- Healthy Nutrition and Balanced Exercise
This is the one a lot of us don’t want to hear, but it’s one of the simplest and most liberating ways to manage and to overcome stress. The American Football coach Vince Lombardi once said that “fatigue makes cowards of us all.” Physical fatigue makes it very hard to handle even the smallest forms of stress.
When you’re tired and your body is malnourished and weak, it’s easier to make mistakes, to say things you don’t mean and to give in to the temptation to “take shortcuts,” by procrastinating or overlooking important details. As you know, mistakes, shortcuts and habits like procrastination create more chaos and disorder in our lives and thus more stress.
This is why getting at least 20 minutes a day of balanced exercise and eating natural foods, fruits, vegetables and drinking the adequate amount of water a day (one ounce for every 2 lbs of body weight) is essential for managing stress.
- Solve Your “Inner Conflicts”
Abraham Lincoln once said:
“Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”
The problem is that “making up your mind” to be happy takes some skill, and it starts with owning and solving the internal conflicts which are stressing you out and making you unhappy.
Most of the things which cause us distress are things which hit our “internal triggers” and make us upset, scared, angry, insecure or distracted. Stop blaming these exterior things and start asking yourself what internal triggers are causing you to lose control of your emotional state.
While it’s true that there are things in life which you can’t control, you always have 100% control over how you respond to those things. By uncovering and solving your “inner conflicts” you’ll eliminate a lot of the stress which is created by external things in your life.
Only then will this next stress management tip work to your advantage…
- Take Out the Trash
Once you’ve settled your inner conflicts, take inventory of your life and write down everything which is causing you stress, from the very minor things to the major. When most people do this, they uncover only one or two things which are creating almost all of the stress in their life. Once you’ve identified these things, get rid of as many of them as possible or at least set some healthy boundaries.
This might mean you have to renegotiate your boundaries with some people in your life, and things might get a bit worse before they get better. But the long term benefit to your physical, emotional and mental well-being will be worth it.
- Take Care of What You Already Have
Many people stress out about the things which they don’t have to the point where the things which they do have become neglected. As you’re making your list of the things in your life which are causing you stress, make another list of all the things you’re grateful to have.
Once you’ve made this list, create a plan for taking better care of these things. The more you do this, the more thankful you’ll be for them, the more value you’ll get out of them and the more you’ll appreciate them.
By being grateful and appreciative of what you already have, you’ll also find a more positive place to focus your energy and the negative things in your life will have a much smaller impact.
- Create an “Exit Strategy”
If you’ve already solved your inner conflicts, created boundaries and started taking better care of the things which you’re thankful for and if you still find that your job is still creating the majority of the stress in your life, it’s time to make a move in your place of employment or even your career.
Most people are stressed out about their job, to the point where it’s negatively impacting everything else in their lives and destroying their confidence and their peace of mind. In fact, the heart attack rate is reported to be the highest on Monday morning between the hours of 7 and 8 am.
No amount of money or opportunity is worth your happiness or your longevity. If your job is ruining your life, start right away to make plans for a change. If you’re worried about taking a pay cut, remember that excessive spending is often created by a lack of happiness or stimulation in some area of your life.
If you leave your current job for one which makes you happier, it’s very likely that you’ll be less tempted to overspend and that the change will have little or no impact on you financially.
Start on the first of these five of these tips on how to handle stress and apply one at a time. Remember that stress management is a habit and that it will take some time to master. Practice these just as you would anything else you’d like to get good at, and pretty soon you’ll be a master!