My research on stress therapies


The different ways with which people deal with stress

I have done a lot of research on stress therapies. I had over a dozen aunts, and their methods were very different. Stress was inflicted in various ways. Direct Stress Therapy was a popular favourite. In this type of therapy, stress is applied directly through shouting or corporal punishment. It’s crude but effective. Let’s assume you don’t want your adolescent sons to read popular Bengali fiction, because as we all know, all of these writers meet once a week in a shady bar on Park Street, and plot ways of corrupting modern Bengali youth. An older cousin, who was devoted to communism and expensive fish, was clear that his sons had to be protected from this. In order to solve the problem, he applied stress, by shouting very loudly whenever he found them with a storybook. He emphasised his point by ripping the books in two.

Another popular method is Hara Kiri Stress Therapy. In this, the accuser creates stress by inflicting harm on himself, rather than the culprit. For example, he or she may be so upset by what you did that they refuse to eat. Gandhi was doing this all the time. It was very effective. He could have punished the British by not allowing them to eat, creeping up behind the Viceroy during high tea, for example, and stealing his crumpets, until he got the message and left the country. But this would have meant getting through several layers of security, and various other types of inconvenience. Instead, he stopped eating himself, and kept doing it until we were free.

Hara Kiri Stress Therapy goes hand-in-hand with the Look What You Did method, in which stress is inflicted by third parties, using the original source of stress as a reference point, e.g. “Thanks to you, your father is not eating!” Aunties with long memories prefer Cumulative Historical Stress Therapy, in which the current crime is magnified by linking it to all the other crimes the culprit has committed, from the beginning of time (“At Bumpoo’s wedding, you didn’t even say hello to your uncle!”). Typically, this type of therapy can be time-consuming, because the list of crimes is long, but it can be very effective. Frequent pauses are important, so that just when your victim thinks you have finished, you can start again. If you pace yourself, and block the exit, such therapy sessions can last as long as two to three hours. A variation on this theme is Guilt & Shame Stress Therapy. Here too, the perspective is historical. Instead of focusing on the crimes of the culprit, however, you focus on all the good things you have done for them, thanklessly. For best results, you should start from before they were born, e.g. “When your mother was studying for her exams, I was always making her snacks!”

These are just a few of the methods of stress therapy that I have researched. Since I now live far away, I am unable to continue my studies. On the other hand, I’m a lot less stressed than I used to be.