“Work as therapy”- 27 December 2011

Not every individual is lucky enough to get the work of his choice. Most times you cannot choose and must take whatever you get. So the work itself can be a source of frustration and boredom for many. For some however, your specific job conditions could be a cause of stress and a risk for mental health. But make a difference here with your specific job and the nature of work you do. You may like the work you do but may not like your job and its conditions. So the source of stress is the job and not the nature of work. The nature of work may be enjoyable and challenging enough for you but you may be irritated by other extraneous factors such as a terribly autocratic boss, politicking colleagues, low performing team members and the like of it. Many people might complain of these factors of stress and lose interest on the job. This subsequently leads to mental health issues, such as mild depressions, low motivation, confidence- breaking, bad moods etc. One way out of this, besides the option of quitting the specific job, which is never easy at most times, is to detach oneself from these demeaning issues and focus entirely on the work.

That could be very therapeutic indeed.

Like a good sportsperson, who focuses only on the game and although aware of the unholy surroundings does not fall prey to it. That calls for some emotional control and command of your creative abilities that can uplift you and your spirits. Once, when I was experiencing victimisation on the job, for my innovative ideas, which the management did not want for its own reasons, I was not allowed to perform my duties. Every effort was made to thwart me in my energies and its utilisation. I could not and did not want to take leave and sit at home. With some help from my parents who guided me at that difficult time, when I was also very young, I was able to convert the empty time into an opportunity by enrolling for a diploma course in the University and using the ‘free time’ for studying my subjects! I passed with first class marks!

When people realise that human relations are a pain and a trauma difficult to heal, many become alcoholics and a few become workaholics. In contrast to alcohol work is a creative escape route from all such personal issues and proves therapeutic. Instead of drowning yourself in liquor it is better to immerse and drown yourself in work. It is rewarding though may not be in terms of money but many more things sometimes difficult to define. Money at such times is surprisingly not important at all. I still remember clearly honourable Dr. Abdul Kalam’s statement in his autobiographical account that he always found it ‘easy to handle machines in comparison to human relations’. This was perhaps in relation to a query from someone who showed curiosity regarding his single marital status! How true he is! Handling machines is definitely simpler than handling people and human relations. There is no guarantee that you would have a happy married life or a happy relationship with your near and dear ones but there is a certain amount of guarantee that you would gain happiness by channelizing your energies into your work.

We all are aware of the post-retirement blues that majority suffer from. Many begin to fall ill and occupy themselves with health issues which are mostly psychosomatic in nature. Those who thought they would look forward to the bliss of retirement realise too late that the truth is far from that! Wise people who learn from others know that they need to re-invent themselves with newer areas of work after they retire and prepare themselves in advance. We now witness a scene where majority of retired personnel are gainfully employed in newer tasks or are frantically searching for them. This only reinforces the belief that work is important for the human mind and the individual as it involves your intellectual capacities and puts it to good and proper use. People are happier working rather than idling away their time. Psychological studies show that stress is higher in the un-employed as compared to the employed. It is a privilege for the employed to be gainfully working. For those who have found their passion in their work area are blessed and the most fortunate ones. For they have understood the value of work.

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