Don't Sweat It: 8 Easy Habits To Get Into To Make You Less Stressed
Do you feel pressured by everything you need to do?
Does it seem like you’re at the end of your stress tolerance?
Although it’s normal to feel stressed once in a while, persistent stress can tax your mental and physical health.
If you're constantly hustling and attempting to achieve success, it's not hard to find yourself feeling overwhelmed and stuck.
The best hustlers realize stress is a part of the game, but managing it is one of the most important skills one can possess.
If you’ve followed a lot of the usual, complex advice on beating stress, you might think stress is hard to control.
Yet, I'm sure you know someone who seems to always be in high-stress situations, but has figured out how to stop the stress from getting to him or her.
How do these people do it? How do they stay so calm and at ease when it seems like the world is crumbling around them?
Let's get to it:
1. Practice meditation.
Meditation is a powerful, yet simple method for de-stressing.
The emphasis of meditation is doing deep, full breaths that allow your body to take in more oxygen. The more oxygen your body gets, the less stressed and tense you feel. It's a practice for mindfulness that is being used by everyone from Russell Simmons to famous author Tim Ferriss.
Many people have pointed to meditation as a key reason to why they've been successful in their careers and personal lives.
Take this quote from 11-time NBA championship coach, Phil Jackson, on his meditation practice with his team:
When players practice what is known as mindfulness — simply paying attention to what's actually happening — not only do they play better and win more, they also become more attuned with each other.
A study published in Psychoneuroendocrinology Journal revealed making the effort to be mindful for a few minutes a day goes a long way when it comes to quieting your mind in tense or stressful situations.
Moreover, meditation is the only relaxation technique that changes the neural pathways of your brain, which aids in helping you break you away from the upsetting sensations you’re currently feeling.
This paves the way to building good habits, and it's especially helpful for most who are just beginning to practice meditation.
2. Exercise regularly.
Exercise, in whatever form, is a surefire way to relieve stress. It triggers your brain to release endorphins (our body’s feel-good hormones), which can then help distract you from your current worries.
Studies have also shown exercise effectively lowers depression and anxiety levels, thereby improving your mood.
This just goes to show exercise has a far-reaching effect in terms of mental and physical benefits. Whether it’s yoga or aerobics, make sure to make working out a part of your daily routine, and start reaping the benefits of exercise.
3. Minimize your to-do list.
To-do lists are good aids in managing your tasks. However, having a particularly long one can cripple your desire to take action. A good way to make sure your to-do list is motivating you is to keep it short and sweet.
Prioritize your tasks and retain only the important stuff you absolutely have to do that day. Having too many things on your plate can actually spur you to postpone your tasks.
A minimized to-do list increases the likelihood of you being more productive, all by narrowing your focus.
By having less on your list, you allow yourself to do tasks at a pace where you focus on quality, not just quantity.
4. Drink more water.
It may sound too easy, but drinking water can actually help you de-stress.
There has been a lot of research done on the connection between drinking water and reducing stress. A body that’s dehydrated isn’t likely to function well, and that can therefore lead to stress.
It makes sense when you think about the fact 55 to 75 percent of the human body is made up of water.
A body that’s half a liter short of the ideal prompts the brain to release cortisol, which is also called the stress hormone. Although it’s not a magical cure-all for your other worries, drinking up is the key to making sure your body’s water level is at an optimum state and not adding further stress to your life.
5. Clean your work space.
Having a cluttered, unkempt space can be messy in more ways than one.
A study published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin revealed women who have a list full of half-finished projects or who live in a disorderly home report feeling more fatigued and depressed.
Moreover, the same group also had higher levels of the stress hormone, cortisol.
Typically, cortisol levels decrease over the course of the day, but coming home to a chaotic home may stunt this decline. In turn, having elevated levels of cortisol can subsequently affect your mood and the quality of your sleep.
Before you leave for work, it might be good to do a bit of sprucing up, just to make sure you arrive at a tidy home at the end of the day.
6. Stop multitasking.
Unbeknown to many, multitasking is not an efficient way of working. It wreaks havoc on your productivity and takes more mental effort on the whole. This means switching in-between tasks takes a considerable amount of your willpower, as opposed to doing one task alone.
This is verified by a study on human perception and performance, which claims multitasking wastes time because it takes more effort to shift your focus back on the task at hand.
Furthermore, multitasking affects your short-term memory, making it doubly hard to remember the little details you might need in order to do a particular task.
7. Plan your week.
Learning to plan is such an underrated skill. Being an effective planner actually means you get more done, have more free time and have less stress overall.
Self-help author and psychologist, Robert Epstein, made a survey a few years back on the factors that affect happiness. One of the most prominent results turned out to be stress management.
The better people manage their stress, the happier they feel.
But what exactly is the best way to manage stress? Planning.
Instead of tackling your week with whatever hits you, start by creating a to-do list of the things you want to accomplish. From there, identify the most important and challenging things on that list, and focus on getting them done first.
Ignore the social media notifications and flurry of emails hitting your inbox. Focus on tackling the tasks that matter, and continue this cycle throughout the week.
8. Act On What You’ve Learned
Just like any problem, you also have to get to the root of what stresses you out. Even if you're managing your stress well, if the same issue keeps cropping up, you’re just essentially repeating the cycle.
Through everything, keep a realistic and positive attitude.
Stress is a part and parcel of living. Not experiencing any kind of stress at all means you’re not challenging yourself enough or pushing yourself to do better.
Beating stress is a skill that’s always worth learning. It gives you the opportunity to know how to manage your time wisely.