Published: 19th May 2021
Why self-discipline might just be the antidote that saves us from the pandemic
Self-discipline allows one to stay focused on your goals. “While a disciplined mind leads to happiness, and an undisciplined mind leads to suffering", said the Dalai Lama. Read on to find out more...
This is the time people must realise their responsibility to act in a civilised manner to emerge strongly from this second wave of COVID-19. The World Health Organisation (WHO) recognises the value of human behaviour in managing pandemics. The onus of self-discipline should be marked at all levels, from people to government. During this unprecedented challenge, countries, partners, governments and all systems must provide social and economic protection to the vulnerable and marginalised population. It is imperative to exercise self-control and self-discipline by leveraging the collective efforts of the people for real-time progress. The only way to save our lives from Corona is self-discipline.
Contemporary research says that people’s conscious choice, awareness and control over their desires combats 75 per cent of infections. Apart from it, lockdown and shutdown have increased the pandemic stress related to career, relationship, fear of contamination, health issues and child’s exam issues and so on. People experience more helplessness and insecurity during this time even if they are staying and living together with family members. So one of the best techniques to control and overcome stress and depression is self-discipline. It helps people to monitor and control their own behaviours, not fabricate by blaming others or expecting from ‘destiny’. Those who are highly self-disciplined may be able to focus better on health, work and happiness goals. They make better choices related to engagement and achievement. Self-discipline focuses on one’s own ability to engage in (or refrain from engaging in) particular behaviours, rather than the reliance on others or external sources for motivation. To educate the mass and make them aware of its significance, let’s know its viability and gravity during this second wave of COVID.
Self-discipline allows one to stay focused on your goals. “While a disciplined mind leads to happiness, and an undisciplined mind leads to suffering” — Dalai Lama. It enables us to stay in control of ourselves and of our reaction to any situation. Self-discipline is like a muscle: the more we train it, the stronger we become. Lack of self-discipline can cause low self-esteem. Sometimes nothing kills the creative mood more than a judgmental inner narrator. One highest form of discipline is learning to be gentle with ourselves. It will not only give relief from inner anxiety but also kill our self-judgment and self-criticism attitudes towards ourselves and others. In that process, we can develop self-compassion which is a positive virtue as it helps to increase our immunity level. Self-discipline is also about making wise choices. From the food we eat during the lockdown to the amount of physical exercise that we do is dependent on how disciplined we are. For example, exercise promotes a sense of control over the body that may translate to an improved sense of control over other aspects of life which is a key defence against stress. Those who exercise regularly demonstrate higher levels of immunity both at a physical and mental level. Generally, there are five pillars of self-discipline: acceptance, willpower, hard work, industry and persistence. But in the second wave of COVID, we suggest focusing on four aspects of the discipline.
Kalpana Sahoo and Lalatendu Kesari Jena | (Pic: XIM University, Bhubaneswar)
First, acceptance is the most basic challenge people face. They fail to accurately perceive and accept their current situation. It is important to identify the intensity of Corona and its impact. Let us accept this harsh reality of the second wave of COVID. It has brought with it more panic, fear, anxiety, mental agony and emotional distress. People certainly develop obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), which is fear of contamination. Before being contaminated, they tend to develop fears and mental health issues. Therefore, acceptance is the best step to understand its existence. If people accept the fact, they will be conscious and aware of its impacts. Willpower and confidence are the second dimensions are to direct our inner energy. It gives us the right direction to choose our goal and create a plan of attack to overcome the situations. Third, hard work and productive engagement keep us busy and makes us feel motivated where we cannot be distracted by any external sources. The fourth and the last dimension is persistence. Hope allows you to keep taking action even when you don’t feel motivated to do so and therefore, you keep accumulating results. It gives us a positive ray of hope and energy to deal with any negative situations. Hope can alter our thought process from negative to positive. So overall self-discipline is very powerful when combined with goal-setting, productive engagement (passion) and persistence.
This period has allowed everyone to re-visit, re-analyse and re-evaluate the way life has been carried on during this Corona time. Nevertheless, the pandemic has unbolted the consciousness of all, created a room to think about what counts in life and discover our priorities for a true being and for creating a beautiful world around us. As the crisis is unfolding with distressing health concerns across the globe, we need to reflect on the important lessons learnt during this tragic time and the most important aspect to review is self-discipline. Achieving self-discipline requires us to commit and persevere. While the pandemic forces our temperaments in terms of time and tolerance, we need to continue to push back towards preventing, educating, correcting and growing through self-discipline. While we have come across much negative news related to health, education, loss of jobs, loss of lives of our relatives and friends, self-realisation is the best way to introspect where we are wrong and how we can improve the situations. If we approach ourselves through self-realisation, it will lead to self-motivation and later, self-disciplining ourselves to take courage, have tolerance and patience and grow up with persistence. We need to remind ourselves of our responsibility to act on self-discipline sutras to restructure and fight against the invisible enemy, COVID-19. It is important to understand that as a citizen we need to be the part of the solution and not be the part of the problem.
(The writers are Kalpana Sahoo, Assistant Professor (OB) and Lalatendu Kesari Jena, Assistant Professor (HRM) from the School of Human Resource Management, XIM University, Bhubaneswar)