You’ve got a job, you’ve got a family, you’ve got rent or a mortgage, a car note, bills – and the list goes on and on and on. Now let’s sum up the entire collection, you’ve got stress. Stress can come in the form of one of these or all of them, or some of them, it’s a part of life. Having stress in any form is not necessarily a negative if you manage it well, however, most of us take on too much to bear, which means we’re not managing it well. Many of us live light years beyond our means. We say ‘yes’ to about 85% of the things we should say ‘no’ to, and we spend more time focusing on minor issues that sap our time and energy. It’s imperative that we regroup and, running risk of sounding like a crazy hippie mom, find our center and exist in that space. Here are 10 tips to help you do just that:
- Identify the stress culprits – At night, after your day is done, while you’re laying in bed, consider the things that caused you stress during that day. Think about any stresses prior to leaving the house for work, stresses on the way to work, stresses at work, stresses on the way home, stresses at home. Then, at the end of the week, consider what caused you stress during the week. Think about each day and try to identify what the culprits were. Make a list of the most egregious offenders. Review your list and consider ways to reduce the level of stress each of the items caused, if you can, eliminate them all together.
- Get organized – While this is a post within itself, organization or the lack thereof is one of the most stressful areas of life. Plan your day the night before. Remove clutter from your home, office and car – visually, it’s a stressor. Organize your life and watch the stress shrink.
- Meditate – Practicing meditation regularly has shown to be an effective stress reducer. When you stop to clear your mind and cultivate a quiet time, your brain has time to relax. Just like the body needs rest, so does the mind.
- Exercise – You don’t have to become an Iron Man, but employing a few rounds of regular physical exercise can be beneficial in reducing the stress you experience everyday. If you’re on your feet all day, you may want to consider a more stretch based style of exercise. If you work in a more sedentary environment, an active workout may do the trick.
- Sex – Oh yeah! I can think of nothing more stress-relieving than sex. Unless you’re a celibate monk or Catholic priest, you can find somebody to help you out on this one. Remember – Safe Sex, Long Life.
- Listen to music – It has been proven that music has a therapeutic effect. Perhaps, try some music set to nature sounds like a waterfall or rain with a guitar in the background. Make sure that whatever you choose, it relaxes you.
- Visualization – Imagine yourself some place other than where you are – which is in the stressful situation. Some people find basking in the tropical sun a relaxing thought, or perhaps sitting on the beach watching the waves roll in. Find something that works and use it, often.
- Don’t procrastinate – allowing responsibilities and commitments to languish until the last possible moment is a major stress. Do things in good time then you won’t have to worry about everything getting done on time or at all. See my post entitled Productivity Quadrupler.
- Laugh it off – Try laugh therapy when stress is at its highest levels. Fake it till you make it! Laughter, even if contrived, can have a positive effect on your outlook.
- Cry – Sometimes the best way to rid yourself of overwhelming stress, is to cry it out. Find a place where you can be alone, or have a friend you trust there to comfort you, and just let it all out. Try communicating your feelings to your friend or just to yourself if that makes you feel better. The goal is to relieve yourself of this unbearable burden, and if crying gets you to do that, then it’s worth a try.
Stress can be hard to get rid of, in fact, no one’s life is free of it. However, by utilizing a few of these, or all of them if your case is severe, you may find yourself on the winning end of a stress-less life. Take it one day at a time, but remember that if you don’t check the stress in your life, you may not be around to enjoy that life.