Stress Less, Live More

You already know stress can negatively affect your life, including work and personal relationships.

Stress is normal in short bouts, but not when it seems to be endless. If you feel stressed constantly, there are some things you can do to reduce it.

1. Take Breaks

Whether at work or at home, a 10-minute break every hour can help reduce stress and tension, plus it can help you be more productive during the time you’re working.

If you work at a desk, get up at break time, stretch, and move around. I like to step outside or walk up and down a few flights of stairs. Grab a glass of water or a fresh cup of tea while you’re up. That will make going back to your desk more pleasurable.

If your work is more active than a desk job, take a 10-minute break to relax. I like sitting where I have a view of something beautiful. This is also a good time to grab a quick snack or drink.

If you’re like me and you lose track of time while working, set a timer every hour until you get in the habit of taking breaks.

2. Give Up Control 

This is a tough one for me! But no one has control over everything that happens, so there is no reason to stress about what you have no control over.

Any time you encounter a situation that feels stressful or worrisome, ask yourself, “How important is this, really?” and “What’s my responsibility in the matter?” If it’s not important, it’s not your responsibility, or especially if you can’t do anything about what’s happening, LET IT GO. You don’t have to be a hero, and getting caught up in drama won’t help.

To help you remember this, write your worries on a piece of scratch paper and put them in a box. Set the box aside and think about something more positive. You can always go back to the box if you really must have a drama fix later.

3. Choose Your Own Emotions

Human beings have the remarkable ability to choose their own state of being. In any given moment, you can choose any emotion you want. But most of us don’t practice choosing, so we end up allowing the emotion of the moment to run the show. So most of us are only as happy as we choose to be. Emotions are habitual, so if you choose happiness day after day, it will soon become habit.

I’ve found it helps to make an effort each day to emphasize the positives in my life and to be grateful for them. Sometimes I choose to be grateful for what might appear as negative. Stress melts away when you choose happiness and gratitude over negativity.

Here’s the bottom line on stress:

  1. It comes with being human and living on Earth.
  2. You have options for dealing with it.
  3. Some stress is actually good for you!

We’ll discuss that last one another time.