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Earning big bucks or your mental health- which is more important?

Many people underestimate the influence of stress on their health. When we are under tremendous and continual stress, we place our body under the ‘fighting’ mode. Constantly being in the mode exhausts our internal resources, leading on to gradual breakdown of our bodily functions. It is only a matter of time before our body break downs and illness occurs.

In the train from Bangkok, I’ve met and spoken to a couple from New Zealand. We were talking about material pursue that the world seemed to be obsessed with. The lady (in her 60s) shared her experience with me. Her own daughter used to work in the corporate environment. She had problem saying ‘no’ and so she continued to accept the work from her boss. In corporate environments, good paying jobs are scarce and the number of people who qualified for the posts are aplenty. The girl feared that if she dared say ‘no’, her boss will perceive her as ‘being a problem’ and will not hesitate to replace her. Therefore, she took on work year after year, even though she was having a hard time managing the stress.

Then, one day after 10 years, she just couldn’t take it anymore. Her mind completely broke down and she had to be sent to a mental hospital for treatment. She was diagnosed with psychosis- a condition whereby she is not living the the reality and she is no longer in touch with her body. She was living in her own unreal world and had to take medication.


So one wonders if earning the big bucks is truly worth it.

The man believes that most important, we must know when to ‘stop’. The phrase ‘happier with less’- we just learned to live with less. They shared with me that both of them had backpacked for 3 months in India and they were contended. They need not travel in first class or in air con places- they were contended to go on foot and public transportation- that despite the fact that the man also suffers from osteoarthritis on his right foot.

People have the mindset that they need to acquire lots of expensive stuff and what the media labeled as ‘material necessities’. To be honest, I used to have that mindset as well- previously, I will never travel anywhere if it is not a Super VIP coach and airplane. But through my travels, I’ve made friends and learned to travel with friends who made me take the worst of the local transportation- on purpose to teach me not to be so fussy. I’ve travelled to intercity in buses that stank and where the bus seat is located right outside the toilet, slept at floors with just mats (where previously, my back hurt when I don’t sleep on a proper bed), learned to be patient and wait as we have to transit from here to there. And I’ve thought that credit cards were a necessity but I am now surviving happily without them.

My point is being contended where ever you are- where you can just sit down and do nothing (without needing to read a book, type on your laptop, call someone or meddle with your electronic gadgets)- then you will realise that everything you thought you need are tricks that your mind led you to believe you need.

I’ve always been amazed with Thai people- that’s why I keep going back to the country. You see, a typical Thai person may not earn as much as folks from other cities like Kuala Lumpur or Singapore. But they are contended with less- they are patient when travelling in the infamous Bangkok traffic jam, they are very filial people who deeply respect elders and take care of them, and they are just contended spending time with the family. They have much more inner peace that people I know in other develop countries. But of course, the new generation of youth who are now trying to imitate the Western culture is now fast emerging- but I guess, I’m just too old to mix with them ;).

Note: I do apologise that my travel had took longer than I have originally estimated. At first, I have scheduled my articles, using a function available in Blogger to automatically publish articles on periodical basis till end of July. But I’ve only just came back and that meant that there are no articles being published. Still, I’ve learned a lot during my trip in Thailand and I will write about these experiences from time to time.

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  • Miquel Writer January 30, 2010, 12:46 pm

    i always like reading articles here. thanks for providing useful topic