, strained relationships within the family, or any type of insecurity will cause stress. All the time there is fear. The only certain thing about the world is that everything is uncertain. Accepting the fact that nothing is certain, that all is unstable, itself relieves tension and stress.

The most effective method of avoiding such stress is to have faith, call it faith, devotion or surrender. Faith is the clear understanding that the one Lord is taking care of us. Is he not running everything? And still we are worried?