Stress is one of the primary causes of major health problems in our lives: it can cause heart disease, anxiety, sleep deprivation, auto-immune disorders, weight problems, unhappiness, and even deep depression, but we’re busy – we all have places to be, things to do and people to see. So how do we feel less stress and still get our work done right (without neglecting our loved ones and ourselves)?
When life gets crazy busy, you might not have time for week-long meditation and yoga retreats, weekend vacations, or even weekly life coaching sessions. So what can be done?
There are five simple things you can do. A few mind set shifts and a couple of actions that take only a couple of minutes. These can’t solve the most severe stress related problems, but they can help most of us in a major way, every day.
- Be in the moment, completely, with just one task: Instead of being in a stressful task-switching state of mind, take your next task, let everything else go, and just be in the moment with this one task. Let yourself be immersed in this task by letting go of the feeling that you need to quickly rush through it – that you need to move on to the next task waiting for you. There will always be a next task, because that’s the nature of To Do lists – they’re never ending. So let those later tasks come later. Just be 100 percent in this one task, like it’s your entire world. Bottom line: Slow down. Breathe. Review your commitments and goals. Put first things first. Do one task at a time. Start now. Take a 5-minute break every hour. Repeat. Always remember, results are more important than the time it takes to achieve them.
- Let go of controlling what can’t be controlled: Fear is causing you to be stressed, not external factors like your job obligations or family issues. Those external factors are just a part of life, but they become stressful when you fear failure, fear people won’t like you, fear you’re not good enough, fear abandonment, and so forth. This fear is based on some fantasy in your head about how things are supposed to be (and you fear that your life may not live up to that fantasy): you have an image in your head that you’re going to be perfect, have people like you, be comfortable all the time, and succeed on all fronts. These fantasies are a way to feel in control of a world that you don’t actually control, but they’re hurting you by causing fear and stress. Instead, let go of control. Be ok with chaos and uncertainty and trust that things will work out. You’ll fear less and feel less stress.
- Accept people jut the way they are and smile: We get upset with others because they don’t meet our fantasy of how they “should” act. Instead, try accepting them for who they are, and recognize that, like you, they’re imperfect and seeking happiness and struggling with finding it. They’re doing their best. Accept them just the way they are. In most cases it’s impossible to change them anyway, and it’s rude to try. Save yourself from the needless stress. Instead of trying to change others, give them your support today and lead by example.
- Take a brief walk outside: When things are getting really stressful, take 5 – 10 minutes to take a walk and clear you mind. A short walk does wonders. It gives you something new to look at and it gets your body moving. People who have recently experienced stressful life events like a serious illness, death of a loved one, marital separation or job loss, always see an immediate mood boost after a short outdoor walk. It’s literally the most effective way to instantly reduce the stressful pressure of a worried mind. Right about now, you should consider taking a break from work and go for a short, peaceful walk (in a park or green space if there’s one nearby). Again, this is not unproductive lollygagging, it’s likely to have a restorative effect on our mind and help with attention fatigue and stress recovery.
- Perform short mindfulness practices: You don’t have to meditate for 30 minutes to get the benefits of mindfulness. You can do a quick body scan (focus on your body and notice how each part of it feels right now) in 30 seconds. You can pay attention to your breath for 60 seconds (listen to it and feel it). You can watch your thoughts about concerns, fears, judgments, doubts and ideals for a minute (recognize that these thoughts are simply thoughts; you don’t need to believe them or react to them). You can walk mindfully, paying attention to your feet, your body, your breath and your surroundings, as you walk. You can do each of these short mindfulness practices in little bits whenever you need them throughout your day.
Source: From Marc and Angel Hack Life
All the time given to you in life is valuable, you just have to know what to do with it.
Let’s make it count. Shall we?
Starting today, spend more time . . .
- Thinking for yourself: the uneducated belief in something false that someone tells you is the greatest enemy of your own truth. Do not let anyone interfere with the freedom of your mind. The best thing you can do for yourself is to think for yourself. With all of society’s influences and agendas incessantly trying to persuade you every single second, thinking for yourself is the most courageous act imaginable. You are a unique human being with independent thoughts and free will; carry on accordingly.
- Being a little bit uncomfortable: If you’re not a little bit uncomfortable on a daily basis it means you’re not growing. Every aspect of physical and emotional growth arrives from outside your comfort zone, so be fearless sometimes. Have the courage to take the risks that feel right. Go where there are no certainties. Stretch yourself and your routines even if it means feeling a bit uncomfortable. The road less travelled is sometimes laden with potholes, bumps and unexplored territory, but it is on this road where your strength grows and your dreams gradually reveal themselves. Read the book: The Road Less Travelled.
- Taking baby steps in the right direction: Throughout this beautiful day you have hundreds of little opportunities to move your life in the direction you want it to go. When was the last time you woke up and realized that today could be the best day of your life? Participate in your dreams today. Do it! Take one small step forward, there are plenty of ways to do so. Remember, success is something you experience when you act accordingly. Success is not something you HAVE, it’s something you DO.
- Trying and failing and trying again: Stick to it and keep moving forward, even when the path gets rough. One of the most common causes of long-term failure is the habit of quitting after a temporary defeat. Many of your greatest achievements will be realized when you’re completely exhausted and discouraged but still working because when it’s all said and done, it really doesn’t matter if you try and try and try, and fail and fail and fail, until you eventually learn what you need to know to succeed. It does matter, however, if you try and fail once and fail to try ever again. Bottom line: you only have to succeed the very last time. Read the book: The Success Principles.
- Working through your fears: How you handle your fears will ultimately determine where you go and what you do with the majority of your life – to experience life fully or be incapacitated by the fear of it. Although fear can feel overwhelming, and defeats more people than any other one thing in the world, it’s not as powerful as it seems. Fear is only as deep as your mind allows. You are still in control. The key is to acknowledge your fear and directly address it. You must step right up and confront it face-to-face. This tactic robs fear of its power.
- Seeking happiness from within: A choice, not circumstances, determines happiness. Your happiness isn’t out there somewhere waiting for you, it’s already within you. Each morning when you open your eyes, say to yourself: “I, not external people or events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. It’s up to me. Yesterday is gone and tomorrow hasn’t come yet. I have just today and I’m going to be happy in it.”
- Practicing small acts of kindness: Aesop once said, “No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted.” If you have big plans that can make a real impact in the lives of the masses, by all means, execute your plans, but don’t let these big plans interfere with the small deeds you can do every day for the people around you. If you wait until you can do something big for everyone, instead of just something small for someone, you’ll end up doing nothing at all for anyone.
- Tracking and measuring your progress: You are always moving toward something, but YOU have to decide what that something is. Don’t let someone else decide for you. From where you stand now you can go anywhere. There are paths leading in every imaginable direction. What matters the most right now is the next step you take. Decide what you truly want for yourself and those closest to you, and know that there is a way, right now, to begin the journey of getting there. When your intentions and actions have a specific, focused purpose, each step you take will carry you closer to the realization of that purpose. Read the book: The Power of Habit.
- Letting small annoyances go: Today, go through your day consciously. Make an effort to notice at least one insignificant little frustration that you would normally get frustrated about. Then do yourself a favour and simply let it go. Experience, in this little way, the grand freedom of being in control of the way you feel and realize that you can extend this same level of control to every situation you encounter in life.
At any given moment, the way you feel is the way you choose to feel, and the way you react is the way you choose to react.