Maulana Wahiduddin Khan | ST Weekly Blog | June 29, 2020

Nowadays everyone complains of stress. One common solution for de-stressing is to take a break from work and go sightseeing. This formula has increased tourism, but it has failed to make people free of stress. There is the widespread notion that the holiday culture has only added a new item to the list of stressful things and that is holiday stress.

The real problem is that modern day stress is intellectual in nature, while people are trying physical means to de-stress themselves. The nature of the present problem entails that we find an intellectual solution.

In this regard the Quran has this to say: “Those who believe and whose hearts find comfort in the remembrance of God—surely in the remembrance of God hearts can find comfort.” (13: 28)

Remembrance of God means finding a high level on which to lead one’s life. That is, engaging in what is called ‘big bird’ thinking in symbolic language. Trying to find a solution for de-stressing at the same level at which the problem has been produced, is futile. Such a formula is not at all workable. Remembrance of God is the only workable formula because it is an elevated formula. This provides a higher level to lead one’s life than that of the problem. The formula of remembrance of God, in secular terms, can be called positive thinking. Remembrance of God is the religious term for positive thinking. Both these terms in their nature are one and the same. Positive thinking is an expression of a developed personality.

In the material world of nature there are models of positive thinking. For example, in the branches of the rose plant there are flowers as well as thorns. But there is no conflict between the two. The flowers and the thorns have learnt the art of peaceful living. Man must adopt this physical model in his life and then he will find that stress has suddenly disappeared from his life.

There is another aspect of the problem of stress. Stress is not an evil. Stress is a boon. Stress engenders a sort of energy—stress-energy. It is the manner of its utilization that makes it good or bad, positive or negative. If you have a developed mind, you can divert your stress energy towards positive thoughts rather than negative thoughts.

Whether or not one finds certain situations stressful largely depends upon one’s mental attitude   towards   them. They   may   not   in themselves be stressful, but only require a calm appraisal of the situation to be resolved rather than preoccupation with one’s own symptoms of stress. The best aid to such a course of action is the remembrance of our Creator.