It might be amazing to think about, but not everyone is stressed all the time. Those people who aren't always stressed aren't necessarily peaceful monks either, but normal people with similar pressures and expectations that you and I have. So what's the difference between the stressed and the nonstressed?
You could say that stress has become a badge of honor in today's society, and if you aren't stressed, you aren't busy enough, but that's probably not it. Really, these are just people who have figured out how to deal with their stress more effectively. The good news is that you can do it, too.
Figure Out What Causes Your Stress and Find a Better Way to Handle It
You don't always have control over what happens to you, but you can always control how you handle it. You can't avoid meetings at work, deadlines or the pressure that comes with a family, but you can change how you view these things.
You can practice reframing those problem areas. Try thinking about how neat it could be to explain to your co-workers what you've been doing, or how wonderful it is that you have enough food for your family, even if the dishes pile up. The ability to reframe how you view certain situations can change a stressful event into a joyful one.
There's a difference between being mindful and being watchful. Anxious people tend to be watchful, waiting for something to go wrong. Mindful people are simply aware of what's going on, both externally and internally. More than that, though, they're focused on the present so they're less likely to get caught up in a chain of what ifs. Stay present and focused on what's going on around you, and you'll find there's less time to worry and more time to be happy. It takes practice though, so make sure to take time to do it.
Make a Conscious Decision to Have More Fun
Having fun can take some work. It's easy to sit on your couch and watch Netflix all day, but it's hard to save up the money to go skydiving on the weekend. Just because it's hard, though, doesn't mean it's impossible, or that it's not worth it.
You don't have to go skydiving. You can join a local dodgeball team or find a garden to volunteer at. This isn't just fun, it also provides an opportunity to connect with other people. That lowers your stress hormones, which means if you get stressed, they won't already be built up in your system. This lowers your overall anxiety.
Take Many Minibreaks
Solid, long breaks aren't always possible, but a couple of five-minute breaks throughout the day are. Taking those moments gives you opportunities to breathe and reevaluate your mental state is important. It gives you a chance to consider how you're feeling and keep track of your stress levels. Try and avoid using technology for these breaks, since that's an extremely simulating activity, instead of a relaxing one.
The benefits of exercise are far and beyond just slimming down. It does wonders for your mental state as well. This isn't just a "Legally Blonde" idea either, where endorphins make you happy - although they do. From a scientific point of view, regular exercise decreases your body's sympathetic nervous system reactivity. In layman's terms, it means your less likely to get stressed by unexpected occurrences, and can handle anything life throws at you.
When you're starting an exercise routine, remember, no one enjoys the process of working out. It's supposed to be hard and sweaty. It's the feeling you get after working out that's addicting.
Eat Well but Avoid Fad Diets
Diets suck. They're restrictive and that tends to be their downfall. If you're never allowed to eat doughnuts, you usually want doughnuts. However, if you make conscious decisions to just eat better, you feel good about your choices. Plus, this seriously cuts down on feelings of deprivation and wanting to binge eat during a diet. If you want a piece of cake, wait five minutes. If you still want the cake in five minutes, have the cake!
There are plenty of other things you can do to become less of a worrier, but this is a good place to start. After all, the worst thing that can happen is you take some extra breaks, get in better shape and make your life a little easier.
This post originally appeared on Productivity Theory.
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