Most people feel they experience a lesser amount of spare time and more daily stress as they juggle a career, family, friends, goals, and their community. In spite of life’s demands, there are some simple and effective steps which can reduce daily pressures. Here are some paths to reduce internal stress.
1. Move out somewhere else for lunch.
Step out of the office and enjoy your noon meal at a park. Use this time to be with nature. Try this once or twice a week, especially now that the weather is getting warmer. Eat slowly, enjoy your meal, and relish the fresh air to rejuvenate you.
2. Bear in mind, you WILL commit mistakes.
They’re called lessons. And you learn from lessons, yes? Many people are forever beating themselves up because they had forgot a meeting, forgot their lunch, only worked out for 20 minutes, had a piece of coffee cake, or didn’t complete their to-do list.
The important thing to remember is: we all make mistakes, and will make mistakes. It’s our job to focus on SOLVING or LEARNING from the problem or mistake, not wallow in it.
3. Carry the peacefulness prayer with you.
This 25-word prayer, written years ago by Professor Rein hold Nebular at Union Theological Seminary in New York, has helped many people regain balance in their lives: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.” Carry those words with you and memorize them.
4. Give yourself a much worthy pat on the back.
Each day, take a moment to pat yourself on the back for all the things you did. This will shift your perspective, helping you appreciate the great balancing act you pull off daily–working, parenting, volunteering, maintaining a social life, caring for elders, etc.
5. Design an image of peace in your mind.
Numerous times during your workday, pause briefly to create a peaceful image in your mind. For example, picture yourself flying (NOT in a plane, but YOU flying over mountains, meadows, forests, oceans, gently gliding across the sky, admiring the view below. The more you practice this technique, the easier you will relieve daily stresses.
Reading is a great way to escape, educate yourself, and expand your horizons for personal and professional growth. If your life is hectic, this is a great way to relieve stress. You’re now doing something for YOU. Read at lunch time, in the evening (instead of watching TV), in bed before you go to sleep. Consider using audio books that you can listen to on your way to and from work.
Greet everyone with a smile. This will make others feel good about being with you. In turn, smiling will give you a deep sense of ease, calm and peace.
8. Check how you breathe.
Are you breathing deeply? When we are relaxed, our breathing is slow and even. However, when we are anxious or upset our breathing becomes shallow. When you notice yourself becoming stressed, say to yourself, “Stop.” As you breathe in, repeat the word “peace,” or say something that brings peace to you. As you breathe out, smile. Meanwhile, let your shoulders drop and your hands relax. Repeat this sequence several times.
Experts note that exercise is efficient in burning the excess adrenaline that fuels feelings of anxiety and stress. Exercise also releases endorsing, the body’s natural chemicals which block anxiety and pain. So take a brisk walk during your lunch hour or get your butt to the gym for a stress- busting weightlifting workout. Head to the gym after work to “work off” the stress of your day.
10. Consider positively.
During a day when you face a crisis, think “challenge.” Remember, it’s all in your observation of the situation that determines how stressful it is. Approaching any stressful event in this manner will positively boost your energy. So the next time you face a conflict, think in positive terms. When you face an obstacle, think “opportunity.”
11. Be cautious of what you drink.
The coffee or soda you drink throughout the day can be a mental health nightmare. Too much caffeine can cause shaky hands, restlessness and irritability, all of which boost stressful feelings.
12. Accomplish the very best you can, right now.
This is another way of learning to be less-than-perfect. Trying to be perfect leads to destructive behavior and procrastination. In other words, commit to completing your task or project by giving your all. That’s distinction – the commitment to completion. Just do it.
13. Just say, “No.”
You don’t have to accept every project, invitation to become involved or every opportunity to attend a meeting. You’re not a prisoner to your phone or your friends. Acknowledge what you want and don’t want to do. Say, “No, thank you,” to requests you don’t want to accept. Period.
14. Recollect happy memories.
Tap into the power of your memories. In a time of stress, look back and remember a pleasant experience or satisfying moment that brought you great joy. Your wedding, the birth of your child, a time where you were publicly recognized for an achievement. Relive them for the purposes of helping you experience better.
15. Listen to the music.
The right music can take you from a highly intense state to a relaxed state in a short time. The right music is generally instrumental rather than vocal and tends to be performed by instruments such as flute, harp, piano and string ensembles. Many people find the sounds of nature combined with musical harmonies to be very relaxing.