6 Habits That Make Life Easier When You're Stressed TF Out, According To Experts
A friend of mine recently posted an SOS on Facebook asking if anyone knew where she could get her money back on this thing called "adulting." My initial reaction was to literally LOL because, seriously, it’s getting pretty expensive. Then I gave it some serious thought, and it’s true: Being an adult translates to hard work, eaten paychecks, and stress headaches. But here’s the thing: Just because you have to work hard to make a decent living, doesn’t mean life itself has to be such a struggle. There have to be some habits that make life easier, right? Now I'm the one asking for a friend.
In all honesty, though, you probably don’t even realize the stuff you’re sweating in life isn’t actually worth the stress. But even if you’re well aware that whatever’s eating at you is only a minor indiscretion, sometimes you just can’t help but freak TF out about it. Believe me, I may be a firm believer in trusting the process and all that mumbo-jumbo, but I also have a lot of built-up anxiety, so I get it. Unfortunately, most things in life aren't always under your control, but there are some really clever behaviors you can adopt right now that can make your life so much easier. To help get you started, here are a few expert-approved tricks to take into consideration ASAP.
1. Stop Procrastinating Once And For All
Per the Merriam-Webster dictionary's definition, a procrastinator is someone who "intentionally and habitually" puts things off. If this sounds familiar (and it really does to me), it just might very well be that the procrastination life is one you lead, and as much as I hate to break it to you, this kind of behavior definitely isn't making your life any easier.
According to LeslieBeth Wish, a noted psychotherapist, author, and founder of LoveVictory.com, procrastination is pretty high on the list of things that make life more difficult because when a task is looming, so is the pressure to get it done. "We tend to put things off when the task is too difficult, confusing, unpleasant, or scary — even or mostly when that task is very important," she tells Elite Daily, but when things have to get done, you really should get them done quickly and efficiently.
So how do you tackle something you're really not in the mood to even start? Wish tells Elite Daily there are plenty of strategies: The first is to just start, even if that means doing a little bit each night before bed so you feel somewhat accomplished by morning. You can also initiate some sort of buddy system in which a friend or family member holds you accountable, or you can come up with some sort of reward for yourself to indulge in once you've finished. It might sound childish, but who doesn't love a good bribe?
2. Approach Everything In Life With Gratitude
Sometimes stress can be self-inflicted, and if you change the way you approach a situation, that stress can easily be relieved. This is the case with literally every scenario life throws at you; when life hands you lemons, it's up to you to make lemonade or scrunch up your nose at its bitterness.
Now, you might be thinking: "Julia, what do lemons have to do with making my life easier?" Well, everything, actually. According to Clarissa Silva, a behavioral scientist, relationship coach, and creator of the Your Happiness Hypothesis Method, by shifting your mindset so you can focus on the positives and really feel grateful for them, you "rewrite your chemistry" and your ability "to create happiness as an approach to how you deal with life."
In other words, a positive mind leads to a positive outcome. I definitely think that's something we can all get behind.
3. Step Away From Your Phone
Be honest, friend: Do you take your phone into the bathroom with you? Can you sit alone at a table in a public place for a few minutes without checking social media? Listen, you're preaching to the choir here if you have almost a maternal attachment to your phone, but for every pro of mobile technology, there are at least 10 cons. Constant connectivity is both a blessing and a curse.
"Research shows that having our devices at the ready at all times not only does harm to our attention span and memory, it also raises our cortisol levels, which makes us feel more stressed," Dr. Darria Long Gillespie, a board-certified emergency department physician and digital health executive, tells Elite Daily.
So rather than reaching for your phone the second you have a moment to yourself, Gillespie suggests taking that time to really lean into the quiet, take a deep breath, and practice being mindful. "You’ll think more clearly, have better interactions, and just be more relaxed — and you’ll never view downtime the same way again."
4. Plan Ahead Whenever You Can
Personally, I never used to plan ahead for anything. I always figured, if I have to do X, Y, and Z anyway, why not just do whatever needs to get done in the moment? This way of thinking is actually super unproductive, because the more you can prepare for the week or day ahead, the less stress you'll have.
According to Dr. Danielle Forshee, LLC, doctor of psychology and licensed clinical social worker, preparing in advance for tasks — big or small — that you know you need to do is going to make your life a heck of a lot easier, because "when the time comes for you to accomplish that task or engage in that task," she tells Elite Daily, "you have already prepped yourself psychologically and concretely for it."
And BTW, this kind of behavior doesn't necessarily refer to only the big stuff in life. Yeah, it would be great if you could get more of an assignment for work done sooner rather than later, but you could also do small things like "make your lunch and set out your outfit the night beforehand," Traci Stein, PhD, MPH, a PsychologyToday.com expert on integrative medicine, tells Elite Daily.
Sometimes, if I know I'm going to be in a hurry the next morning, I'll leave a bowl, spoon, and box of cereal out on the dining room table so I can save time scrambling to make breakfast. These little things add up, friends, so the more you do now, the less you'll have to do later.
5. Invest In A Planner
OK, if you somehow weren't already aware, planners are my favorite. Even if you're all grown up and no longer need to buy yourself a stack of notebooks every fall, planners are a necessity in life no matter how old you are.
Using any kind of organizer, Forshee tells Elite Daily, be it a physical book or an app on your phone, is super helpful, because it "creates a structure and gives some predictability to a seemingly chaotic schedule." It'll also come in handy when you're swamped with work and social invitations, she adds. Just check your calendar, see if you're free, and say "yes" to things you can handle, and "no" to what you can't.
Forshee also suggests taking advantage of the calendar on your phone to set alerts to remind you of things you have to get done. That way, she says, you're "less likely to forget something or procrastinate something."
6. Remember, It's More Than OK To Say "No"
Now here's a skill to fine-tune that'll definitely make your life easier in the long run. I know myself, and I have a really hard time saying "no" to people at the risk of hurting their feelings. Still, there's only so much of you to go around, and hey, you're only human. It's OK to admit you can't, or hell, even just don't want to do everything everyone asks of you. So do yourself a favor, Minimalism Life blogger Carl Phillips says, and learn to say "no."
"Overcommitting ourselves is one of the biggest reasons so many of us end up feeling stressed and like we never have enough hours in the day," Phillips wrote in an article on how to live simply back in August 2017. "Instead, we can simplify our commitments and say 'yes' to less."
I realize this is one of those things that's easier said than done, but try it out once and see how it feels. I can almost guarantee you'll be amazed by the heavy weight lifted from your shoulders. Just don't get too carried away — there are things in life you still have to do, you know.