Stress Management: Balancing High Expectations and Exam Result Stress

By Sanjay Tiwari, Principal, JAIN International Residential School, Bengaluru

Stress management is crucial for students, especially during exams and high expectations. Stress can be a positive force, motivating us to improve and grow. Just as our body’s cells need pressure to maintain structure, stress managemment helps us prepare for life’s challenges. When faced with exams, viewing stress as an opportunity rather than a burden is essential.

Karmanye Vadhikaraste Ma Phaleshu Kadachana, Ma Karmaphalaheturbhurma Te Sangostvakarmani – Bhagavad Gita: Chapter 2, Verse 47

You have the right to work only but never to its fruits. Let not the fruits of action be your motive, nor let your attachment be to inaction.

The meaning of the verse in English- You have the right to work only but never to its fruits. Let not the fruits of action be your motive, nor let your attachment be to inaction. Stress is good. As a student of science, I understand that the cells in our bodies need internal pressure to keep their structure intact, and our blood pressure counters atmospheric pressure to prevent us from being crushed.

We all are limited editions. You have already passed the tests if you are reading this because you are alive. Stress helps you in ironing out any wrinkles within you. Exams and results are just the validation of “that day” stretching your canvas for a while. Good or bad are relative terms for only a short period of time. Beautiful people don’t just happen. Nature draws them onto the canvas of life after struggles, suffering, and a lot of pain. The problem is that everyone wants to be the Sun to illuminate the whole world but without burning.

We all want to be the best cuisine in the world but we get ourselves marinated in chaos of negative thoughts and unnecessary stress. With even such fine ingredients, the recipe gets weird. Why? Let me explore this dimension.

Success is not the final destination. The road to success in itself is “The Destination”. Why are you in pursuit of “Unhappiness” thinking about high expectations and results? This journey belongs to “Karmayogi”. Let me take you to the ultimate doctrine which helps in setting up our navigational compass in this organized chaos of worldly order of winning or losing. Whenever something confuses me, I come back to basics which I am very proud of, our own Indian Philosophy of Life. Stress management is important.

As stated above, I get this message from the Gita that I should not be that unwise person who gets delight in flowery words (or the chanting of real-life issues without understanding the real meaning, stressing superficial work and the ritualistic aspect of professional life). Bhagwan Krishna says “You have Adhikara only over your respective duty but no control or claim over the results. The fruits of work should not be your motive. However, you should never be inactive.” Here, the word “Adhikara” means enthusiastic approach towards the task in hand, hard work, ability and privilege, prerogative, jurisdiction, discretion, right, preference, choice, and rightful claim. So, if you have performed these duties well, where is the place for the stress? Why should you be even thinking of that? Have faith in the words and systems of the Universe and its eternal laws governing billions of galaxies and you get so worried for just a Board exam result.

As you pass out of the formal schooling, you will enter into the real-life school called Life. There will be no prescribed syllabus, no classrooms and no time given for preparation but every day, you will have surprise tests and in most of the cases, there will be no provision for retest/compartment exams to improve your grades. What would you do then?

You are a fortunate warrior of Krishna who is asking you to follow “Dharma” and that is your inner voice motivating you to perform your task well. Yes, I agree that we all become Arjuna, confused, stressed out, and want to give up. Here comes the unwavering courage and determination that pushes you to your boundaries, taking you to metamorphosis and shouts at the highest pitch… “You should not be looking for relinquishment because there is nothing more auspicious for a warrior than a righteous war.” This war is yours, against your own fear. There is a “Mahabharat” going on inside you. And you have to win over it like Arjuna because there is no other option. Stress management is needed.

Embrace this fear, love this stress, and face it. Let it come. This is the only way to avoid it. This stress has made us survive right from the primitive ages. Stress Management is Survival of the fittest. It prepares you for life. We have been under tremendous stress inside our mother’s womb for nine long months. Giving birth to the child is an extremely painful and stressful process for the mother and child, both. Without this stress, the child will never be born and the mother won’t be honoured as “the mother”. The seed is under tremendous stress inside the soil. It can’t germinate and take the shape of a beautiful lush green tree if it does not go inside the soil in the darkness.

Simple grains of mineral calcium carbonate get converted into shining marble under huge pressure and temperature. Coal, just carbon, gets converted into precious diamond when it undergoes metamorphosis deep inside the Earth. What do you want to be…a diamond or just remain like a piece of coal?
Don’t worry about the ups and downs in life. The summit of Mt Everest is made of marine limestone which means the highest point on Earth was once at the bottom of the sea. Let the life take you to the abyss. So what? The mistakes that make you humble are better than the achievement which makes you arrogant. Mistakes or failures don’t define us. Failure is not just failure, it’s a partial success. Dive into your ocean of consciousness or else you will be submerged in a pool of weak thoughts. 
You are not small. You are the cosmic dust wrapped in human skin. You are made up of the same elements which constitute all the matter of this Universe. The texture and fabric of your life are woven from the same galactic and cosmic fibre that echoes in “Anhad”- The Sound of the Universe. Stress management is fruitful.
I would like to re-iterate with all possible emphasis that you are the drop of the same ocean. So, whenever you feel low or stressed out due to any reason, just say this to yourself- “I hold the infinity in the palm of my hand and eternity in my heart…Aham Brahmasmi.”
This stress management article was shared with Prittle Prattle News as an authored article.
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