Sunday, 14 October 2012
Islam and Stress management (Part 1): Description and Importance of Zikr
Note: This series of articles about stress on “The Islamic Workplace” blog describe the type of stress one may experience as a normal part of one’s career. These articles are purely for informational purposes, and do not refer to the severe types of stress experienced in major crises or life-threatening situations. One should seek professional advice in such situations.
Stress is “the physiological response to actions or events that place excessive psychological or physical demands on a person.” It is a condition or feeling experienced when a person perceives that demands exceed his ability or resources to handle them. When you are stressed, it may result in any or all of the following:
Decrease in communication.
Decrease in motivation.
Decrease in performance since your performance is a function of your ability times your motivation.
Learned helplessness. According to Wikipedia, “learned helplessness is a psychological condition in which a person feels that he/she has no control over his/her situation and that whatever he/she does is futile. As a result, he/she will stay passive when the situation is unpleasant or harmful.”
Reactance. According to Wikipedia, “reactance is an action in direct contradiction to rules and/or regulations that threaten or eliminate specific behavioral freedoms; it can occur when someone is heavily pressured to accept a certain view or attitude. Reactance can cause the person to adopt or strengthen a view or attitude that is contrary to what was intended and also increases resistance to persuasion.” Reactance can lead to rebellion or physical confrontation to restore previously gained rights or freedom.
Please note that the amount of stress one experiences depends on one’s perception of the situation and one’s ability to handle with it. In a future post, I will talk about the mechanisms underlying stress.
No matter how bad you perceive your situation to be and how depressed or stressed or desperate you are, never give up on Allah. Doing so is actually tantamount to disbelief.
“Truly no one despairs of Allah’s Soothing Mercy except those who have no faith. ” (Qur’an, 12: 87)
When you feel overwhelmed and down with stress, remember Allah and do Zikr. Zikr refers to all forms of the remembrance of Allah, including Salat, Tasbeeh, making supplication (Dua), and reading Quran.
“And your Lord says: ‘Call on Me; I will answer your (prayer)…” (Quran 40:60)
As Muslims, we are in direct communication with the Almighty. He is the only One Who not only Hears and Knows all, but Who can change our situation and give us the patience to deal with our difficulties.
“Remember Me, and I shall remember you; be grateful to Me, and deny Me not“
Continuously relying on Allah or Tawakkul is an intrinsic part of your life as a Muslim or Muslima, and especially so during times of stress. Before you leave home for work, say ‘in Your Name Allah, I put my trust in Allah, and there is no power or force except with Allah’ (Bismillahi Tawakal to al Allah wa la hawla wa la quwwata illa billah).
Once you have determined how to deal with a stressful situation or problem at work or Allah, put your trust in the most Wise and the All-Knowing.
“When you have taken a decision, put your trust in Allah” (Quran 3: 159).