Citizenship Programme initiative talk on Stress Management, Self Awareness and Self Mastery for class 11

On 18 April, 2023, the students of class 11 attended a session by life coach and author, Mr KVS Rao. Mr Rao served as a civil servant for over 34 years in various capacities in the central government, Department of Information and Broadcasting, health, disability, consumer and human rights sectors and the cabinet secretariat. He played a pivotal role in drafting and enacting the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016.

After retiring as Director in the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, Government of India in October 2021, Mr Rao is now an author and life coach.

Stress is defined as a state of worry or mental tension caused by a difficult situation. Stress can also be a situation when we are not at peace with ourselves. We can always be peaceful, but that natural ability is not being harnessed.

We want things to happen the way we desire whereas in reality, things are not in our hands. This gives rise to stress. It is important to give due attention to 3 components namely, mind control, wisdom and harnessing of our daily strength from inner energy.

With the neglect of all these components, peace, happiness, good health and prosperity cannot be achieved. Some examples of self-awareness:

Worrying about results: If a student keeps worrying if he will pass or fail an exam, how can he be calm enough to prepare for the exam? If he prepares efficiently and fearlessly, he is bound to pass. Focus on the process is more fruitful than on the outcome.

Repeated cycle of thoughts: If we are stuck in a traffic, instead of worrying and increasing our stress levels, accept the situation and enjoy music.

Effect of fear and other negative thoughts: just as a stone thrown into a pond creates ripples all over the surface, so also our fears and stress disturb molecules throughout the body including our vital organs.

It is unreasonable to expect change in behavior of others: we ourselves are not perfect and take time to change our habits and behavior. It is better to invest that time on our own transformation so that we achieve resilience.

Breath frequency increases when we are in fear or anger which can affect our health and lifespan. Pranayama is prescribed to improve breath.

Life in which one is moderate in food and recreation, moderate in exertion in all actions and moderate in sleep and wakefulness, such a lifestyle can absorb all pain and suffering.

Body and Mind: They should not become dumping grounds. Sufficient rest and sleep are important for improving our concentration and learning skills. There is no delete button in life.

Our energy should not be wasted through constant thoughts, emotions and feelings.

We must observe silence and do meditation to conserve energy.

We should not leave our remote control with others.

Each of us knows ourselves the best. So only we can find the most suited solutions to our problems with a cool mind.

To achieve self- mastery over thoughts, 4 techniques are prescribed.

 a. Watching our thoughts and actions

b. Watching our breath.

c. Keeping good company

d. Reading motivational materials.

Students of class 11 were active and responded to the questions and offered views when asked. There was a brief discussion on the problem of addiction to mobile phones and how the children were trying to restrict usage in daily life. We hope that the students will bring in these interventions not only during their educational years but even afterwards during employment, running a household and one’s life in general.