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Spontaneity…Or The Lack Thereof


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StressDuty and responsibility sit heavily on most of us. Each day we wake up with a long list of tasks to accomplish, and the mere memory of these is enough to put a cumulative weight on us that we term as ‘stress’. Stress comes when we know we should be doing something, are struggling to do it, facing obstacles, as well as the diminishing desire for the job in the first place. If all the work that were required from us was something that we loved to do, would we face stress? Stress builds up more when the job we are required to do becomes less and less likeable.

Apart from whether we like our jobs or not, what makes them more stressful over time is the feeling that we have no choice over many of the factors within the job. We can’t choose our office location or amenities, our co-workers, our role and assignment, the rules and conditions under which we have to work. Is it any wonder that we begin to feel like overloaded beasts of burden at the end of any ordinary day? Stress can be described as a place of ‘choicelessness’.

What are the ways we can adopt to escape from such stress? Only those things that assert our feeling of self-direction, or autonomy, can truly relieve stress in meaningful ways. When we feel that we have the power to decide about many significant and important things, we feel better. However, this cannot be true in an absolute sense. For a majority of us, having a bigger say in our job and at home, in short, having more power or control, will result in feeling better. But then, what about people who are powerful, and in control not only of their own lives, but the lives of many others? Don’t such people face stress?

The truth is that they do. And the one factor which can work to relieve stress among such people as well as among all the rest of us, is increased spontaneity – a more joyful approach to living. So what is spontaneity? Whatever be its dictionary definition, in its actual practice, it demands a willingness to respond with sensitivity to each moment, step outside schedules and rules. A spontaneous person will remember what brings him or her joy, and find time to do it at a moment’s notice even in the midst of a busy day. Equally, a spontaneous person will notice another’s distress and respond with an act of compassion or courage, with no fear of how it will look in the context or situation.

Whether or not we are spontaneous enough can be discovered by asking ourselves some questions.

  • When is the last time I played a sport for sheer pleasure? If I can’t run any more, can I still enjoy playing a game with children?
  • When is the last time I ate something for sheer enjoyment that had not been certified for purity/safety by everyone including my doctor and my spouse?
  • When is the last time I told myself that I would do something for the cluster of poor people I pass under the bridge every day on my way to work? Was I ever able to follow through on my resolution?
  • When is the last time I formed a friendship without considering common interests and milieu, or business and social advantages?
  • When is the last time I became so absorbed in what I was doing/watching/experiencing that I completely lost track of the time?

Life can feel a lot more worth living if we begin living it a little more from the heart. Spontaneity holds the key to such a lifestyle.

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