Live a Less Stressful Life

“If you ask what is the single most important key to longevity, I would have to say it is avoiding worry, stress and tension. And if you didn’t ask me, I’d still have to say it.” – George F. Burns

Post written by Leo Babauta.

Stress is a major problem for many people — a hectic, stressful job, a chaotic home life, bills to worry about, and bad habits such as unhealthy eating, drinking and smoking can lead to a mountain of stress.

If your life is full of stress, like mine once was, there are some simle things you can do to get your life to a more manageable level.

Now, your life will probably never be stress-free — I don’t think that’s even desirable, even if it is possible, because stress is something that challenges us and helps us grow. At a reasonable level. But when stress gets too high, it causes us to be unhappy and unhealthy.

It wasn’t that long ago when I was working long hours in a very stressful job, with little time for my family, smoking and eating fatty foods and not exercising. I had a lot of debt and too many bills. I was unhappy and stressed out all the time. I was losing hair … OK, actually that was because of genetics, but still. I was pretty stressed.

So I made some drastic changes. I quit my job. I simplified my life. I quit smoking and started exercising and eating healthier. I began to eliminate my debt. And I learned some habits that, when applied on a daily basis, can really transform the way you live, in a positive way.

How did I do all of this? One thing at a time. I didn’t do a major rehaul of my life. I changed one habit a month, and gradually over the course of a year or two changed a lot of things in my life.

I won’t guarantee that all of these will work for you. They worked for me, but each person is different. Pick and choose the ones that will work best for you, and give them a try. One at a time.

1. One thing at a time. This is the simplest and best way to start reducing your stress, and you can start today. Right now. Focus as much as possible on doing one thing at a time. Clear your desk of distractions. Pick something to work on. Need to write a report? Do only that. Remove distractions such as phones and email notifications while you’re working on that report. If you’re going to do email, do only that. This takes practice, and you’ll get urges to do other things. Just keep practicing and you’ll get better at it.

2. Simplify your schedule. A hectic schedule is a major cause of high stress. Simplify by reducing the number of commitments in your life to just the essential ones. Learn to say no to the rest — and slowly get out of commitments that aren’t beneficial to you. Schedule only a few important things each day, and put space between them. Get out of meetings when they aren’t absolutely essential. Leave room for down time and fun.

3. Get moving. Do something each day to be active — walk, hike, play a sport, go for a run, do yoga. It doesn’t have to be grueling to reduce stress. Just move. Have fun doing it.

4. Develop one healthy habit this month. Other than getting active, improving your health overall will help with the stress. But do it one habit at a time. Eat fruits and veggies for snacks. Floss every day. Quit smoking. Cook something healthy for dinner. Drink water instead of soda. One habit at a time.

5. Do something calming. What do you enjoy that calms you down? For many people, it can be the “get moving” activity discussed above. But it could also be taking a nap, or a bath, or reading, or having sex (which can also be considered a “get moving” activity if you do it for longer than 5 minutes). Other people are calmed by housework or yardwork. Some people like to meditate, or take a nature walk. Find your calming activity and try to do it each day.

6. Simplify your finances. Finances can be a drain on your energy and a major stressor. If that’s true with you, figure out ways to simplify things. Automate savings and bill payments and debt payments. Spend less by going shopping (at malls or online) much less. Find ways to have fun that don’t involve spending money.

7. Have a blast! Have fun each day, even if it’s just for a few minutes. I like to play with my kids — they take my mind off everything and are really hilarious. I also like to play sports (again, often with my kids). Board games are fun. Sex, again, can be a fun activity. Whatever you choose, be sure to laugh.

8. Get creative. Throwing yourself into a creative activity is another great way to de-stress and to prevent stress. I like writing, but others like to paint or play music or sketch or make pottery or do interior design or build things.

9. Declutter. This is a favorite of mine. I like to take 20-30 minutes and just go through a room, getting rid of stuff we don’t use or need anymore. I look around at anything that’s cluttering up a room, and get rid of it or find a better place for it. When I’m done, I have a nice, peaceful enviornment for work, play, and living. Do this a little at a time — it can be one of your “fun activities”.

10. Be early. I will admit that it’s hard to be early when you have to get 6 kids ready (seriously — try it!). But being late can be very stressful. Try to leave earlier by getting ready earlier, or by scheduling more space between events. Things always take longer than normal, so schedule some buffer time: extra time to get ready, to commute, to do errands before you need to be somewhere, to attend a meeting before another scheduled appointment. If you get somewhere early, it’s good to have some reading material.

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Spring into Action

 

  There are signs of life out there.  The buds are starting to bloom.  Birds are chirping in the morning.  It is lighter

  out longer now that we changed the clocks to daylight savings time. This is the perfect time of year to spring

  into action and do some deep cleaning, de-cluttering and letting go! 

 

 Ready to roll up your sleeves, open your mind and do some work?  Alright! Get the cleaning supplies, trash bags

 and tissues ready.  The plan is to do this from the inside out.  There is a connection between a cluttered mind and a     cluttered home.  Let’s start with the inside de-cluttering of the mind.  How much stuff are you holding onto emotionally?  After some time, we don’t even realize what thoughts are taking up room in our minds.  Like dust, dirt and grime, things   like resentments, unhealthy relationships and old beliefs can be wiped away.  In turn, you will feel lighter, brighter and  refreshed.

 

  Just like the clothes from many seasons ago that still take up space in your closet, old emotional baggage needs

  to be packed up and given away.  If it doesn’t fit who you are today, take a deep breath and let it go.  Begin to

  feel the freedom from within.

 

  When we get rid of the emotional stuff holding us back, we make room for more energy and positive thoughts. 

  Remember some of the old dreams that you buried deep in the back of the storage container in your mind? 

  Was fear and negative thinking preventing you from following those dreams?  De-clutter those false beliefs

  and turn those dreams into reality.

 

  Finding it difficult to see what emotional baggage is packed away in your mind?  It might help to find a

  quiet space where you can sit, light a candle, close your eyes open your mind.  Take deep breaths in and

  out as well to relax.  Ask yourself, “What old beliefs, thoughts, resentments and emotional baggage am I

  still holding onto?”  As it is revealed to you, allow it to come up.  If it no longer servers you, let it go. 

 

  Now lets spring into action on the outside.  Your home environment usually reflects how we feel within. 

  Is your home out of control? Is it organized and inviting?  It is good to take an honest look at the state of

  your home.  Sometimes clutter is a physical type of to-do list.  However, it is not necessary.  Over time,

  it can end up becoming an unproductive way to remind us of what needs to be done.

 

  Start with one room in your home.  Take a look around and decide what stays and gets cleaned, gets thrown

  out or given away.  Those are the main choices.  By doing one room at a time, you can take steps towards

  going through your entire home.  It doesn’t feel like such a big task.  Do one room a day or a few rooms a

  weekend.  Whatever works best for you.  Be sure to make it an upbeat activity.  Turn up the music and get

  started!  Go through closets, reorganize the pantry, throw out expired items in the kitchen, put away the

  winter coats and gear, switch the furniture around, dust off the shelves, clean the windows, fix leaky faucets,

  and spring into action.  (You get the idea?)

  

  If you have things to give away, donate or sell, do it fast.  Don’t give yourself the option to change your mind. 

  This is about letting go of that stuff, remember?  As the old saying goes, “one man’s trash is another man’s

  treasure.”

Self-Improvement Tips

Self improvement tips are a great way to kick start your personal growth and to push yourself to new levels of achievement and fulfillment. If you’re someone who’s interested in personal development and personal growth, you’re probably always in search of effective strategies for stimulating growth. You’re probably also looking for strategies which will ensure your personal growth and help you to achieve results.

So after spending over a decade studying personal achievement, I’ve decided to provide these seven easy self improvement tips as a way of giving back and helping people like you to achieve greater success in their life.

Daily Journaling

If you study the great achievers of history, you’ll find that almost all of them were avid writers. Keeping a daily journal helps you to clarify your thoughts and develop a sense of self-awareness which will give you the ability to reinvent yourself on a moment’s notice and help you to develop unshakable self-confidence.

Meditation

This is probably the most commonly neglected of these seven self improvement tips …it’s also one of the most important. Meditation is the most effective means of reducing stress and clearing out your mind from “junk thoughts” which lead to worry and anxiety. Daily meditation also helps to slow your heart rate and regulate your digestion among dozens of other health benefits. It also makes your sleep more restful and helps your body to recover faster. Basically, the practice of meditation is the one thing which can make the other six of these self improvement tips effective.

Expecting to Win

People who achieve great things in life aren’t normally anymore intelligent or capable than the average person. But they do one thing different which many intelligent people have a hard time doing: they expect to win, even before they know how they’re going to do it.

Having expectations doesn’t require knowledge of how those expectations are going to be, and if you start from a foundation of bold expectancy, the rest is just a matter of perseverance.

Writing Goals and Plans of Actions

The habit of writing down clear and specific goals and plans of action for achieving those goals is a must if you want to accomplish anything. This is because writing down your goals clarifies them and begins building an expectation in your mind. Also, having written plans gives you a specific set of actions to take each day towards the realization of your long-term goal.

Be Well Rounded

The process of personal development must be holistic in nature. Every single area of your life affects every other area either directly or indirectly. If your relationships are out of order, it’s going to affect your health and your financial life. If your health is out of order it’s going to start your personal growth and make it more difficult for you to find the energy to achieve any of your goals.

So no matter what you’re trying to achieve, being well-rounded is the key to living a balanced life and for building the physical stamina, the emotional fortitude, the financial security and the social support system required in order to achieve great things.

Positive Affirmations

Positive affirmations have the power to change your inner dialogue which can literally change your personality, your character, your actions and your life. For best results, write one positive affirmation for each of the key areas of your life (health, relationships, finances and career) and make a commitment to rehearsing them out loud twice daily.

Teach to Learn

This is the most important of any of the seven self improvement tips. The more you teach other people the principles of personal growth, the clearer your understanding will be of them and the more effective you’ll be able to make them in your own life. Even if you have no one to teach, you can write about the principles of personal development and how they are helping you. You can even begin by writing a short paragraph about each of these simple self improvement tips. Write each one as if you were teaching the principles to someone else and your understanding of them will deepen.

Article from the site http://www.positive-thinking-center.com/self-improvement-tips.html