Managing Stress!

- Acharya Mahaprajna -

The modern age has given man many comforts. It has also given a fast life. Almost everything is constantly changing. It has brought peer pressure, traffic jams, riots, violence, gangs, competition, and pressure from society, fear, anger, manipulative nature, greediness and many similar things. 

All these have created problems of stress, insomnia, high blood pressure, heart disease and restlessness. 

Stress is the root cause of many diseases - when stressful situations regularly occur, the stress mechanism is repeatedly activated; the heart begins to race and starts to pump more blood causing high blood pressure. Stress also accelerates breathing and tightens muscles.

Stress activates the innate mechanisms of our bodies, putting into action disorderly responses. The hypothalamus is a prominent part of the brain which incorporates all the functions of the body. The pituitary is the master gland of the endocrine system which regulates other glands such as the pineal, thyroid etc. Due to stress, the pituitary gland goes out of order.

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Stress activates the brain’s flight mechanism which causes the release of hormones like adrenaline, and influences both the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, causing imbalance.

Muscle tension brings aches and pains in the head, back, neck, shoulders etc. Due to adrenaline secretions, saliva glands dry up which in turn slows digestion and reduces the supply of blood to the digestive system. 

Stress makes man vulnerable to anxiety. Besides these, chronic tension may also bring the feeling of irrational fear. Thus stress is the root of all the diseases. 

It makes the person sick physically, mentally and emotionally too. To resolve the stress, people depend on parties, alcohol, drugs, television, music, movies, entertainment and sleeping pills. 

The idea that these items relieve stress is a great illusion. The permanent solution lies in the practice of Kayotsarga.

Kayotsarga, as practiced by Jains during their daily ritual, 'samayik',  forms a part of preksha meditation and it has been shown to be the best way to relieve stresses from the human body. 

Human beings have four dynamic faculties - body, breathing, speech and mind, which remain always active. They activate each other too. If Kayotsarga is practiced with complete faith and will power, it slows down the movements of these four elements. 
While practicing Kayotsarga, through the technique of auto-suggestion, gross body becomes motionless, breathing slows down, and silence is observed. 

Relaxation creates a situation of deep mental concentration, feeling of equanimity.
Rigidity of muscles is the main cause of bodily pain but when one relaxes his body, each part of body gets balanced vital flow of energy which removes stiffness, rigidity and pain from the body. Relaxation makes a person calm and pacifies all his passions.

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The main purpose of Kayotsarga is to gain self-awareness. The regular practice of Kayotsarga brings self-awareness in the practitioner.

If once a person gains the self-awareness, he can face all situations and remain balanced in all situations. Thus, practice of relaxation is the direct and harmless way of releasing the stress as well as stress-related other physical and mental problems~!

 

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