Dr Chockalingam is a renowned cardio surgeon, not only in Tamil Nadu but at the national level too. He had treated Periyar, Anna and MGR. He has been gaining great popularity in the department of cardio surgery for the past fifty years. We had a conversation with him in regard to mental stress and depression and how to relieve from them.
There is an English proverb, ‘Life is not a bed of roses’. But it is not a bed of thorns too. The path is actually alternated with flowers and thorns, all along. When we try to accommodate them according to the conditions there will naturally be struggles. Those struggles get accumulated as mental stress. Stress is a reaction of mind and body to the environment’.
When our body and mind try to adapt to the environment, we get stressed if we have negative thoughts about it. There will not be stress if a person gains positive thoughts while tiding over the obstacles and difficulties.
Positive thoughts breeze over the mind. But negative thoughts will lead us to a wrong path. Life is made of our thoughts. Therefore, our thoughts should advance. Life will be great if our thoughts grow wider. It is the state of one’s mind that decides one to fall or succeed.
If you do a work that you like with positive thoughts, you will not get tired of it. You could even continue to work for twenty hours. At the same time, if you do a work that you don’t like, either at home or at office, wherever it may be, you will quickly get tired of it.
People tend to do day and night shifts to earn a living without considering its impact. They run behind money and are able to earn about four to five lakhs per month. They build a house with a swimming pool. We study and earn in order to lead a happy living. If that is so, how could it be right to work day and night without rest? Those who work like that lose peace.
When a man loses peace many other problems confound him. I witness many youngsters of 27 to 30 years old get heart attack and brain stroke due to fatigue of the brain. Why should they run so fast and towards what? In the lines of poet Abdul Rahman, ‘what do they aspire to buy by selling themselves?’
I have treated Periyar, Anna,MGR and Kalignar. It is fifty years now with my cardio surgery profession. In those days, heart attack and stroke would happen only for the aged, about 60 or 70 years. But it has come down to 50, 40, 30 in every decade, affecting now at the age of 25 years.
In the past, people would be affected more by infectious diseases like cholera and typhoid. But, people are affected more by non-infectious diseases like blood pressure, diabetes, heart attack, at present.
The Chinese philosopher, Confucius said, ‘Choose a job that you like the most. Then there is no need for you to work’. So, it is better to choose a work or job that you are passionate about.
It is very important to choose a life with purity of heart and values of ethics. Living a life of openness in all our ways as far as possible, except on the personal aspects, will be helpful for a physical and mental wellbeing. Stay totally away from smoking tobacco and drinking alcohol. It is called, ‘sound mind in sound body’, mind will be healthy only when body is healthy.
Recently I attended a conference in the US, with a gathering of 22,000 participants. I presented a paper with a conclusion that ‘those who inherited diabetes and heart attack, can get relieved from those heritable diseases if they choose to lead a lifestyle with proper diet control for 9 years’.
I went around seven different countries, including Canada, America, Vietnam, to participate in the conferences. I used to ask them only one question, ‘what is your objective in the life jouney?’. All of them would reply to it ‘towards happiness’. I told them to make their journey of life happy’.
We asked Dr Chockalingam , “what was the situation that made you mentally stressed out?”
“Thirty years ago, when I was working at a government hospital, an engineer from Corporation was brought to me. He died of heart attack. We gave him electric shock. He got back his life. But again we lost him. Like this he died and recovered for 48 times. But he was not aware of anything.
He simply asked me, “What was it that you pressed upon my chest?” After that incident he lived for 30 years. Very recently, before I visited the US, he died of cancer. But this kind of miracle will not happen all the time. Factors like conditions of the heart, environment, and mental state, are very important.
The reason I say this is that our mental strength determines us. To keep our mind healthy, we need to follow proper methods to take care of three aspects, feelings, food and exercise”. Then saying good bye to us he emphasised, “if you follow this, it is possible to live hundred years happily without any problem”.
(This article written in Tamil by S Kathiresan has been transcreated by V Amalan Stanley)