Here’s a simple and effective solution. And it’s for free.
But first you need to know the different types of stress. There are four types of stress: Mental, Physical, Social and Spiritual. For handling these four types of stress there are four independent practical solutions.
So what are they?
1) Neither expect nor lament
Mental stress arises due to the way we view our world. We look at things from our narrow, biased perspective. We interpret situations. We base our conclusions on our past experiences. That is why the same situation not only affects different people differently but affects the same person differently at different times.
But if we look at situations as they really are, and not as we want to look at them, without interpretations and biases, then we can be unstressed, for reality leads to peace.
The Bhagavad Gita shows us the real situation of our world. It states that every situation in this world is either problematic or leads to problems. Each solution comes with its problems. And every problem leads to more problems.
Knowing the problematic nature of the world, those who are wise do not expect any permanent and perfect solution. You know why? Because there is no perfect solution. Every solution must lead to another problem. That is the nature of this world. And therefore, since the wise have no false expectations and hopes, they are not stressed.
2) Strive for balance and discipline
Physical stress comes due to acting against the universal laws.
Ayurveda states that our bodies along with our minds are subject to the very same laws that direct the entire universe.
The Bhagavad Gita therefore advises one to be in sync with the universe. This is attained by balance; balancing eating, sleeping and exercise.
When to eat:
Never eat between 10 am and 2 pm. Although generally the digestion is at its peak during those hours, it is so high that any food consumed between this time will be instantly burnt to ashes and be wasted, almost like throwing food in a furnace. So, either eat before 10 am or after 2 pm.
How much to eat:
Aim for two major meals a day. Eat when hungry and stop before you are full. This will take some practice. It is said that one meal is for yogis, two for humans, three for diseases, and four for death.
When to sleep:
Body heat between 10 pm to 2 am is at its peak to assimilate food and recharge the body parts. Don’t therefore stay awake between these times. Similarly, from 10 am to 2 pm, the body heat is again at its peak, but now the heat digests the food. So never sleep between this time.
2 am to 6 am is when the universe becomes active, light, fresh, peaceful and cool. And so do our bodies and minds. During this time period your body and mind will try to awaken you. If you sleep past 6 am, the body and the mind will get confused.
How much to sleep:
Sleep no more than 6 to 7 hours during the night.
When to exercise:
For best results, exercise between 6 am to 10 am in the morning to draw prana, life force, into our bodies.
How much to exercise:
Stop exercising if you have used half of your bodily strength. How do we know that we have exceeded the half limit? It’s when you get sweat on your forehead, lips and armpits, and when your mouth feels dry. And yes, never get fatigued. The aim is to get fresh and not fatigued.
3) Refine speech and character
Social stress arises due to the tendency of the mind to always think of oneself. When people are selfish, there is no common ground, resulting in conflicts of interest and thereby stress.
As our social interactions mainly depend on our speech and our character, the Bhagavad Gita advises us to refine our speech and our character. And, this will, to a large extent, eliminate any conflict of interest.
Speech should be truthful, pleasing and beneficial. And this can only happen when in our character we imbibe the quality of being a well-wisher to everyone.
4) Mantra meditation
Spiritual stress comes from not being connected to our higher self, the soul and God. When one is disconnected from the higher self, one is stressed. In that forgetful state one is almost like a person in amnesia who feels lost and stressed.
Forgetfulness of ones identity causes selfishness leading to social stress. Social stress does not allow one to perceive reality causing mental stress. Since the mind and body are connected, our mental stress inevitably gives rise to physical stress. Therefore, without dealing with our spiritual stress, all other solutions for handling stress will ultimately fail.
To connect ourselves back to our higher self, the Vedas recommend practicing mantra meditation. One of the powerful mantras that the Vedas recommend is
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare,
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
Try it out for a month. Chant the mantra for at least fifteen minutes a day and watch the magic of a stress-free life unfolding!