When I first went to the United States, everybody was talking about "stress management." I really didn't get this because, in my understanding, we manage things that are precious to us - our business, our family, our money, our wealth and our children. Why is everybody giving so much importance to stress in the first place?
MANAGE YOURSELF: What you identify as stress, fear or anger doesn't happen because of what's around you, but due to your own faculties not taking instructions from you. If your mind was taking instructions from you, it would create pleasantness, not unpleasantness. It is your inability to manage your own system that causes this problem. Assume control over your own being, and everything will be fine.
GET THE CONTEXT RIGHT: If somebody's life is happy, it does not mean that he is doing something differently. He does the same things you do after he wakes up in the morning, or before he goes to bed at night. But somehow, his life seems magical and beautiful because of the context in which it is being seen. The quality of your life does not depend on how simple or complex it is; it depends on how you look at it.
BE ACTIVE, BUT HAPPY: You do not have to be ambitious to be incessantly active; it works even if you are joyful. If there's no stress in what you're doing, you will be willing to be active any number of hours per day. Being driven is overrated; you function best in an environment of freedom and intelligence.
DON'T LOSE PERSPECTIVE: Stress is the natural by-product of human beings losing perspective of what this life is all about. Their psychological process has become far larger than the existential process. That is the fundamental source of all suffering. Everything around you may be going pretty well, but just one wrong thought or emotion could destroy everything.
MIND YOUR THOUGHTS: Your mind is society's trashcan. Everyone who passes by stuffs something into your head. You have no choice about what to take, and what to discard. If you take another look at this knowledge, you will realise it's just something that is expected from you; it has nothing to do with who you are.
APPRECIATE REALITY: Life is about making the most of your reality, knowing it absolutely, and experiencing it just the way it is. There's no real need to distort it. If your thoughts and emotions seem important, your whole attention will focus right there. But that is a psychological reality, not existential. Stress is not showered upon us, it is manufactured.
DON'T PURSUE HAPPINESS: Today, we seek happiness so vigorously that we threaten the very existence of our planet. Don't be in pursuit of happiness; instead, know how to appreciate and express it. If you look back, you will find that the most beautiful moments in your life were those in which you were expressing your joy - not seeking it.
TRANSFORM WHAT'S WITHIN: The quality of your life is not determined by the clothes you wear or the bank balance you hold. Rather, it depends upon how peaceful and joyous you are inside. People deprived of basic needs may be physically miserable, and therefore in need to rectify their circumstances. But the needs of most others are not decided by what they have, but how they are at that moment.
LEAVE THE JONESES ALONE: Most people are miserable not because of what they don't have; it is simply because they are comparing themselves with someone else. It is a foolish game. From your own experiences in life, you can see that true well-being comes from within. Instead of trying to turn the world into something you want it to be, you should try your hand at changing yourself first. Shunning envy could be a step in the right direction.
GET YOUR MIND TO RELAX: Let's look at the various factors that influence us from dawn to dusk. If you did not sleep well last night, even your morning could be bad. As it's the level of relaxation that makes all the difference, it is necessary to keep your system relaxed in a way that activity doesn't take a toll on it. You could be physically exhausted, but it wouldn't stress you out in any way. Simple yoga can help.
(Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev is a yogi, mystic, philanthropist and author)