Tag stress

4 Big Reasons to Look at The Whole World as Your Family

My Ancestral Journey (National Geographic's Genographic Project)

My Ancestral Journey (National Geographic’s Genographic Project)

Several months ago, one of my patients, a vivacious young lady with asthma, asked me if I was related to Dr. Patel she saw when her asthma acted up during her trip to Alaska. After a brief pause, I answered, “Yes if you trace my ancestry far enough, you will find that he is related to me.”

Curious about my ancestry, that very same week I sent my DNA samples to National Geographic’s Geno 2.0 Project, where such DNAs are analyzed to track the migratory patterns of our ancestors. They have received close to a million samples already! After 8 weeks of anticipatory waiting, I got my report back. And guess what? My ancestors and your ancestors started their journey together 70,000 years ago from the same place in Africa. Some went to Europe, some to Americas, some to Australia, and others to Asia.

This proves that this whole humongous world is your family, my family, our family.

Does this really matter, you may ask? Do I really care? Why should I care? Here, are the reasons.

1. You can tap into energy of the whole world. A kid screams in Kansas, you absorb that energy just like Sulley in the movie, Monsters Inc. Teenagers around the world are energized about starting college, you too are energized. Athletes across the ocean are pumped up about playing an important game, you too are pumped up. Believe me, you will never feel exhausted again.

2. You can bathe in the bliss of the entire population. A kid in Hawaii is happy for no obvious reason, you are happy too. A woman is elated seeing her husband on his return from overseas duty, you too are elated. A businessperson is ecstatic with millions of dollars of profit, you are ecstatic too. You have never experienced this much bliss ever before, but now you can.

3. What about all the miseries and murders in the world? You have to believe this – there is and there has always been more Divine than Devil in the world. And what about your own doubts and challenges? Well, you can divvy up all your doubts, miseries, griefs, and problems amongst 7 billion people! You will make them disappear in a minute.

4. When you pray, you are praying for 7 billion people and when 7 billion people pray, they will pray for you. Wow, what an arrangement! Need I say more here?

Have I convinced you yet? Let us try it. Take a slow, deep breath and feel the energy, the bliss, and the prayer of the 7 billion family members.

Try it. You have nothing to lose.

Blessings for a blissful life.

3 Tips to Help You Meditate During Stressful Times


It used to be impossible for me to meditate during stressful times. I wouldn’t find time to meditate. When I would finally have some free time, I would be preoccupied with my workload and potential problems. These were the exact times meditation would be of great benefit, not only for my health and sleep, but also for my problem-solving skills, innovative ability, attention, and energy level.

Here, are the few tips that I have found helpful for meditating during stressful times.

1. Practice. Practice. Practice. Make it an unwavering routine to meditate whether stressed out or not.

2. Use the quietest corner in the house. Try to meditate during an early morning hours, when everyone else is asleep. During lunch hour, find a quiet corner at your workplace and meditate.

3. Do not get frustrated if mind keeps wandering. I have found that bringing the attention back to breathing works the best during such times. Try to keep an uninterrupted focus on breathing the best you can and you will see mind quietening down.

Your breathing and your heart rate will slow down.Tightness of the muscles in the neck and back will dissolve. Intrusive thoughts will disappear. Your consciousness will establish itself in the Divine within; the eternal source of energy and joy.

You feel that physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual rejuvenation. You experience the calmness of the deepest ocean. Thoughts and words you will notice come out of the Divine within and not from your worldly self. It is an exhilarating and energizing feeling, worth meditating for. So, find time and place, sit down, and meditate. It is that simple.

God Bless You.

Om Shanti.



Turn “Death by Overwork” into Eternal Health

A 36 year old engineer, father of two beautiful kids, drops dead of a massive heart attack at work in a Toyota plant at 6 am.

Death by overwork, called Karoshi, is an occupational disease extensively studied in Japan. In 2007, about 355 workers fell severely ill or died from overwork, the highest figure on record and 7,6 percent up from the previous year, the ministry of health, welfare and labour of Japan said. Of the total, 147 people died many from strokes or heart attacks.

Studies have shown that working more than 60 hours a week increases the risk of high blood pressure, stroke, heart attack, and premature death. Studies have further shown that it is the negative emotions associated with work and not the work itself that kills us prematurely. If we associate positive emotions with our work can we reverse these deleterious effects? Can we enhance the health? Can we live forever if we work incessantly with profound faith, unconditional love, and persistent fearlessness?

How can we achieve this? Just telling everyone and yourself that you love your work isn’t enough. I will share a story. My son’s elementary school teacher, Mrs. Roth, a pleasant lady in her thirties, shared with me what my son had tod her. “My dad comes home from work, goes upstairs, and falls asleep.”  After the meeting, I went home and gently confronted him. His chubby cheeks fell almost to his shoulders and then he said, “But, that’s what you do daddy!”

It made me think hard. I loved my job, then why should I be coming home with headaches, neck tightness, back pain, and burning stomach? I dug deep and found out that I was constantly worried about missing a diagnosis of early stage lung cancer, a patient bleeding to death after a biopsy, a colleague behaving unprofessionally, declining income, or a loss of independence. Once I realized this, I could replace them with positive emotions; joy, enthusiasm, optimism, faith, and patience. Studies have shown that those who work with happiness, optimism, and emotional self-control do have a lower incidence of coronary artery disease.

Kubzansky and Thurston’s (2007) followed a cohort of 6,025 men and women aged 25–75 years for an average 15 years. Over this period, 1,141 developed Coronary Heart Disease. A measure of ‘‘emotional vitality, an amalgam of vitality (sense of energy and pep), positive well-being (happiness and life satisfaction), and emotional self-control (feeling emotionally stable and secure) was derived from the General Well- Being Schedule (Fazio, 1977). Participants with greater emotional vitality were at markedly reduced risk for CHD, and this effect remained significant after accounting statistically for age, gender, ethnicity, marital status, educational attainment, blood pressure,
cholesterol, body mass index (BMI), smoking, alcohol use, physical activity level, diabetes, hypertension, and psychological illness.

I urge you to work with energy, enthusiasm, optimism, and happiness. Close your eyes for 10 seconds or so. Dig deep down and find out those occult fears, anxieties, worries, insecurities, and other negative emotions. Replace them with positive ones; optimism, enthusiasm, faith, and fearlessness. If you do that, then you shall reduce the incidence of high blood pressure, stroke, heart attack, and premature death. And if you maintain them all-day at work, you might just live forever!

In conclusion, negative emotions associated with work kill. If you diagnose these negative emotions and then replace them continually with positive emotions, you will reduce the incidence of Coronary Heart disease and better yet, you might just live forever.


10 Tips to Turn Your Work into an All-Inclusive Vacation

Photo Credit: Cecile Graat

Photo Credit: Cecile Graat

Last Sunday, I was flying home exhausted after a tiring, busy, non-stop educational conference in Houston. To make matters worse, because of the rainy, overcast, and stormy weather, we ended up spending 45 minutes in the tiny commuter plane on the runway in Detroit. Finally, we took off around 9:45 PM for South Bend, Indiana, where the weather was equally dreary. My exhausted mind was restless dreading the busy week ahead. After the plane had made the touchdown, the young and cheerful air hostess came on the air, “Welcome to Cancun, Mexico, where the current weather is a sunny 90 degrees with a pleasant breeze from the west!” and everyone started laughing! The cloud in my mind evaporated instantly, and it occurred to me that it was all in our heads. It all depends on how we look at our work.

Studies have indeed shown that it is not the work, not even, the overwork that kills us, but the negative emotions associated with work that kills us. Can we look at our work with the same excitement and joy we look our vacation with? How can we do that? Well, here are my 10 tips to help us turn our work into an all-inclusive vacation.

1. Get Excited. Tell your spouse every Sunday evening, “Hey dear, I am ecstatic, excited, and thrilled that I am going on a 5 day, 4 night, all-inclusive vacation starting tomorrow!”

2. Dress Brightly. Wear the clothes that you wear on vacation; a Hawaiin shirt, a tourist hat, those cool sunglasses, and yes, your hiking shoes. You may have to modify these based on your work requirement, but at least try to dress happily. I see doctors wearing a Disney tie or pair of jeans. They will joke, “I thought it was the Denim Day today!”

3. Take a scenic route to work. My scenic route takes me through an apple orchids, where I can catch a glimpse of a bright sunrise most days. You may say, “Doc, I drive an hour each way in the traffic. I can’t do that.” Well, look at the beautiful sky often as allowed by the traffic and you may find a crescent moon, or clouds with a golden lining, or even better a brilliant sunrise. Listen to the funny talk show on your way to work or to an audio book that is light and refreshing.

4. Dance at Work. You can twist your hips while standing at your desktop, or go crazy in the restroom and do several full-fledged dance moves. And when not dancing, walk with a bounce. Jump when you see something reachable. Whistle as you work. Smile while solving problems. These simple gestures stimulate our brain to release endorphins, morphine-like chemicals that make us feel euphoric and exhilarated.

5. Get Drunk. Really? Sure, go ahead and have your favorite drink just like you would do on vacation; Gin and Tonic, Bloody Mary, Pina Colada, or Mango Margarita. Did I mention the non-alcoholic version? How do you get drunk on virgin Pina Colada? Well, it is the inebriation from our endogenous morphine, the endorphins as mentioned above. Also, that state of drunken euphoria can be replicated without the alcohol with some practice. Try it.

6. Hike at Work. When you run frantically from one patient to the next all-day think of that as an active vacation, as opposed to a leisurely one. Remember the hiking trails in the Grand Teton Mountains that you climbed last summer or that sight-seeing marathon you did in Europe. You felt tired the next day, but you still talk about it with excitement, as opposed to whining about it. Do the same thing about the aches and pains felt at work.

7. Smile at the Grumpy Ones. When you get unpleasant customer or a co-worker, just think of that grouchy person you encountered during your vacations in the past. I am sure you have had your share of them during your vacations. See, work is not that different from a vacation after all!

8. Eat for Free. How can you do that? Well, I can eat for free in the physician lounge. I can have salads, pasta, veggie burger, banana, orange, peanut butter, coffee, iced tea, Diet Coke, and Cookies for free too. Find and use such freebies at your work. If you can’t find such freebies, steal. Just kidding. Worst case, tell your spouse to pack something for you from home, while you do the same for your spouse. Keep the contents a surprise to maximize anticipation and excitement.

9. Work at Your Leisure. It is possible. You just have to look for it and find it. When I get called to see a stable patient, who needs a consult, I shall see the patient at my convenience. I won’t run there right away. Also, I schedule open blocks in my appointment book so that I can take a break from work whenever I want to.

10. Take Siestas at Work. I love taking them during vacation. Well, replace them with a strategically placed power nap of about 10-20 minutes. “I don’t have time for that.” Well, there are times during your vacation too that you have to try hard to find time for a nap. Work is no different.

Did I forget anything? Will you give these tips a try this coming week?

Mud Bathing After Meditation; Can You Stop It?

Photo credit: Sanjay Kanojia / AFP / Getty Images

Photo credit: Sanjay Kanojia / AFP / Getty Images

After you finish your meditation session, how long does it take for you to go from a divine state full of faith and love back to a worldly state full of fear and hatred? For me sometimes, it is instant. As soon as I open my eyes and leave my little corner, my mind is back in its usual state of easy irritability, occult fears, and multiple wants!

This reminds me of water buffaloes back home in rural India. These buffaloes, after getting meticulously washed by their owners in the pond on the outskirts of our little town, would intentionally fall on the way out of the pond and roll around in the mud reversing all the work of their owners!

If we learn to prevent this, then the benefits of meditation will last all-day long.

Here are a few tips I have found helpful.

1. Be mindful of mud bathing all through the day. If you can’t diagnose it, you can’t treat it.

2. Keep a picture of your meditation corner as wallpaper on your smartphone. Every time you look at your smartphone, your conditioned reflex would take your mind back into that divine state of unshakable faith, unconditional love, and boundless enthusiasm.

3. Wear a necklace with an Om or a Jesus Cross and get into the habit of touching it whenever you are under stress.

4. Meditate in the morning for 15 minutes or more per your preference. Then, add two ultra-short sessions, one in the afternoon and one in the evening, 5 minutes each. This will eliminate mud-bathing from your day completely.

If you follow these tips regularly, then the health and spiritual benefits of meditation would last longer and longer such that one day you will experience divine bliss, heavenly joy, and boundless happiness every living moment.

What has been your experience with mud-bathing after meditation? How have you dealt with it?

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