Stress can occur for a huge range of reasons and differs from person to person. What stresses me out might not stress you out and vice-versa. One thing is for sure though: stress kills productivity for both your personal and professional life. It’s like the professor in the classroom example.
A professor walks around a room while teaching stress management to his class. He raises a glass of water. “How heavy is this glass of water?” The people in class yell out anywhere from 8 oz. to 20 oz. He replies, “The real weight doesn’t matter, it depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a couple minutes, it’s not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I’ll have an ache in my arm. If I hold it for a day, my arm will feel numb and paralyzed. In each case, the weight of the glass doesn’t change, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes. The stresses and worries in life are like that glass of water. Think about them for a while… nothing happens. Think about them a bit longer and they begin to hurt. And if you think about them all day long, you will feel paralyzed – incapable of doing anything.”
It’s important to remember to let go of your stresses. As quickly as you can, put your burdens down. Don’t carry them through the evening and into the night and let them occupy your thoughts. The list of 10 things below I’ve found help to reduce the stresses of everyday life.
1. Write it down
When I’m stressing out, it’s generally because I have a huge list of things to do and I’m not sure where to start. By putting your thoughts and to-do lists on paper, it helps to take it off your mind. Life is hectic, so just focus on one thing at a time.
2. Meditation and breathing
You don’t have to get all new age and sit cross legged on the floor chanting “ohmmm” or “wooosaaa” to release your stress. Meditation can be any repetitive activity that helps keep your attention calmly in the present moment. The key is to break away from whatever is stressing you out, and to break away from technology for a bit. Walk away from the computer, put down the phone, and just breathe and be in the moment. If you can’t walk away from your computer, try going to this website.
Laughter can’t cure all ailments, but is a proven, powerful stress medicine. Laughing doesn’t just lighten your load mentally, it actually induces physical changes in your body. Laughter can activate and relieve your stress response, stimulate your organs (like breathing deeply, it helps with your intake of oxygen-rich air), and soothe tension.
So go ahead, turn Family Guy on for a minute, it’s good for you.
4. Take a walk or jog
Exercise in almost any form can act as a stress reliever. Being active can give you that “runners high” by boosting your feel-good endorphins and distract you from daily worries. It gets the blood flowing, and it’s a chance to zone out and think about things with positive energy.
5. Listen to music
“One thing about music: when it hits, you feel no pain.” – Bob Marley
Zoning out and listening to music can calm the heartbeat and soothe the soul. Music may not help if you listen to metal or hard rock, but my personal favorite Chill on SiriusXM never ceases to change my mood. So put on your headphones, tune in, and tune out the world for a while.
A clean healthy living space promotes a good lifestyle and successful daily life. When you start to clean, it’s a bit like exercising in the fact that you are moving around and able to be alone with your thoughts with a positive energy. Plus, you can actually SEE that what you’re doing is making a difference and improving your situation in some way. Sometimes it’s about baby steps and taking it one thing at a time.
7. Prep for tomorrow
If you have something big on the horizon, whether it’s a meeting, presentation, or anything you view as important personally or professionally, plan for it. Don’t procrastinate planning for something that is inevitable. If you feel prepared and ready for what’s coming, you’ll be able to sleep better and not think about a situation with negative thoughts. Remember, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” – Alan Lakein
8. Hit the water
Go for a swim or take a hot bath. Floating in water triggers the body’s relaxation response, helping to lower stress-hormone levels.
9. Worry about one thing at a time
Keep your anxiety focused on real, immediate issues, and tune out imagined ones or those over which you have zero control. Once you just accept a situation, you’ll automatically reduce stress overload.
10. Think different
Replace the word “expect” with “hope.” Expectations can only be used for those things over which you have the greatest personal control. You can expect to quench your thirst with a drink of water. You can’t expect to get the job you just interviewed for. You can hope to get it. Also, instead of saying to yourself, “I’m a loser,” say instead, “I need to work on —.”
Surround yourself with positive people and positive thoughts because a more peaceful mind will lead to good things and result in less stress. By changing the way you think you can lower your stress even if nothing else changes.