The ridiculous thing about stress is that the more you try to get rid of it, the more it increases! I have seen countless people reading one book after the other on how to reduce stress - so much so that given the chance they might be able to write their own book on the subject! There are so many stress reducing therapies today that you wonder which one to choose. They call out to you like freshly baked cakes displayed in the window of a bakery. This gives rise to another kind of stress - which method to choose to get rid of stress! As more and more professionals all over the world are coming under the stress-radar, stress related health issues are becoming more common. So how to emerge on the winning side in this stress world-war?


I really don't need to tell you how and why one gets stressful. We live in a world where stress follows you like a guided missile and even if you are staying away from all things you perceive to be stressful, stress still manages to hunt you down. Let me cite my example: I joined this job immediately after graduating and in a month (after the euphoria of earning my money had worn off) I started feeling the heat. A boss with a Hitler-Saddam-Osama-combo personality didn't really help matters. So I left the job, thinking that the break will give me relief. But then started a new kind of stress - the stress of being unemployed. I was totally flabbergasted! I realised stress will always follow me and I'll have to stop running to get rid of it.


So how do you stop running from stress? Have you ever seen one of those wild life documentaries on TV? I remember this one documentary on huge African elephants which really had made an impression on my mind. The crew was shooting a herd of elephants when one of the adult elephants charged towards the crew. However, not a single one of the five member crew moved. They held their ground even when the elephant was merely a few meters away from them. This confused the elephant and it stopped in its tracks. It trumpeted threateningly a few times and then turned back. The crew had not even flinched during the whole time!


What the crew did was that they remained silent spectators - like the trees and the rocks in the surroundings. I want you to be the same - silent spectators of stress trying to envelop you. If you manage to do that, I can assure you that stress will stay away, like the elephant did. This technique of observing has been made popular by Osho and it is very effective. How does it work? You can experiment and check this for yourself. Whenever you start observing yourself, without judging or commenting, you will realise that other stray thoughts are greatly reducing in quantity as well as intensity. No one really knows why this happens but this is how the mind works. For example, if you are stuck in a traffic jam and are getting late for work, it is natural that you will be a colourful mix of diverse emotions. However, if you just suddenly observe yourself - angry, restless, frustrated, bored, bird droppings on new shirt - you will suddenly realize that you have been nothing but a puppet and your emotions were the puppet masters! The absurdity of the whole situation might even make you laugh!


Being a successful observer of yourself is not academic in nature - you won't succeed by trying hard and making huge efforts to observe yourself. You may get close but that quantum leap to peacefulness occurs spontaneously. It may happen on your first attempt or on your hundredth, you cannot predict it. Somehow, your thoughts and emotions might be too strong to allow you to observe your mind peacefully. So what do you do then? Then I would say you can try to observe the world around you - the grass, the trees, the birds, the cars, the buildings, etc. By observing I mean not just seeing but hearing and feeling as well - like the rays of the sun on the back of your neck. Be aware of everything - perhaps this will strengthen your understanding of yourself. And then one day, while you're in the middle of a stressful assignment, you might suddenly feel peace - straight from the heart, from within, provoked by your own self and not by any therapy or advice. That is when you will have learnt to smile even in the face of adversity.


Meditation is the best and perhaps the only way to achieve the above mentioned enlightenment faster. You can read to know more about meditation.