People in India generally experience less stress than people in the United States. There are five main reasons why this is true.
(1) First of all, Indian culture centers around the family. In India, the divorce rate is negligible, a little over 1%. There is a small percentage of single-parent families due to death caused by accidents or illness, for example, but the extended family is almost always there. The family unit in India provides stability and predictability in everyday life. In the U.S., life often seems to be based on short-term relationships, and the culture supports this; marriages and relationships generally do not necessarily last, and this creates more problems and more stress. The family is still the center of life in India, and although people in the IT sector switch jobs as often as people in America switch girlfriends, the family maintains its stability. The security of having a rock-solid family is a definite plus.
(2) In addition, people in India live a simple lifestyle. They do not consume as much as Americans, but spend their money on necessities. They typically eat at home, and do not go out or buy luxuries. They may rent a video or two every week, but generally they can live cheaply. Their expenses are low unless they want to have a car or
an apartment or home in an expensive part of town.
Indians typically have fewer bills and a tendency to save rather than spend. This lifestyle may seem boring–but it also contributes less stress for workers.
(3) Most Indians are vegetarians, but those who eat meat eat relatively small quantities compared to their U.S. counterparts. Also, the type of meat is usually chicken and lamb: many people feel that pork and beef cause stress and aggression, and those meats are rarely eaten in India for religious reasons. The cuisine of Christians is an anomaly in India because they consume all meats; Kerala and Goa are states in India that are roughly 80% Christian. Finally, Indians typically use their hands more in eating, and many people claim the food actually tastes better this way, too. In fact, it may be therapeutic to use your hands more, just as many Westerners find that having a picnic or doing gardening by hand is therapeutic. In any case, Indians have a simpler, more stress-free diet than their American counterparts.
(4) Although not all people in India actively practice spirituality, their cultural mindset is spiritual: they have an attitude of surrender towards life. The average Indian has a level of surrender that exceeds even that of the most highly evolved spiritual or religious devotee in America–and surrender is considered to be a key spiritual attribute in Christianity, Islam, and Eastern spirituality. The tragedies of life can be overcome by family, simplicity, and faith. Indians take life as it comes, and misfortune and death are part of life. This attitude of surrender creates less stress in daily life.
Of course, spirituality is based on a belief in a higher power. In India, there are many gods, and it is commonly accepted that belief in a higher power relieves stress. Americans seem to have a much weaker reliance on God in daily life; you may say you believe in God, but if you don’t put your reliance on God moment to moment, you nullify most of the positive effects of your belief. Which god is the best god to pray to in order to relieve stress? Visit you local Hindu temple to find out!
(5) Finally, Indians have lower expectations and a sense of destiny that helps them deal with life. Their idea of karma is less stressful than our Western idea of cause and effect; they believe that karma is pre-set and they do not stress as much about their future. Indians feel they are not in control of their life; Americans tend to feel that their long-term success or failure depends on their actions. Indians generally believe that their destiny has been predetermined–so why worry? They believe they are not in the driver’s seat; Americans tend to push and shove to get into the driver’s seat in life. On the other hand, a complete lack of assertiveness leads to lower productivity in the workforce. There are many who are so complacent that they are little more than human wet noodles (broth not included!)
What does stress really mean? Another system of thought, Kabbalah, says that stress simply means that a lot of things are happening in a very limited time…and you have to do a lot to get ahead. Not enough stress means you are not doing much with your life…
So how much stress do you really need?
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