If the recent studies carried out on Indian workers are any indication, we may conclude that they are among the highly stressed lot. Both stressed and distressed. Distressed because they are stressed and stressed because they are distressed. Not that organisations are not mindful of this. They are and are stressed about their workers’ stress. Look at the kind of work-life balance and stress management training programmes that are being organised. In fact, a whole new crop of corporate trainers have emerged on the scene who are doing brisk business. But destressing the working class or training them to strike the work-life balance is serious business and the right stuff is not available in the right number to train. What is being delivered is a kind of soothsaying workshop that does not have the desired impact on the lifestyle of Indian workers. Training people for lifestyle changes is not a bag of tricks that the so-called stress management trainers have to offer. Moreover, the accumulation of stress that is distressing depends on not just job characteristics or work environment, it also depends on personality features of the individuals and his or her support system, the type of family and friends they have, as well as the liabilities and the background they come from. Before the prescriptions are offered, there is a need to do a psycho-social profiling of the individuals. The fact is that for each individual a customised prescription will be ideally required. This was the experience of this columnist while conducting stress management programmes for different organisations. Diagnosing is the key to offering solutions. But both the company as well as the trainer are in a hurry and the return on investment, therefore, is rather poor. Naturally because quick fix solutions do not work. As mentioned earlier in the text offering right solution for stress management involves much more than soothsaying which is happening these days. There are three different angles to stress: The individual personality, the corporate environment, and the social infrastructure, that is, family and friends which the individual has. But the first angle, the individual, is crucial. There are people who are not stressed even in the worst of the environments and with very little or no support from family or friends. For these individuals, it is their thought process, their mindfulness that offers them resilience to raise their stress tolerance level. There is another interesting angle to stress. People usually do not realise that they are stressed and simply put up a brave front. This aggravates the problem. A US-based alternative health writer and stress management coach, Jack Thomas, has developed the idea of psycho-harmonics which is a system of understanding and mastering emotions. It is largely a faith based system which advocates the idea of reconciling the negative emotions and replacing them with positive ones. The Tibetan idea of mindfulness is also based on a similar concept. Even our own Indian philosophy, that rests on the foundation of faith and surrender to the divine, offers similar clues. Famous psychoanalyst Carl Jung had rightly found in his over 50 years of experience as a practitioner that none of his patients had unflinching faith. It is the first rule in warding off stress. But training to do so involves a kind of rigour on the part of the trainer who is in a hurry to complete his assignment and collect his cheque.
The writer is a professor of management and public Speaker,he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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