Author Message

Wind down but don't wind out

By Shyamal Majumdar
The Business Standard
June 6, 2003

Let's suppose you are a CEO and want to do a quick check
of the stress level of your executives.

Circulate these ten statements among them to see how well
they look after themselves. The scoring pattern is
simple: four points if the answer is "very like me",
three points for "like me", two points for "unlike me"
and one point for "very unlike me".

The statements are:

 o  I occasionally give myself something pleasant like a
       present or a treat
 o  I make time for relaxing
 o  I believe I have to be selfish at times
 o  I can say no when people make demands on me
 o  I am able to acknowledge and discuss my good points
 o  I pace myself rather than going flat-out all the time
 o  Sometimes I have to put my own needs first even if I
       hurt others
 o  I make time to cultivate friendships with people I
 o  I make a point of looking after my appearance and
 o  I praise myself when I do a good job

And here the results of the stress test. According to
Ashish Mohan, assistant professor at the Birla Institute
of Management Technology in New Delhi, if the majority of
the scores for each employee are over 27 points, it's
champagne time: your executives have a good sense of

If the scores are between 20 and 27 points, they look
after themselves well -- but could improve. But if the
average score is below 20 points, the HRD manager has a
problem at hand as your executives may be suffering from
guilt and poor assertiveness and may need a helping hand
to learn to look after themselves.

Mohan, who specialises in organisational behaviour and
holds regular workshops on stress management for top-
notch corporate clients, says the health costs of stress
in the workplace may be much more than anyone thought. A
dramatic increase in stress levels has led to spiralling
anxiety, burnout and depression across the globe.

Consider the hard numbers: a survey of about 15,000
middle- and senior-level executives in nearly 100
corporations revealed that the Indian executive is paying
a heavy price for life in the fast lane, which, in turn,
could derail corporate India.

The survey also revealed that as against the
international cardiac risk status of 48 per cent, Indian
executives' cardiac risk rate is about 56 per cent.

There's more. PERC, a Hong Kong-based consultancy firm,
found that stress levels in Asia were on the rise and
that India was rated 6.1 on a 10-point rating scale.

And, according to a United Nations report, workers of the
world are united in just one thing these days: record
levels of stress. What is more, the report warns, anxiety
levels are set to dramatically increase with spreading
globalisation and the economic costs for business will be

In the US, one in 10 workers suffers from clinical
depression and the problem is getting worse, with some
200 million working days lost every year because of

So what's the way out? While the extraordinary appeal of
spiritual techniques are, seemingly, the most-preferred
option with courses like Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's "Art of
Living" and Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's "Transcendental
Meditation" making rapid inroads into the Indian
corporate sector, a growing number of HR experts are
advocating music therapy, with its proven potential to
influence both psychological and physiological processes
as an important alternative in the practice of stress

A Coca Cola executive, who strongly believes in the
healing power of music to help balance mind, body and
spirit, says that the recognition of the inherent
qualities of music in association with medicine has its
roots in antiquity. Men like Plato, Pythagoras and
Orpheus spoke of music as a source of health.

Mohan, for example, is the only HR practitioner in India
who uses jazz music as a stress-buster. Why jazz? "Jazz,
with its improvisation and ability to surprise, can often
provide an important cathartic release," he says.

If the feedback from a group of over 45 managers who sat
through sessions like "Feel the Music", "A walk in the
clouds with Latin Jazz" and "Sing your pain away" at one
of his workshops in the capital is any indication,
today's stressed executives are more than willing to try
jazz as a therapy for their troubled souls.

The unique workshop of Mohan, an accomplished pianist
himself, is aimed at helping managers to learn to relax
and unwind while listening to greats like Frank Sinatra,
Louis Armstrong or the more contemporary jazz groups like

Listen to what the participants had to say after
listening to Sinatra's Cool jazz -- the 1958 great "Come
fly with me". While one participant felt it reminded her
of her mother who would often say, "Life has many ups and
downs. Learn to live with it", another said that it
convinced him that one could control stress if one wanted

Statements like these should be music to the ears of any
CEO who is looking at stress management seriously and
wants to relieve a majority of his executives from a
pressure-cooker existence.

Just in case you are feeling too stressed by now, here's
something to cheer you up. Stress in itself is not
negative. A certain amount of stress is necessary to send
the adrenaline soaring skywards -- like the stress
cricketers face before an important match or when one
crosses a busy road. Management consultants have a word
for this -- positive stress -- that provides life's zing,
and keeps us from being bored.

Six ways of coping with stress

 o  Keep a perspective: it's only  a job  not your life
 o  Don't be a perfectionist: you can't get things
      perfect every time
 o  Learn to say 'No': don't agree to take on too much
 o  Delegate: don't try to do everything yourself
 o  Express: don't bottle up  feelings and emotions
 o  Separate work from home: learn to switch off

Read the complete news at:

Jai Maharaj
Om Shanti

Jai Maharaj
Om Shanti

Panchaang for 21 Jyeshtth 5104, Sunday, June 22, 2003:

Shubhanu Nama Samvatsare Dakshinaya Nartana Ritau
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Revati Nakshatr Shobhan Yog
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Thu, 08 Dec 2005 03:34:31 GMT
 [ 1 post ] 

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