26 APRIL 2017
written by Mike
WHAT IS STRESS IV
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
I want to share with you a few things that helped me with stress. Nothing too extraordinary, just a few new habits that I picked up along the way.
Some replaced the old ones.
I’m still testing new stuff, trying to redesign aspects of my life. So far it works well for me, and that is why I want to share it with you.
– this is a big one. In the past, my gym visits were not scheduled. One week I would go three times, another just once. No routine, no plan.
To battle my stress and depression I had to make one, but crucial decision. I didn’t want a year long plan or a 6-month workout routine. I knew it had to last for longer. The sentence I wrote down was:
“I’m going to go to the gym five times a week for the rest of my life.”
A drastic change.
Long story short I am keeping my promise. And it worked wonders. I’m sleeping better; insomnia is gone. I feel happy every day. And few first weeks were hard, but now, after over two years, it became a habit. I keep it interesting too.
One day is boxing class, another weight training, yoga and so on. It had such a big impact on every area of my life I cannot recommend it enough for you. The important thing is to stick to it. Don’t get discouraged. Take it slow, but consistent for at least three months.
Replace cheap entertainment with neglected hobbies
– I’m sure you have something that you love to do, but you don’t do it anymore. Lack of time, yes?
Well, what about that three hours you spent on Netflix?
Think back to the times when you were a teenager. What did you enjoy doing? Schedule some time for it if you can. It will fill your head with new ideas, and stressful thoughts will go away.
Yoga and meditation
– let’s take a look a pragmatic aspect of these tools.
Yoga helps with stretching, especially when you do weights and resistance training. For me it’s a “rest day”, I work on my balance, correct breathing and posture. It also calms your mind.
Meditation is a tricky one because there are a lot of schools, techniques and tips on the subject. I think everyone should find their way. I can clear my mind while driving my car, be mindful on a cross trainer. Or even when I write this sentence.
It will help you to control your emotions and to reduce stress in a big way.
What you eat matters
– a clean, healthy diet is a must. Cut down on sugar, caffeine and junk food. And it doesn’t take that long to cook a meal either.
My personal advice would be to replace any sugar drinks with either water or green tea. I limit coffee to one small cup in the morning. And not so long ago four black, no sugar coffees a day was my fuel.
There are lots of guides and tips on good, balanced diet, but the important thing is to understand what you eat.
Focus on positive things
– at work and in your life. Yes, it gets stressful, but a good sense of humour can relax tense atmosphere in most environments.
Mistakes and errors happen to everyone, work on them and move on. There is no need to sweat the small stuff.
– plan your week in advance. Analyse what caused the stress in the past. I’m sure you can prepare some stuff now so you won’t have to worry about it later on. Simple stuff like organising your folder structure or file naming for the next project will make your workflow easier.
– you can’t do it all. I know that often you feel like you have to do everything yourself. There is no other way!
When you take on too much you are prone to make mistakes, and the pressure and stress will quickly pay you a visit. Learn how to rely on other people. Trust other people and share responsibilities.
And if they make a mistake, correct them in a helpful way. I know it’s hard because I’m a control freak myself. But it will help you in a long run.
– last thing on my list. Phone in one hand, tablet in the other. And you are watching TV. I love that it is so easy to share ideas and access information in modern time. But it is also easy to get overwhelmed. For me, it was a simple walk in a park that helped. Leave your phone at home and go for a walk.
It is scary how simple that is, but I find the simplest things to be best solutions.
That’s my few cents of advice. Nothing revolutionary but it works for me.
I’m sure you can think of some other stuff that helps. My friend does sky-diving, it works for him. My brother learns how to produce music. For now, it’s an after-work hobby but you never know.
Before we finish I want to give you few more tips of battling stress that I learned from Sebastian Bailey’s book “Mind Gym”.
Minimise the situation
– I guess “a storm in a teacup” is a correct saying. I try to detach myself from the stressful situation.
After a while, it gets smaller, and you will think to yourself “Why was I even stressed about this in the first place?”
Minimise the outcome
– focus on the end.
What is the worse that can happen?
Answer yourself but keep going. Question your answers. Counter them with “and then?” More than likely the worst possible outcome is not as bad as you thought it would be.
Reframe the situation
– you are stuck in traffic, and you will be late to your important meeting. Are you angry? I bet you are. But think about it from another perspective. You can’t do anything about the traffic, but you can revise your presentation in your head, it will make you more confident and prepared.
Celebrate the positive
– express your gratitude. Think about your health, your family, your friends. What are you thankful for at this very moment?
A constant reminder of all the good things that happen in your life will help you with anxiety and everyday stress.
Use your mental energy wisely
– your mental powers are limited. Do you want to use your precious resource on stress and worries? Think about it in terms of scarcity and spending. You wouldn’t want to spend the last of your money on something that makes you miserable, would you?
Take a break
– a five-minute walk outside and quick change of environment will work like a charm. If I can’t leave my office, I just look out the window and observe.
I don’t analyse what’s happening out there. I just watch it for a moment.
Seek support from friends
– sharing your problems will help. For me, this is quite hard as I tend to keep everything inside. But opening up will help you to deepen the relationships. Every one of us has problems and getting advice from a different perspective can be valuable.
Ask the right questions
– why am I stressed? What can I do to reduce this stressful situation? Is there anyone that I could ask for help?
Have I been in a similar situation before?
Asking these questions will detach you for a moment, and it will help you to analyse the situation with a clear mind.
Confront the situation
– Seneca wrote “to be brave is to be happy.” Sometimes tackling your problems head on is the best solution of all.
Stress is easy to battle when you know how. What happens around us or to us we can’t control, but the reaction is up to us.
Remember that the worst you can do is to ignore stress. Left unattended it will affect every area of your life.
I know that the subject of stress has been covered many times, but I feel that it is better to remind other people, and myself, how fragile we can be. Especially when work gets to us.
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