5 Tips to Alleviate Stress
- 6 Comments
As I was eating my cereal this morning, I started pondering an interesting question.
Is there a way to lead a totally stress free life?
I’m the kind of guy that’s always looking for a way to lead a more relaxed, easygoing, and enjoyable life. Stress throws a monkey wrench in the mix, and stands in the way of my attempts to achieve this lifestyle.
Stress is our bodies’ natural response to not living in the present moment. Whenever we worry about the past or the future and fight the present moment, we feel stressed out. The key to relieving ourselves from stress is to become fully absorbed in the present moment.
Here are a few methods I use to help reduce the stress of the day-to-day grind.
- Be present: Whenever you’re feeling stressed out, take a minute or two to completely absorb yourself in the present moment. Pay close attention to all five of your senses, and focus on the stimulus your body is taking in. How does the seat you’re sitting on feel? Is it cold or warm in the room? Notice all of the colors around the room. Notice every sound in your environment. What do you smell? How would you describe the taste in your mouth? Allowing yourself to be absorbed in the present moment is one of the most relaxing things you can do, even if for only a few minutes, because it silences the chatterbox in your mind.
- Meditate: This is the same idea as being present, except I like to think of it as for an extended period of time, although it doesn’t have to be. I normally take 30 minutes in the morning to meditate. It gradually alleviates any stress I’m feeling at the time. See my article “˜Introduction to Meditation‘ if you’re unfamiliar with the concept of meditation. Once you begin meditating, be patient. It’s a skill which takes a lifetime to master, but it’s a journey like any other activity you take up. Each step along the way is rewarding, and as you progress, new doors will open for you. At first you may experience only relaxation, but as you get better at meditation, it may transform into a spiritual endeavor that is a significant source of joy in your life.
- Do work that you love: This is a major point. If you’re spending 8 hours a day doing work that you don’t love for the sake of paying the bills, your life is bound to be stressful. Every day will be a drag, and you’ll never be able to relax. I know this is tough to chew on, but if you’re currently working a job you don’t love you’ve got to make some changes. The only way you will ever be able to lead a stress free life is to do work that you love.
- Leisure time: Set aside time for leisurely activities. I know, I know, everyone is so focused on productivity these days, and engaging in leisurely activities can be seen as “wasteful.” However, leisure time is critical to productivity in that it keeps you from burning out. Many motivation, productivity, and success gurus call this process “sharpening the saw” because of its rejuvenating qualities. Working and being “productive” all the time can be highly stressful. Spend time with family, go out to a movie, take a long walk, go swimming, do anything to escape the hustle and bustle of daily life. And while you’re doing it, focus your complete attention on the activity at hand. Become fully absorbed in whatever it is you’re doing. You deserve the break. What you’ll find is you are much more relaxed after taking some time off to sharpen your saw, and you’ll be more productive while doing your work.
- Acceptance: Often times we are stressed out by circumstances in our external environment that are outside of our control. Whenever you find yourself stressed out in response to your current situation, realize that you’re not accepting things for what they are. Don’t fight against the present moment; it is what it is. The more you fight it, the more stressed out you will become. Read my article “˜How to Stop Wasting your Mental Energy’ for some useful tips on how to accept the present moment as it is.
Our end goal is to be in a state of present moment awareness permanently. In this ideal state of mind, we will be completely free of stress. I’ve by no means reached this state of mind, but it is one of my ultimate long term goals.
As I make progress, I’m sure I will identify more methods to alleviate my stress, and when I do you can be sure I’ll share it with my readers! Please share any of your own stress-relief tips in the comments section below. I’m interested to read what you have to say.
Photo by stephmcg
Found this information useful? Show some love by leaving a donation!