"The time to relax is when you don't have time for it."
"For fast-acting relief, try slowing down."
Stress sucks. It sucks joy and the life out of you.
So today I'll share 10 of my favourite tips that I use to minimize stress and live a more relaxed but at the same time productive life. I hope you find something helpful here, even if it's just a few reminders of things you had forgotten about.
1. Accept the situation.
Stress is often to a large part resistance to what already is. You may be in a stressful situation and think to yourself that this situation shouldn't be, that you shouldn't be here. But the situation has already arisen, is here, and so are you.
So to decrease the stress and resistance you accept the situation. With your resistance gone or lowered you can now direct your mental energy and focus to finding a solution in a level-headed manner instead of trying to do it while panicked or confused.
2. Take everything less seriously.
Taking things or yourself overly serious adds a lot of unnecessary negativity and stress to your life. A minor situation may be blown up to a major one in your mind. If you just learn to lighten up a bit, life becomes more fun and you realize that you get great results even if you aren't super-serious about everything.
3. Decrease or put a stop to negative relationships.
If someone is always making you more stressed or creates a lot of negativity in your life you may want to consider decreasing the amount of time you spend with that person. Some people almost seem to like to dwell in negativity. That is their choice. It's your choice if you want to participate.
Or you can choose to hang out more with relaxed and non-stressed people. Both in real life and by watching/listening to CDs and DVDs. Two guys that tend to calm me down when I listen/watch them are Eckhart Tolle and Wayne Dyer.
4. Just move slower.
You emotions work backwards too. If you slow down how you walk or how you move your body you can often start to feel less stressed.
This allows you to think more clearly too. A stressed mind tends to run in circles a lot of the time. And slowing down to decrease stress goes for other forms of movement too, like riding your bicycle or driving the car.
A simple and time-tested way to decrease inner tension. Regular exercise can do wonders for both your mind and body. This is one of the solutions that work most consistently for me.
6. Find five things you can be grateful for right now.
Being grateful and appreciating your life and surroundings is one of the most effective ways to turn a negative emotional state to a more positive one. So find a few things you are grateful for right now.
Perhaps it's the sunny weather, that you feel healthy and energetic today, that you have just eaten a delicious after-noon snack, that the guy/gal that just walked by had a great looking jacket on and that tonight there is a new episode of your favourite TV-show to enjoy.
7. Look for solutions.
When faced with a challenge that can cause stress, try to direct your focus to solutions rather than to dwelling on the problem for too long. Dwelling only causes more stress and makes your mind less open to finding a solution.
8. Be early.
Just be 10 or 5 minutes early for meetings etc. This very simple tip can cut down on stress quite a bit.
9. Do just one thing at a time.
Single tasking and focusing on doing just one thing at a time not only decreases stress but from my experience gets things done a whole lot quicker than if you multitask.
10. Talk to people around you about it.
Perhaps they can offer you advice that has worked for them or just an ear and some support. Just telling someone about something, just getting it out can often help to relieve some of the stress.