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8 Effective Ways To Defeat Terrible Stress

8 Effective Ways To Defeat Terrible Stress

Stress is a fickle entity. Without it, we wouldn’t feel the push to move forward in life. Too much of it, and we hit a brick wall. It’s important that we notice the warning signs telling us we’ve become much too stressed out, and take steps to alleviate the pressure building up inside of us.

1. Vent to a friend

Sometimes, you just need to let off some steam. If you choose this outlet, it’s best to find a trustworthy individual who can give you some actionable advice. Of course, you might not even need advice, and just want to share some horror story from work so a friend can commiserate with you. That’s perfectly fine once in a while, but make sure you don’t become “that friend” who constantly dumps his own burden on everyone else. Telling the story of your awful day for comedic relief is one thing, but being a complainer is a whole different story.

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2. Get lost in a book

After a stressful day, it’s tempting to come home, turn on the TV, and veg out for the night. The problem with this is watching television is a passive action. You’ll most likely end up stewing about your awful day for the rest of the evening anyway. Picking up a book will allow you to relax your body, while keeping your mind actively engaged in something completely unrelated to the terrible day you just had. Depending on what book you chose, you might gain some perspective throughout your reading session. You never know, you might realize your day wasn’t all that bad in the first place.

3. Write in a journal

Growing up, I never realized how helpful and therapeutic writing could be. Since I started writing for Lifehack a few months ago, I’ve realized that I completely wasted a large amount of my life stressing out about things and thinking in circles, when I could have been writing my ideas and feelings out on paper (or a computer screen, at least) to make sense of them. Writing a bunch of self-help articles for others to learn from has (ironically) taught me a ton about how I can help myself. Truthfully, I’ve never felt as active as I currently feel. I really do believe it comes from the enormous amount of writing I’ve undertaken in the past year.

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4. Exercise

Again, I know after a tough day at the office you just want to get home to your comfort zone. However, hitting the gym for a quick bike session can do wonders for your emotional and physical health. It’s pretty obvious that working out has physical benefits, but it’s incredibly surprising how much better you’ll feel mentally after taking an hour after work to push yourself even farther. Then, when you’re back at home, you’ll most likely find you’re too exhausted to be upset anymore!

5. Meditate

Try to remember the last time you were somewhere that was completely removed from all other stimuli. You probably can’t — and that’s okay. Honestly, today’s world is so busy that it’s almost impossible to find time to simply exist without a phone ringing, or a car alarm going off, or something to interrupt your moment of relaxation. Because of this, we must actively find time to remove ourselves from the world, sit quietly, and spend time in deep thought. Doing so will help clear our minds and find solutions to the problems we’ve been facing, so we can start the next day without carrying baggage over from the day before.

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6. Unplug

This goes along with meditation. The days of working 9-5 are all but finished, as our phones and computers keep us constantly plugged into our careers. Our phone beeps with an email from the boss at 7:00 PM, and that keeps us from enjoying our family dinner. A colleague texts you at 9:00 at night to tell you he’s calling in the next day, so you spend the rest of the night stressing out about all the slack you’ll have to pick up tomorrow. Try this: turn off your phone. Don’t check your email. If you’re not contractually obligated to do work outside of your normal hours — don’t. You’ll find you have much more time on your hands than you thought you did to do the things you enjoy.

7. Eat healthier

Ditch the typical comfort foods, such as ice cream and cookies, and begin eating foods that will benefit you in the long run. The vitamins found in fruits and vegetables, and the protein found in other wholesome foods will make you feel better physically, which in turn will improve your mental state as well. You don’t have to suffer, either. There are plenty of ways to make healthy foods taste amazing. Put in the effort to find alternatives to the usual junk food full of sugars and fats that would otherwise be your go-to snacks. Your body will thank you.

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8. Reward yourself

Be kind to yourself, and give yourself a treat every once in a while. Everything is okay in moderation. So once in a while, throw all this other advice out the window. Binge watch your favorite show on Netflix. Lose track of time playing video-games like you used to as a kid. Go eat a banana split… No, eat two! You’re a hard-working adult, and you deserve to indulge yourself in some less-than-healthy activities every once in a while. Like I said, be careful to not overindulge, or you risk getting caught in a vicious cycle which will only serve to exacerbate your stress level.

Featured photo credit: Flickr via farm7.staticflickr.com

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Matt Duczeminski

A passionate writer who shares lifestlye tips on Lifehack

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Last Updated on August 6, 2020

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

We’ve all done it. That moment when a series of words slithers from your mouth and the instant regret manifests through blushing and profuse apologies. If you could just think before you speak! It doesn’t have to be like this, and with a bit of practice, it’s actually quite easy to prevent.

“Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.” – Napolean Hill

Are we speaking the same language?

My mum recently left me a note thanking me for looking after her dog. She’d signed it with “LOL.” In my world, this means “laugh out loud,” and in her world it means “lots of love.” My kids tell me things are “sick” when they’re good, and ”manck” when they’re bad (when I say “bad,” I don’t mean good!). It’s amazing that we manage to communicate at all.

When speaking, we tend to color our language with words and phrases that have become personal to us, things we’ve picked up from our friends, families and even memes from the internet. These colloquialisms become normal, and we expect the listener (or reader) to understand “what we mean.” If you really want the listener to understand your meaning, try to use words and phrases that they might use.

Am I being lazy?

When you’ve been in a relationship for a while, a strange metamorphosis takes place. People tend to become lazier in the way that they communicate with each other, with less thought for the feelings of their partner. There’s no malice intended; we just reach a “comfort zone” and know that our partners “know what we mean.”

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Here’s an exchange from Psychology Today to demonstrate what I mean:

Early in the relationship:

“Honey, I don’t want you to take this wrong, but I’m noticing that your hair is getting a little thin on top. I know guys are sensitive about losing their hair, but I don’t want someone else to embarrass you without your expecting it.”

When the relationship is established:

“Did you know that you’re losing a lot of hair on the back of your head? You’re combing it funny and it doesn’t help. Wear a baseball cap or something if you feel weird about it. Lots of guys get thin on top. It’s no big deal.”

It’s pretty clear which of these statements is more empathetic and more likely to be received well. Recognizing when we do this can be tricky, but with a little practice it becomes easy.

Have I actually got anything to say?

When I was a kid, my gran used to say to me that if I didn’t have anything good to say, I shouldn’t say anything at all. My gran couldn’t stand gossip, so this makes total sense, but you can take this statement a little further and modify it: “If you don’t have anything to say, then don’t say anything at all.”

A lot of the time, people speak to fill “uncomfortable silences,” or because they believe that saying something, anything, is better than staying quiet. It can even be a cause of anxiety for some people.

When somebody else is speaking, listen. Don’t wait to speak. Listen. Actually hear what that person is saying, think about it, and respond if necessary.

Am I painting an accurate picture?

One of the most common forms of miscommunication is the lack of a “referential index,” a type of generalization that fails to refer to specific nouns. As an example, look at these two simple phrases: “Can you pass me that?” and “Pass me that thing over there!”. How often have you said something similar?

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How is the listener supposed to know what you mean? The person that you’re talking to will start to fill in the gaps with something that may very well be completely different to what you mean. You’re thinking “pass me the salt,” but you get passed the pepper. This can be infuriating for the listener, and more importantly, can create a lack of understanding and ultimately produce conflict.

Before you speak, try to label people, places and objects in a way that it is easy for any listeners to understand.

What words am I using?

It’s well known that our use of nouns and verbs (or lack of them) gives an insight into where we grew up, our education, our thoughts and our feelings.

Less well known is that the use of pronouns offers a critical insight into how we emotionally code our sentences. James Pennebaker’s research in the 1990’s concluded that function words are important keys to someone’s psychological state and reveal much more than content words do.

Starting a sentence with “I think…” demonstrates self-focus rather than empathy with the speaker, whereas asking the speaker to elaborate or quantify what they’re saying clearly shows that you’re listening and have respect even if you disagree.

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Is the map really the territory?

Before speaking, we sometimes construct a scenario that makes us act in a way that isn’t necessarily reflective of the actual situation.

A while ago, John promised to help me out in a big way with a project that I was working on. After an initial meeting and some big promises, we put together a plan and set off on its execution. A week or so went by, and I tried to get a hold of John to see how things were going. After voice mails and emails with no reply and general silence, I tried again a week later and still got no response.

I was frustrated and started to get more than a bit vexed. The project obviously meant more to me than it did to him, and I started to construct all manner of crazy scenarios. I finally got through to John and immediately started a mild rant about making promises you can’t keep. He stopped me in my tracks with the news that his brother had died. If I’d have just thought before I spoke…

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