Are your shoulder muscles tense? Do you get headaches? Do you lie awake at night worrying about all the tasks left undone? These and many more symptoms help us identify a modern curse: the tendency to live a life filled with stress.
Stress-filled living has many negative effects on the quality of our lives. We feel tense, over-tired, anxious and cranky. Our relationships and careers suffer. The stressors come from many sources. Our jobs are demanding, our family life may be suffering, finances can add pressure—in fact nearly every part of our lives can cause stress if they aren’t managed and balanced properly.
Health and well being matters! Start preparing for a stress free life.
Here are ten ways to begin the process of de-stressing your life:
Identify the stressors in your life. You can’t begin the process of limiting stress unless you recognize the ways it creeps into your life. Get out a piece of paper and spend a few minutes thinking of the things that make you feel overwhelmed and out of control. What makes you angry? Fearful? Overwhelmed? Write them down.
Remove physical stressors from your life. Seek help to overcome addictive behaviors such as eating or drinking too much, smoking or excessive gambling. Even overdoing seemingly neutral activities such as playing video games or surfing the internet can be causing stress in your life. What is causing you to be physically unhealthy? Remove or limit it.
Choose to add positive physical activities to your schedule. Take a fifteen minute walk as a work break, get on the treadmill while you watch the news, join a fitness class several times a week. Buy a dance video and dance along with it. Choose to move.
Identify new food items you can add to make your diet healthier. Try a new fruit or vegetable, drink more water, find a protein bar to eat instead of that morning doughnut. Eat yogurt instead of ice cream, a hard-boiled egg instead of a cookie. Even small changes will be beneficial over time.
Examine your primary relationships. Take their temperature and see what you can do to improve their health. Do you need to spend more time communicating? Have more fun together? Talk about finances and set new goals? We tend to take our loved ones for granted, but our relationships with them either feed our joy or detract from it.
Inventory your friendships. Who brings positive energy and fun into your life? Who can you count on when times are hard? Who drains you of energy and strength—you may want to distance yourself from that person.
What do you enjoy doing? What sports, hobbies, or pure entertainment such as music, art, drama and pampering at the spa do you allow yourself? If your life has gotten so busy and stressed that there isn’t any fun, you owe yourself some changes. Even a half hour in the tub can feed your spirit. Be good to yourself.
Take the time to journal or meditate. Go inside your mind and emotions and evaluate. Let your inner feelings, thoughts and desires come to the surface. Some accomplish this through yoga, jogging, writing, listening to music, prayer or meditation. Get quiet. Reflect, and be willing to make changes accordingly.
Get organized. Though this sounds like the opposite of de-stressing, it actually isn’t. If you’re overwhelmed by too many unfinished tasks, being late, always feeling behind, it may be because you’re not organized enough. Fill out a weekly calendar and see where you’re overscheduled. Cut back on obligations that aren’t necessary. Simplify. Get control of your schedule—you’ll feel better.
Adopt an attitude of gratitude. Look around you and count the many positive “blessings” you see. Do you love flowers and wildlife? Do you have enough to eat and a roof over your head? Are there friends and family who love you? The list will grow longer as you get in the habit of looking for good.
Each life has different stressors built into it. Only you know all the ins and outs of your life and where you can make positive changes. Often doing one small thing to improve your daily life and remove just one tiny stressor turns an unpleasant day into a pleasant one. So, go ahead, do some life evaluation and identify the stressors in your life. Then take action and fell those shoulder muscles relax.
Here are four books with more ideas on ridding yourself of the stress in your life:
Recover Your Sanity: Solutions to De-stressing Your Life and Recovering Your Sanity
by Gaylyn and Ken Williams.
DeStressing 101: Tools for Living a Stress-free Life
by Karen Aja Ashby.
The DeStress Diva’s Guide to Life: 77 ways to Recharge, Refocus, and Organize Your Life
by Ruth Klein.
De-Stressing Your Life
by Diane Stout.