Do we live in the most stressful time ever?
It was widely predicted in the 1960s that, within forty to fifty years, advances in technology would leave us with more time to ourselves, more time for recreational activities and leisure pursuits … and far less stress.
Reportedly, it is at least twice as stressful to live in the 21st century as it was in the 1960s!
Sadly, although there are many examples of technology having helped to automate menial activity and free up time, advances in communications technology, in particular, have robbed us of those gains by blurring the boundaries between work and home life and rendering us constantly accessible to others.
“If you don’t like something change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.”
– Mary Engelbreit
Stress has been called the silent killer.
Unmanaged stress can lead to an increased risk of both mental & physical problems, such as infection, illness, diabetes, obesity, and heart disease, as well as depressive and anxiety disorders.
Try to prevent, reduce, and eliminate stress (or redirect its energy into more positive things). Take daily action to create a more peaceful, harmonious life and you’ll find that things more often go your way and outcomes are more in sync with your desires.
Here are fifteen things you can do to fight stress.
1. Turn over a new leaf every day
Treat each day as a fresh new start. It’s like they say: “Today is the first day of the rest of your life.”
Give thanks for every new day. Remind yourself of everything you have to be thankful for, rather than jumping into stressful thoughts immediately.
2. Visualise, with prayer or meditation
Take time each day to visualise living the life you desire and give thanks for it. Imagine everything as if it has already happened. Vivid, real, and positive are the key concepts which will help you achieve this life.
3. Make your self-talk positive
You talk to yourself constantly inside your mind. But did you know that what you say to yourself affects your mood, stress level, attitudes, beliefs, self-concept, decisions, and behaviour? Believe it or not, you’re quite convincing, no matter what you’re saying! So why not say something you want to hear?
4. Use affirmations
Affirmations are positive, self-affirming messages to self and can reduce your stress and redirect your thoughts and feelings to something positive. They affirm the qualities in you that you want to encourage, while thwarting negative thoughts at the same time.
Once you get in the habit of using affirmations every time a negative thought or bad habit presents itself, they automatically redirect you to positive actions, feelings, and decisions.
5. Simplify your life
We encounter a lot of stress every day just because of our cluttered lifestyles. Running from one errand to another, skipping meals and taking care of everyone but ourselves all contributes to our stress levels. But when you eliminate the clutter, you can eliminate this stress!
Exercising is one of the very best ways to eliminate stress. It gives you a positive outlet for pent-up energy and frustrations. And moderate exercising oxygenates your blood and makes you feel terrific.
7. Make time for yourself
You can do anything you want during this time – reflect, pursue a hobby, shop, take a relaxing bath with soft music and candles, or just lie down and stare at the ceiling in the peace and quiet if that makes you feel good!
8. Balance your time
Time management skills can help you find balance, order, and control in your life – all of which reduce stress. Procrastination increases stress.
9. Look for the silver lining
There’s always good things to be discovered and enjoyed in your life. When you focus your energies on searching for and acting on the good in a situation, you spend less energy and time on worrying and other negative stresses.
10. Live in the moment
When you focus on the now, you leave yesterday behind and let go of worry about the future. Those stressors are no longer in the frame for you. Instead, you can enjoy each moment to its fullest.
11. Take Action
The more stressed you get, the more things will seem overwhelming. To break out of this vicious cycle take action to address one of the issues you are dealing with, even if it’s a very small action. Bigger actions (and more destressing) will follow.
When those stressful moments arise, take a few minutes to pause and breathe slowly and deeply. It relaxes your muscles and delivers fresh oxygen to your brain to counter the fight or flight response and help you think clearly.
13. Eat chocolate!
Research has shown that dark chocolate reduces stress hormones such as cortisol and other fight-flight hormones. Additionally, cocoa is rich in antioxidants called flavonoids.
14. Have fun!
Laughing lowers stress hormones (like cortisol, epinephrine, and adrenaline) and strengthens the immune system by releasing health-enhancing hormones. So immerse yourself in comedy or get out and enjoy a good laugh with your friends.
15. Change jobs
According to research some of the most stressful occupations are: surgeon, commercial airline pilot, photojournalist, advertising account executive, and real estate agent, whereas amongst the least stressful jobs are actuary, dietitian, astronomer, systems analyst, software engineer and … life coach.