Stress is one of the biggest problems faced by many individuals in the world right now. There are many stress busting techniques being used worldwide like Meditation, Yoga, etc. I want to mention one technique which I personally prefer and that is reading self-help books. To be honest, I have read a lot of them. I found many common points among them. One of such points is “Change your attitude”. Some books even say that “Easy solution to the problem of stressful life is to change your attitude”. After reading this, people try their best to change their attitude. But even after some days of trying, they don’t succeed and go back to the place from where they had started. Then again they take another book which has almost similar connotation. Such thing certainly makes me think that changing attitude is not so easy thing to do.
Attitude of a person is shaped over considerable period of time. Various experiences, hardships one faced over the years give rise to one’s particular attitude. Behavior of a person is mostly consistent with his or her attitude. Same logic is responsible behind one’s pessimist and optimist approach towards life. Fortification of attitude happens gradually in our mind. Bricks which were used to build that fort are made of a psychological concept known as institutionalization.
We all get institutionalized with our life, neighborhood, friends, family and society. To illustrate my point, I want to talk about a character in a movie named The Shawshank Redemption. I hope you must have watched it, if not I strongly suggest you should. In the movie, there’s a minor character named Brooks Hatlen. He was librarian in Shawshank State Prison. He was there for most of his life. He was well behaved and educated among prison inmates. One day he got news that he got parole from the prison and that news came as a shock to him. Eventually he went to live his new life outside the prison. Apparently the elderly man did not have any friends or family outside. Also sudden freedom in outside world didn’t suit him well. After some very uncomfortable days, he put himself out of his discomfort in saddest way possible. Brooks was institutionalized with his prison life and couldn’t make it out in free world.
Now I accept prison life is being extreme case of institutionalization. But to some extent, we all are victims of it. You can spot such cases yourselves. You can easily relate one’s attitude with one’s way of living. You can spot difference between a boy going to a college and a man going to a company. Their attitudes carry reflections of their lives in those institutions. Their attitudes are results of their financial and social status. Similar differences can be seen among men working in different companies. That’s why companies with better atmosphere get better results. Because maintain such environment has its impact on employees’ attitude.
Question may arise that how we fall prey to institutionalization. Actually, we always crave for safety. We want to set our routine and eventually get relaxed with our life. With the time, unknowingly we all get to like our life as it is and prevent anything from changing it. We will set our safe code and go on to follow that. That way, we get institutionalized and become reluctant to anything. And that’s how we make it so complicated. After all this, when we read any self-help book, we tend to change our attitude with a whim. We should change our attitude because it is necessary; we should have reason for it. A sudden desire implanted in your mind might not be as strong as to thrash the fortress build with bricks of institutionalization.
Only way one could keep oneself away from institutionalization is by trying out new things in life from time to time. Having fixed schedule is what making us prisoner. Change is only thing which can set us free. Of course, changing schedule from time to time, will create some surprises for you but at least it will keep you away from getting institutionalized.
Stephen King is one of the greatest writers ever graced paper. He penned down the character of Brooks and explained us the peril of institutionalization. Rejecting protective cloak of institutionalization would be first step towards stress free life. It is wise for us to understand it and tackle it with a change. And that makes change a necessity.