Are you feeling trapped, stuck and unable to break free no matter how hard you try? Have you given in to the pressures of life and found yourself drifting through days, months or even years without accomplishing anything meaningful? Do you dwell on unhappy moments from the past rather than taking the time to create happy new ones in the present? Do you find that even when you do get some time off, you can’t really enjoy the things you used to love doing?
“I have no stress in my life, I always feel at peace”. Does this affirmation sounds suspicious or dreamy to you? Highly likely, as stress has become a common affliction in today’s racing world, where we are always in a hurry; trying to meet a deadline, catch a cab or reach a never ending conclusion. Some people stagnate because of the stress and anxiety of today’s modern world. Without even knowing it, they have let stress slowly build in their lives and don’t see the negative impact it is having on their health, career, relationships, happiness and general wellbeing.
Stress is unhealthy and too much multi-tasking adds to the burdens of the mind. There are many studies linking stress to ulcers, high blood pressure, heart attacks, and other such illnesses. Modern life puts a lot of emphasis on effortlessly, getting as much done as possible and being on call all the time, working overtime and never switching off. To reduce stress and exit the pace, people often resort to smoking, drinking alcohol and drugs both illegal and prescription. Unfortunately, these habits only exacerbate the problem longer term. To avoid replacing stress with toxicity, which has the capacity to eat your life away, the ideal solution is to reduce it naturally and then find and sustain a sense of control and ‘mindfulness’. Imagine living in the present moment with the stresses of yesterday and the worries of tomorrow not even entering your thoughts.
Tips to reduce your private space stress
Take time for you
Popular media says and society believes, that you need to spend every waking hour accomplishing goals and acquiring more. You set high expectations of yourself and so does your close entourage. You are not benefiting those around you in the long-run when setting unrealistic goals, only to fail because you don’t have enough time to achieve them or even try. So you give up, allowing more stress into your life, it’s a vicious circle. Remember that loving yourself is nurturing your time and using it wisely.
Enjoy silence and solitude; constant exposure to noise overloads the mind. To unwind after a hard day’s grind, allot time to boosting your physical and psychological health. To soothe yourself, each day relax in peace and take time to think. Sit down and let, your mind and body do nothing at all. In a quiet space you become self aware and able to pinpoint the root cause of your stress and mull over how to overcome it. But in the midst of stress our real self is lost and the inner guidance that prevents us from feeling hopeless is unable to surface through the negative mind chatter.
Stress often manifests when we accumulate and carry over yesterday’s concerns into the now. To free yourself from worries, disappointment, regret, anger and grief, take in three deep breaths then slowly release each one and feel the peaceful wholeness within yourself.
Then, let go of yesterday’s thoughts and only be mindful of the now…. this breath… this emotion, until each of the mental knots begins to dissolve. You can take action to deal with unresolved problems at a later time. For now, acknowledge your thoughts and feelings but stay in this moment. It’s rewarding to have even just five minutes a day to yourself to ‘just be’.
Indulge your passions
Hobbies bring relief. Find joy through activities you are passionate about or the little things in nature that make you smile. Stress is being stuck in, doing stuff you don’t like and doing nothing but work. Don’t restrict yourself to only boring and meaningless activities everyday. Instead, boost your enthusiasm by making your daily life more fulfilling and engaging. Learn to play a new instrument or read a new book. This will give you a feeling of accomplishment, but it will also allow you to…
Your stress may be due to a tense body. The antidote is to get a comforting massage that will help you unwind. Research shows that a gentle massage lowers blood pressure, heart rate and relaxes the muscles. It is also said to release repressed negative emotions. Therefore, try to get regular massages to beat physical and emotional stress. You can also check if relaxation methods like aromatherapy and hypnotherapy work for you.
Taking life too seriously is the characteristic of an overstressed person. If that person is you, it’s time to crack a few jokes through the wall and let in the lighter side of life! Need help? Join a nearby laughter club to laugh out the tension in your system. Watch funny movies to keep your mood upbeat. Laugh and dance, just let yourself go. It is food for the soul!
Simplify your lifestyle
Pushing yourself becomes too much when you try to accomplish superfluous things. So take a hard look at your activities and identify what and who stresses you without a return on your stress investment. Then, stick to beneficial, healthy and fulfilling activities and relationships to avoid accumulating stress. If the source of stress is someone special, engage in open and honest communication to work out the problems that damage your closeness.
Listening to music is one of the most relaxing pastimes on earth. As you take it easy and enjoy the beats of life, your stress and tension can ease. Listening to the lyrics of soothing soft rock bands like Stereophonics, Coldplay, Eagles, and Pink Floyd can also exert a calming and comforting influence. Or you could try soft pan pipes, classical or chanting. Whatever music it is, be in the ‘present’ and enjoy it.
Change of scenery
Make sure to take a trip away at least once a year, the value of a holiday shouldn’t be underestimated. Go out and explore the world, see countries and cities that attract your curiosity. If this is not possible, use creativity to decorate your home, move the furniture around and clear out the old junk from your living space. Staying at home to spend quality time with your family and friends can be as refreshing as a holiday.
Respect your body
Stress is easily brought on by a lack of self care. The best thing that you can do for yourself is to nurture your body by following a healthy diet. This will breathe new life into your hair and nourish your skin and vital organs as well as improving your energy levels and mood. Everyday challenges seem minor when living a balanced life, whilst being equipped with enough energy reserves mentally and physically to deal with the unexpected things life throws at you from time to time.
There are times when you will want to put in extra hours or stay up all night to reach a deadline. However, this should not become a habit. You need to make sure that you get enough sleep so that your body can rest and recharge, otherwise you are setting yourself up for stress.
Shake your body
Keep yourself in prime shape by working out regularly. Start by committing to a daily morning, lunch hour or evening walk. If you prefer to hit the gym, then start slow and build yourself up with the appropriate exercise regime. Not only will this benefit you in terms of self esteem and energy gain, but it has been scientifically proven that exercise produces chemicals in your brain that help you overcome stress. Even gentle exercise increases your ability to reduce stress effectively. It releases feel good hormones in the body which elevate your mood and ward off negative feelings. A strong and fit body keeps you upbeat throughout the day. Try yoga or tai chi if you really want to connect your body and mind.
Value your time
People feel stressed out when they can’t accomplish their unplanned dreams because they have set goals without deadlines, giving themselves too much to do each day. Soon they feel like they are constantly being left behind. If you set goals and plan how you are going to accomplish them, then stress won’t be hanging over your head. If you are overwhelmed because your time is wasted by people who are time wasters, then ask yourself if you can remove these people from your life.
Set goals that can transform your life whilst at the same time reducing the amount of stress that you feel. You will be happier and have more energy when you stop allowing stress to consume your time until you feel suffocated by it. At the beginning of each week, create a to-do list of tasks to finish and appointments to attend. You’ll find some chores that need to be done on a daily basis, others weekly. Knowing exactly what you have to do, greatly reduces daily stressors. And knowing this, you can focus on the essentials without worrying about the rest. Being organized can take a bit of work and commitment but in the end it makes life flow seamlessly.
“Organization isn’t about perfection; it’s about efficiency, reducing stress and clutter, saving time and money and improving your overall quality of life.” Christina Scalise
Stress is an underestimated destructive force. Which impacts many due to its ability to control them and to lead them to his good friend, Anxiety.
That said, you have the power to reduce your own level of stress dramatically! To overcome the limitations imposed by stress, isolate one particular stressful area of your life and then work on it until you regain control. When the desire for change comes from within and the belief that change is possible has set in your mind, you will be empowered to choose a peaceful response to stressful situations you encounter in today’s fast paced world.