Over winter break, I traveled to India on a short-term study abroad trip for two weeks. When friends ask me about the trip, it is hard for me to find the words to describe everything I did and saw. The one thing that I did learn, and probably the most important, was how to be more relaxed. I feel like I am finally back to normal after being home for three weeks, at least back on a normal sleeping schedule and a little more adjusted to the cold weather. But I am not back to my old self and hope to not go back to my old attitudes. Learning to let go of all of the things I cannot control has helped significantly with my stress levels so far in the semester and is something I think everyone should try to do more.
One of the places we visited was Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana University in Bangalore. The University offers instruction in yoga and does research on yoga’s effect on the human body. There were many lectures about how yoga is more than just doing the moves; it is a state of mind and a way of being. The purpose of these lectures was to show how it is important to let go of anger. Specifically, one lecturer emphasized the point of letting go of all of the things out of our control. I have tried to practice this ever since that lecture and think that it is an important way to live life.
It is easy to get caught up in school work, and the work in itself is often stressful. Add that to all of the other clubs and activities that people are part of, and there is so much stress that it is easy to get frustrated and break down, especially with such inclement weather as Cleveland has throughout the first months of the spring semester. For example, last weekend I had a rough day because everything seemed to be going wrong. The weather and construction on basically all the streets around me made me late, and I was already agitated by all of the work I had for school. Then I remembered how I was trying to not be such an angry person and that in the grand scheme of things, the weather and being late did not really matter. Since these things were out of my control, there was no point in wasting energy being angry about them.
School is only going to be a small part of my life. Although right now, in the midst of it, it seems like the most important thing, soon I will graduate and have to worry about other problems besides writing a paper and reading for class. School is important, and living in the moment and enjoying my time while here at Case Western Reserve University also is. It is also important to step back and realize that all of this stress with school, especially about things that cannot be controlled like working in groups or the weather, is not completely necessary. It helps to take a step back and see this, because then it is easier to focus on the things I can control like reading for class the next day.
There are so many things that I learned in India that I could write and want to tell everyone about, but the most important thing is to let go. There is no use in getting upset about things you cannot handle, because that just leads to unnecessary stress and anxiety. We are all lucky to be at CWRU and receive such a great education. While not every class might be easy, it is important to try hard in school. I do not want to be so stressed about it that I cannot enjoy my life. So, I want to encourage everyone to think about how not everything is in your control the next time they are having a bad day. Letting go of your anger and stress about these things will help you be happier. I find this difficult to do still, but I really enjoy the peacefulness I find when I am able to not be angry about the snow or cancelled meetings.
Abby Assmus is a senior English and History major. She hopes she is not the only person who makes time every day to relax instead of doing school work.