Steve Maraboli said, “I promise you nothing is as chaotic as it seems. Nothing is worth your health. Nothing is worth poisoning yourself into stress, anxiety, and fear.” These are awesome words! LOTS of things are worth fighting for, working hard for, even making sacrifices for; relationships, dreams and hobbies to name a few. But none of them are worth your health.
So how do we keep the passion and lose the stress? Here are eight ways to reduce stress in your life, without losing your passionate edge:
1. Read the Signs
Your body knows when you’re under stress before you’re even aware of it. If you’re having trouble concentrating, feeling tension in your muscles or head or generally have low energy, you are likely under too much stress. So listen to your body, and take it’s messages seriously. Life is not a sprint. You need to pace yourself for the long haul.
Your body knows how to handle stress and convert it to useful energy. It also knows when the stress is too much. And best of all it knows the solution. It knows how to de-stress when you’re feeling dis-stress. Listen to your body and slow down when stress gets too great.
2. Change Your Perspective about Stress
William James said, “The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.”
When you partner the healing powers of the body with the ability of the mind to choose beliefs, you have the most powerful partnership of all against stress.
If you get stressed about being stressed, you make it worse. See stress as a street sign and not a dead end. Its an alarm for your mind. Your thoughts can respond in two different ways- as a trigger for change, or panic and overwhelm. You can train your mind to lean towards change, so that when you’re under stress you automatically respond with optimism rather than panic. Repeat to yourself as often as possible, “I’m in charge of my time, my priorities and my choices.”
Criswell Freeman said, “The body heals itself according to its own timetable–anxious thoughts never hasten recuperation.“
3. Take a Break
Lily Tomlin said, “For fast-acting relief, try slowing down.” One of the choices you always have is to take a break. You are never so busy you can’t take a few minutes break. When you see the signs of stress, take five. It doesn’t have to be long. Even a short break can make a big difference. Just close your eyes for a few minutes and let your mind wander. Its not lazy. You will likely become more productive with a clear mind.
Hit the snooze button. Put out the Do Not Disturb sign. Turn off your phone. Do whatever revives your mind, body and spirit.
James Allen said, “The more tranquil a man becomes, the greater is his success, his influence, his power for good. Calmness of mind is one of the beautiful jewels of wisdom.”
4. Physical Exercise
Its been said that sitting is the new smoking. Sitting for long hours every day is literally killing us. And exercise in almost any form can act as a stress reliever. Being active can boost your feel-good endorphins and distract you from daily worries.
Movement makes a huge difference to mood; its meditation in motion. Include movement in your day, with a combination of cardio workouts and regular movement throughout your day.
If time is tight, get creative. Take a phone call while walking to boost the endorphins in the middle of the day or stand up to work on your computer if possible.
5. Get Back To Nature
Natalie Goldberg said,
“Stress is basically a disconnection from the earth, a forgetting of the breath. Stress is an ignorant state. It believes that everything is an emergency. Nothing is that important. Just lie down.”
Being in nature helps to slow you down. Everything in nature happens in its right time, and its not in a hurry. Being in nature reminds you of your nature, which is one of peace and ease.
6. Eat to De-stress
Certain food is not only good for your overall well-being, but its also good at reducing stress. Foods rich in Vitamin B, and fruits and vegetables with plenty of orange and yellow have been shown to enhance mood and reduce stress. And avoiding too much coffee, sugar, alcohol and trans fats will help too.
But don’t stress about your diet either. Just be sensible. Sometimes a treat when you’re stressed is the perfect solution. David Mamet said, “Stress cannot exist in the presence of a pie.”
Make food part of a mindful lifestyle geared toward efficiency, longevity, peace and enjoyment.
7. Declutter to De-stress
For many people clutter adds to stress. Chaos around you can add to chaos inside of your mind. A study by scientists at University College London revealed that 56 per cent of participants felt an immediate rise in stress levels when faced with a messy desk.
The organization guru, Peter Walsh said, “Clutter is anything that gets between you and the life you want to be living.”
So if you’re feeling stressed, your mind might be cluttered, and it could be getting in the way of the life you want to live. Try decluttering your environment. The time spent on this will likely make you think more clearly and feel less stressed.
8. Talk it out
Sociologist Brene Brown gave a famous TED talk on vulnerability. She said the most important quality that leads to resilience during times of stress is vulnerability. When you feel stressed, try opening up to trustworthy people. Its amazing how expressing how you feel can sometimes make the stress melt away. It might be a counselor or a supervisor, or it might be a work colleague or a friend.
Any form of self expression will help to reduce stress. Garson Kanin said,
“There are thousands of causes for stress, and one antidote to stress is self-expression. That’s what happens to me every day. My thoughts get off my chest, down my sleeves and onto my pad.”
Keep the passion. Lose the stress. Include plenty of the following in your day;
Laughter may be the most potent force of all. Mahogany SilverRain said, “My body needs laughter as much as it needs tears. Both are cleansers of stress.”