It is fair to say we live in a fast-paced world of uncertainty and excitability, brought on in part by technology and spare time.
The Wall Street Journal reported that one third of people surveyed considered quitting their jobs because of stress and 14-percent actually did. It is estimated that 75 to 90 percent of visits to health care providers are due to stress-related conditions.
Stress is insidious; it makes our body fight against itself and it releases hormones in our body that make us tense and edgy. Learning to manage stress in order to lead a happier life is achievable. Here are a few simple things you can do to make your life calmer and richer.
1. Take time for silence. We need to first understand why we worry—worry comes from unpleasant thoughts that our mind manifests. When we follow these thoughts, we tend to dwell, fixate, exaggerate and obsess. Through silence, we can become acquainted with these thoughts and through mindfulness and meditation we can change these thoughts.
2. Create a safe space. Whether your safe space is a room designed for yoga or meditation or simply your bedroom or office, the point is it should be relaxing, a place where you can close the doors to the outside stressors and just breathe.
3. Stop being influenced by media. Media can instill fear of war, disease; it can make us feel like we aren’t thin, rich, or successful enough, and it can be a fear-based breeding ground for worry. A University of Michigan study found that people who use Facebook more, are more likely to be unhappy than people who use it less. Similarly, those avid users also said they were less satisfied with their lives overall.
4. Exercise. It releases endorphins, which make the brain feel good. Exercise also reduces the body’s stress hormones. And, don’t forget yoga – the healing practice of creating physical calm and mental peace.
5. Organize your time and self. Do one thing at a time. It is the simplest and best way to start reducing stress. When overextended, you are pulled in every direction, and when that happens, you’re not really following through on anything or doing anything particularly great. Make effective use of your time; learn how to say no and set a realistic schedule.
6. Simplify your finances. Finances can be a drain on your energy and a major stressor. Figure out ways to simplify things. Automate savings and bill payments and debt payments. Spend less by going shopping much less. Find ways to have fun that don’t involve spending money!
How to Be a Stoic: Using Ancient Philosophy to Live a Modern Life, by Dr. Massimo Pigliucci
StressLess Living: Release the Pressures of Life and Start Enjoying Every Day, by Lindsay Roberts
The Mayo Clinic Guide to Stress-Free Living, by Amit Sood, Mayo Clinic
Women Who Think Too Much: How to Break Free of Overthinking and Reclaim Your Life, by Susan Nolen-Hoeksema