By Life Positive February 2001 Interviews of celebrities taken by Suma Varughese and Swati Chopra on the best stress reliever …RUN, PRABHA, RUNI experience varieties of stress-physical, mental, emotional-during a typical day at work. There are times when I am editing at the computer for 10 hours at a stretch. I also need to travel a lot. You can imagine the kind of stress levels this lifestyle inflicts on my body. A good night’s sleep really helps when I am tired. However, my favorite remedy is to go for a run. While running, I feel the pressures of the day dissolving and after a few kilometers, I am completely reinvigorated. Stress is a matter of attitude. I view things in the right perspective. I distance myself from the situation that is causing stress, mentally but sometimes physically too by going into the mountains for a trek. I pause to think-is this incident really worth all this tension? Isn’t there more to life than this? In the end, my faith that things will work out for the best gets reaffirmed. All my life, I have worked in high-pressure media jobs with daily deadlines. When I feel something disastrous happening, I practice a yogic breathing exercise, nadishodhan, which increases oxygen supply to the brain. Of course, a quick-fix way that always works is to put a smile on my face. I can soon feel the smile spreading to the rest of my body. My husband is a calming influence in my life, as is a wonderful support system of female friends. We share our experiences and problems and make it a point to always be there for each other. Prabha Chandran, Editor Indya.com …WALK THE TALK A couple of years ago, I went through a phase that made my life a living hell. I failed to live up to spiritual ideals that I had imbibed during my decade-long study of the Bhagavad Gita. I erroneously began abdicating my karma and turning away from life’s battlefield. Stress took over. My life went downhill. I was fortunate enough to realize that true spirituality is ‘be nothing and do nothing’ and not ‘do nothing to be nothing’. Overcome the ego and the senses and you are free! In this regard, Richard Gere is a great role model. He actually lives his spirituality. He has inspired me to actually ‘walk the talk’, that is, do what you talk about.We are all bound to experience stress now and then. I do too, but I am learning to transcend it. When faced with a stressful situation, I just think-‘anything that is bothering me does not exist’. If everything in this world is transient, then why get anxious about it?I often get disappointed with people who mistake my spirit of unconditional giving for naiveté. When this happens, instead of getting anxious, I connect with the Cosmic Consciousness. I remember that giving and taking ensues from the same source and if you give, you are not depleted. Rather, you will be reinforced constantly.Every day, I get up early in the morning and spend a few minutes in meditation.Vikram Raina, Director spiritualtimesindia.com …TAKE IT EASYI decided quite early in life that nothing is worth losing my peace of mind over. This is my first priority and it has been fairly easy for me to abide by this rule. Recently I was asked to participate in a very prestigious exhibition, but the deadline was too short for comfort, so I declined the offer without any regret.What sustains me in taking these decisions is a sense of faith in life and a feeling of being protected. Things eventually do turn out all right and I believe that opportunities will come if you are sincere to our work.And don’t forget that I am a painter. Most serious painters don’t suffer from stress. Their work compels them to confront themselves and be totally honest. So you look within, read books that put you in touch with the sacred and understand yourself better. A lot of stress arises because of inner conflicts and lack of self-knowledge.Above all, the painter knows what is the most important thing in the world for him-his art.Lakshman Shrestha, Painter …Relax with a good cryEvery few months, I reach a stage when I feel I can’t carry on anymore. Then, I prefer to go to a place where I don’t know anyone. If I can spare a few days, which is very rare, I vacation in Hong Kong. I just walk around the city, check out the latest international styles and generally do nothing. You cannot imagine what bliss that is after the long days of hard work I put in, shuttling from my studio to the National Institute of Fashion Design with which I am associated as the Director General.To cope with stress on a daily basis, I take time to be by myself for a short while everyday. During this time, I read or exercise. I try to work out at least five times a week.At times, when I feel negative emotions building up, I release them through a good cry. I psyche my brain so that I burst into tears. This is something that completely relaxes me and I feel calm afterwards.I am not religious at all and can count the number of times I have visited the temple on the fingers of one hand. But I do chant mantras, given to me by a psychic, as and when I feel the need.I do have a secret stress buster-pasting Swarovsky crystals on the garments that I design. After tracing the pattern on the garment, I sit with my crystals and get completely engrossed in pasting them. At that moment, I feel like a small child playing with colors and crayons.This activity serves a dual purpose-it soothes me and I also get work done while I am at it.Jattin Kochhar, Fashion Designer…JUST DO ITWhen you are a newspaperman, particularly a foreign correspondent, you have to be alert, you can’t put off anything for tomorrow.This habit of doing everything now has percolated to all parts of my life and plays a major role in warding off stress. This morning a friend called up and asked me to do an article on the Republic Day. I was to leave for Baroda at 4 p.m. and had my hands full but that was postponed by an hour. So I wrote out the article during that one hour. Unless one is trained to do something immediately, it is not possible to do an article in an hour. The spiritual trick is to be in the here and now. For circumstances beyond my control, I take comfort from the karmic view that it is meant to be.M.V. Kamath, Writer and Columnist…THE YOGIC WAYMy temperament is to find solutions to problems. I don’t give up. This helps me to cope with stress. I become anxious when I have nothing to do. I undergo anxious moments at work, when things have to get done and I don’t know how to cope. Then, I take deep breaths, do a series of quick push-ups, a series of 12 yogic exercises including pranayama, which I enjoy. I also do six Tibetan exercises.Shyam Benegal, Film Director…GRACE UNDER PRESSURETypically, I feel stressed out when faced with a significant change. What with the dual success of Kaun Banega Crorepati and Mastermind India, I have my hands full at the moment. A lot is happening and the only way I can safeguard myself against stress is by being prepared for all eventualities. I can only relax when I know that everything is taken care of. Once in a while, stress levels become uncomfortably high. Then I deliberately switch off my mind from that particular problem for a while and concentrate on something else.The simple pleasures of life, like spending time with my wife, Anita, and children, Aditya and Medha, mean a lot to me. I do not follow any specific stress-busting technique like meditation or yoga. Surfing on TV or the Internet, a shower or a drink with friends work well enough to escape the daily grind. Also, low stress travel to a pleasant place is a great tranquilizer for me. Stress doesn’t really scare me. It is part and parcel of our lives. I actually feel that positive stress does wonders for your job performance. As long as positive stress is in dominance, it is fine.Siddhartha Basu, CEO, Synergy Communications
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