Today’s busy lifestyle has many benefits. There is an argument to be made that, as a society, we are more active, interconnected, productive, vocal, and involved than ever before. However, all this activity does carry a cost. High stress, caused by the unceasing anxiety over professional and personal duties, has become a deeply rooted part of our daily life. It is certainly a challenge to find enough opportunity to enjoy peace, serenity, and calm.
When something happens outside of your control, it is always critical to evaluate and engage with what is (and is not) inside your ability to impact. You cannot decide how other peoples or other external forces will behave. All you can do is control your response. That is what matters. Happily, there are a few best practices that anyone can adopt to create substantial feelings of calm for longer stretches of time.
Start Your Day On The Right Foot
A calming morning ritual is absolutely crucial to begin your day on a positive note. Most individuals have the bad habit of waking up and immediately diving into a stressful and over-extended rush. A few simple tweaks to your schedule can alter that for the better, permanently. Wake up a little bit earlier than you absolutely need to and take some time to meditate. You can even hit a few yoga poses to clear your mind and stretch. Afterwards, use the remaining extra time to write out anything that may already be on your mind. This can be something as routine as a dream journal or perhaps something with more immediately tangible utility like your hopes for the day or a to-do list to help you reach those goals. However you choose to spend this time when you wake up, just be sure that you are allowing yourself sufficient quiet time in the morning to adopt a positive mindset and begin your day feeling good.
Think First, React Later
Take a moment to consider the last time an unexpected stressor arose in your life. How did you respond? Certain personalities are more inclined to jump into action. This sort of reflex, although direct, can also be harmful. Some people freeze up and get angry or experience sensations of being overwhelmed. Other folks may sink into a depressed state of self-pity and waste energy wishing things were different (but fail to take action to make those desires a reality). Learning how to monitor your own preferences in terms of response is the first step in altering your behavior to be more positive. You need to fully understand how you act when confronted with stress so you can put an action plan to improve your outcomes into place.
Accept That It Is Not Personal
It is not uncommon for the responses you demonstrate when presented with stress to be rooted in an emotional overinvestment in the situation at hand. When something we do not like happens, it can be easy to assume that someone or something has conspired against us specifically. In part, it can be somewhat reassuring to assume we play a more central role or have some sort of control or input in the situations which end up affecting us. In truth, that often is not at all the case. The universe is not against you personally. Every person has problems with which they are dealing. It helps to recognize they everyone is more likely than not just doing the best they can. Do not assume any event is a personal affront – instead, recognize that external events just happen and whether you choose to respond by getting stressed or staying calm is entirely within your control.
It is incredibly easy to pay lip-service to saying thank you or expressing genuine gratitude in any other way. However, how often do you honestly live up to this ideal in your day-to-day life? When life gets hectic, and it feels like the sky is crashing down all around us, can you still find it in yourself to be grateful for all the things that are going excellently in your life? It is certainly much easier to just complain or fall into an otherwise predominantly negative mindset. However, choosing to hold steadfastly to the positive things going on in your life and articulating your genuine appreciation for them is an amazing habit – even if you just express it to yourself. As you engage with everything that is going well, you will almost literally feel the stress of other events roll off you as your perspective refocuses and it becomes clear once again that you can comfortably handle whatever it is that life is throwing your way.
Find The Right Outlet
Unfortunately, many people have unproductive (at best) or outright destructive (at worst) responses to feelings of stress. Withdrawing from life, falling into junk food, substance abuse, or similarly irresponsible reactions to stress often only make your situation worse and more difficult to resolve. When you notice the need to cope with stress, work hard to replace bad habits in terms of how your respond with better ones. Health coping methods can include something simple like taking 15 minutes to brew a cup of soothing tea and sit somewhere quiet while you enjoy it. You can also try drinking water, exercise, or talking with someone you trust as better ways to deal with stress as it comes up.
People multitask these days more than they ever have before. With the permeation of technology throughout what feels like every conceivable facet of our entire lives, it can seem odd to choose to single task. However, if you could do just one thing at a time, what would it be at this moment? That question is a great way to identify your priorities and get what you need done accomplished in a less stressful manner. When you are juggling too many different metaphorical balls, you are sure to spend your day at a high stress level just waiting to drop one. Instead, hit your tasks one a time and pat yourself on the back for each thing you do ell and finish. You will find that working in this way allows you to let go of the stress associated with everything else on your plate and just make progress one step at a time.