Stress can cause dis-ease; therefore, one of the pillars to reclaiming and rebuilding your health and quality of life is to reduce stress as much as possible. Please consider these 7 simple steps in your life, to begin feeling lighter, better and stronger every day.
1- Give up all hope and thought for a better past. Past is the key word, since it cannot be changed! By dwelling on past regrets and experiences you allow your past to impact your health, mood and future everyday, especially if you often spend time wishing it could’ve been different. Regrets and grudges are a waste of your time and thought, as is, worrying about the uncertain future. You will stress less when you begin to live in the here and now, grabbing every opportunity and experience that will determine your future.
2- Accept that the rest of the world is not in your rush to be places. Realize that some things can’t be changed and by getting angry, impatient or in a knot, makes you feel sick. Grasp the fact that traffic is just traffic and some people won’t drive the way you want them too. Since you can’t change these situations why stress over them? Allowing yourself to react to things out of your control impacts your mood and stress levels.
3- Avoid unnecessary arguments on topics where your intent is to change somebody else’s perspective. I’m referring to topics such as politics and religion. People’s opinions are formed from their past experiences and perceptions, not yours. The anger and hatred these topics cause in misdirected anger adds unnecessary stress to your life.
4- Start to move everyday by getting some type of physical exercise. Exercise releases dopamine and serotonin, which add to you enjoying life. This can be as simple as taking a walk, climbing the stairs at work, dancing with someone you love or on an Xbox One, playing tennis, going for a swim, playing hide and seek, taking a soul cycle class or going for a bike ride outside. Exercise doesn’t have to be in a gym. Choose something you like and makes you smile :-), this is one of the best methods available to reduce stress and change your mood, outlook and health in an instant.
5- Learn to Meditate rather than medicate. I realize that may be a topic some people don’t fully understand, but to sum it up, meditating can be as easy as taking some time each morning or evening to unplug. Gather your thoughts in a quiet area, set goals for yourself to accomplish the next day or week, think about what makes you happy or create a mental list of what you’re grateful for. You can’t feel stress and gratefulness at the same time. This only takes a few minutes a day where you’re off the grid and unplugged but can significantly lower your stress levels and perceived stress instantly, not to mention boost your energy levels.
6- Focus on your priorities. Understand what truly matters to you, and make sure that you invest your time accordingly. Set daily, weekly and monthly priorities. When you set and act upon priorities that resonate with you, you’re ensuring that it’s you who’s in charge of your day. You begin to act upon each day, putting you in control; rather than react each day, having you always-playing catch up. Try creating your to do list before you even check your emails each day; this sets you up to make your to do items the priority rather than responding to other people’s requests. Fit the email “to do” items into your day making sure your list remains in tact.
7- Eat some foods that will help stabilize your mood, refuel your tank and help you to deal with stress better. Add in some greens like spinach, kale and arugula, which are filled with B vitamins. Try having cinnamon throughout the day, as this helps stabilize blood sugar and cravings and swap your rice and pasta with quinoa, which is a protein based grain that is also filled with B vitamins. Your B vitamins get depleted under stress, so replenishing B’s through food helps you deal with your stress more efficiently.
Life should be simpler than we allow it to be. I opt for the “No Drama” theme in my life and work, but just like you, I’m still a work in progress. I have been using these 7 simple steps for the past year and the difference in my stress was immediately noticeable. If what’s stressing you today won’t even be remembered 3 weeks from now, it’s not worth your attention. Learn to let it go and let go of guilt from the past too. Lighten up, focus on the here and now and go after what matters most to you. Most importantly is to enjoy the ride and have a great time along the way, because you don’t get any of the time you wasted stressing and worrying back! Life is meant to be Lived in the Present.
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