Is there a dark cloud over your head?  Do you find it hard to get out from under the feeling of “always being behind the eight-ball?”  Do you want to see the sun again?  Do you want to feel contentment and happiness in your life?

The hustle and bustle of everyday life can really create a dark cloud over  (and even around) you. This dark cloud weights you down, it leaves you feeling “crazed” and always behind. This dark cloud can start impacting your health, happiness and relationships.

While I don’t believe that you can eliminate stress from your life completely, I do believe there is a lot more we can do to reduce it.  There is not a “one size fits all” solution either — you need to find the strategy that works best for you.  Maybe even combine one or more strategies together and make a game of it.

Here are some strategies that I use to help banish my daily stress. Give them a try…I believe you will find them to be very helpful:

  1. Support Systems. If you’re constantly running on empty, your mind, body, and soul will suffer the repercussions of your tenacity. There’s no shame in asking for a helping hand. Sometimes, you’ll be able lean on a spouse, coworker, or friend, but other times you may have to hire help.  Start with having a discussion with your partner or family and see if you can brainstorm a way to share the chores around the house. Even just taking turns cooking dinner is helpful.
  1. Self Care. What do you enjoy doing? Knitting, relaxing in a bubble bath, drawing, lounging in bed watching reruns of Grey’s Anatomy? Indulge yourself in your favorite restful activity a few times each week. Carving out a few hours each weekend to indulge in your favorite lazy activity. Choose at least one weeknight to relax after work. Start with a walk outside. I know you might need your sunglasses because you have been under that dark cloud for so long. But trust me — there is sunshine, fresh air, beautiful things to look at out there!
  1. Simplify life. Simplify your routines, your commitments, your information intake, your cluttered rooms, and have less stress as a result.  Identify those things that are most important in your life…and then get rid of the rest.  It may not be quite that easy, but you can certainly start somewhere with this idea.  Think of just one thing that has been bothering you that you can remove and do it.  Once you start with one, you will see a ray of sunlight.
  1. Meditation. With meditation we can learn to transform our minds from chaos to calm. And it is really not as hard as you might think. My favourite meditation is a “Breathing Meditation”. It is simple and you can do it anywhere. Sit in any comfortable position, with your eyes partially closed. Now breathe. Just breathe normally through your nose. Notice how your body moves and what the air feels like. If your mind wanders, just bring it back to your breath. Even just practicing this for two minutes a day will add another ray of sunlight. (If you’re looking for a more in-depth look at meditation, check out Lifehack’s Mindfulness Meditation Mini Guide.)

Sometime stress seems like it is a normal part of life, but it doesn’t have to be that way if you’re willing to put your sanity and happiness first. Most of the time there’s a simple fix to the challenges that are causing you stress. Simply adjust the way you perceive the issues and how you address them.

Small simple steps on a daily basis will create a huge momentum in your life and you will feel the dark clouds life away and the warm breath of the sunshine on your skin.

(Photo credit: Businessman Dark Portrait via Shutterstock)

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