I bet you know you know what it’s like to roll out of bed in the morning already stressed about the day don't you? I think we have all felt that at one time or another....sometimes it seems like our life can stay that way for years on end....or maybe that's all we can even remember. Stress is a given, we all experience it. But it's how we deal with it that can determine how much out life is affected by it.
There are a lot of things that I’ve learned over the last few years that have really helped me in dealing with the stress in my life, so I thought I’d pass a few of them along. Take one or two and focus on them…turn them into habits and then bite off a couple more. I think they can really make a difference.
1. Identify Major Stressors.
Well this is probably pretty important huh? It can be overlooked though, so take some time first to identify the things that stress you out the most. Take a few minutes to actually think about what stresses you out during the day. What weekly occurrences stress you out? What people, activities, things cause stress in your life? Make a Top 10 list, and see which of them can be eliminated, and start to weed them out.
2. Time for Margin!
It’s time to create more open periods of time in your life. Unschedule some stuff! It’s not necessary to schedule every minute of our lives. It’s actually okay to say ‘no’ to things….in fact, it can be very healthy. Learn to be okay with quiet. (Read The Tao of Pooh!) You’re going to learn to love having some open spaces in your schedule. Continue by simplifying your routines, your commitments, your information intake, your cluttered rooms, the mass of stuff going on in your life….you will have less stress as a result.
3. Avoid People Who CAUSE Stress.
Yep. Another thing that is completely okay, even necessary to do! You know who they are. If you take a minute, I bet you can think of a few people in your life….bosses, coworkers, customers, friends, family, etc…..who tend to make your life more stressful. Is it time to set up better boundaries with them, or even just cut certain ones out of your life?
Isn’t it interesting how so many of the ways to eliminate stress, are things our culture kind of frown upon and makes us feel guilty for? Relaxing is definitely one of those, but it is super important to relax throughout the day and week. At least take a few mini-breaks in your work day! Stop what you’re doing, massage your shoulders and neck and head and hands and arms, get up and stretch, walk around, drink some water. Go outside and appreciate the fresh air and the beautiful sky. Talk to someone you like. Your value is not measured by your productivity. Your value is inherent….your productivity comes when you realize that and take some time to relax and recharge. By the way, it’s important to GET AWAY from the computer to relax sometimes as well.
5. Slow Down.
Kind of hand in hand with relaxing is slowing down. Literally. Stop rushing through life, learn to take things slow. Enjoy your food, enjoy the people around you, enjoy nature. Incorporating this habit into your life can save tons of stress.
6. Practice Gratitude.
This might not be as obvious as some of the others, but developing an attitude of gratitude is a powerful way of thinking positive, eliminating negative thinking from your life, and thereby reducing stress. Practice starting the day by writing down at least three things you are very grateful for and watch your outlook become more positive….that alone will begin to cause your stress to fade away.
7. Live in a Zen Garden.
Well you probably can’t do that, but think about it as a concept. Zen gardens are tranquil, uncluttered places of peace….no stress to be found! You can imitate that by taking time to declutter your desk or work space and the things in your home. Create a simple, peaceful, Zen-like environment. It will be much less stressful to work and live in an environment like that.
Come on….you had to know I’d mention this! Exercise is common advice for stress relief, and that’s because it works! Did you know it’s also a stress prevention method? Exercising helps relieve the stress buildup, it gives you some quiet time to contemplate and relax, and just as importantly, it makes you more fit. A fitter person is better equipped to handle stress both mentally AND physically.
9. Eat Healthy.
Obviously this goes hand-in-hand with exercise as a stress prevention method, but I think we often forget just how crucial this area is. It is KEY! We can’t expect to feel good if we aren’t fueling our body/brain right….let alone putting toxins into it which is what a majority of the population is doing every day. No wonder we feel stressed out and depressed! When you become healthier, a major source of your stress will disappear. (BTW, I highly recommend eating natural, organic, and non-gmo foods found here: http://healthtomydoor.com AND if you're really serious about healthy nutrition and lifestyle and would like to perhaps help others with their nutrition, email me because I want to talk to you about an amazing opportunity to do just that!)
Duh right? Not necessarily. It’s been something I’ve been working on and let me tell you, it makes a difference! Start by doing this when you feel stressed. Take a slow, deep breath….inhale until your lungs are full. Hold for one second and then slowly breathe out, expelling every last bit of air in your lungs. Do this five times and I bet your will already be feeling a little less stress. Now, begin making deeper breathing a habit and you can make it pretty hard for stress to find it’s way into your day.
I hope these are helpful hints. There are many more practices that we could cover, but they key is to start somewhere. We know that we all feel stress, so let’s choose to do something about it.
NOTE! I have found this product to really help with stress too! Isagenix Ionix Supreme I always have this in my home for myself and my kids! I prefer the powder version and I use one scoop in hot water...kind of a soothing chai tea taste.
Also, here are a couple books I can HIGHLY recommend to you for information on reducing stress!
The Tao of Pooh