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10 Ways To Reduce Stress And Improve Your Life

10 Ways To Reduce Stress And Improve Your Life

Stress is known to be one of the biggest causes of medical visits in the U.S., and it can have an extremely negative impact on your physical and mental health. Although everyone will experience stress from time to time, no matter what type of lifestyle they lead, there are some methods that you can utilize to help getting this issue under control and have a happier, healthier, and more fulfilling life.

1. Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness, which is often referred as mindfulness based stress reduction (MBSR) by medical professionals and counselors, is the intentional act of staying in the moment. Instead of reflecting on the past issues or future concerns, mindfulness requires the individual to stay as rooted as possible in whatever they are feeling, seeing, or hearing right now. It is important to allow these sensations and feelings to happen without judging them, because this can make you take things less personally and feel less stressed. This technique is often incorporated with meditation.

2. Make A Gratitude Board

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    Research has repeatedly proven that expressing gratitude and focusing on the things you are grateful for can make you feel more optimistic and happier, along with reducing doctor visits. Of course, trying to focus on the things that you are grateful for might feel difficult at times, especially if you are dealing with a highly stressful situation. To help you remain focused on expressing gratitude, it is a good idea to get some poster board or a large dry erase board and write down at least one thing every day that you are grateful for. Over time, this will have positive mental and physical health benefits.

    3. Involve Nature Into Your Exercise Routine

    Exercising is a fantastic way to lower your stress levels, but you can take this one step further by heading to the woods for your workout. Whether you choose to take a slow walk or go mountain biking, time spent in nature has been found to relieve stress. As an added bonus, studies show a 20 percent improvement in the memory and attention span of those who regularly spend time in nature.

    4. Start Your Day with Meditation

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      Meditation is one of the best ways to improve your emotional well-being. Starting each day with a 5 or 10 minutes of meditation session has been found to help people remain calmer and get a better handle on any stressful situations that occur. The best part is that anyone can learn to meditate, and you can do it almost anywhere without needing any special supplies. However, some people get better results if they utilize a meditation app or burn a specific scent of incense each time they meditate.

      5. Stay Away From Gadgets Few Times A Day

      We are inundated by technology, and this can be a good and bad thing. For example, medical and environmental technology have done amazing things for the world, and we are much better off with these things in our lives. However, it’s important to be aware that spending all of your time plugged in technology can be extremely stressful. If you start to feel like yourself becoming overly stressed, turn off all your electronic gadgets for 15 minutes or, even better, go into a cool, dark room and lie down for a little while. This will allow your brain and your emotions to recharge, and it can help you feel less stressed out.

      6. Make Some Reading Time

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        A recent research project about stress reduction was conducted at the University of Sussex, and the results indicate that reading for pleasure is one of the absolute best ways to de-stress. In fact, reading for a mere 6 minutes will bring your stress levels down by 68 percent. To get the best result, you should sit quietly and read a book. Other studies have indicated that reading fiction book is a better stress buster than non-fiction book, as is choosing material from a genre that you particularly enjoy. In other words, there is no need to steer clear of your so-called guilty pleasure books, because they are probably the best thing for you.

        7. Balance The Proper Nutrition and Good Mental Health

        Maintaining a healthy diet that fulfills all of your daily nutritional needs can actually provide you with some protection from stress. When you do encounter a highly stressful situation, your body will be more equipped to handle it if you have been eating healthy and exercising regularly. It is also important to note that your body’s natural inclination to eat pleasant food during times of stress can offer some temporary relief as well, but make sure that you consume these food items in moderate portion to avoid filling up on junk.

        8. To Reduce Stress, Write Down Your Feelings in A Journal

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          Journaling is a popular way to express emotions and document your day-to-day activities, but did you know that the act of physically writing your feelings into a notebook will make you less likely to suffer from depression and anxiety? If you do not feel comfortable keeping a traditional journal, it may also be beneficial to utilize the latest trend: bullet journals. These journals allow you to keep an eye on your day, week, and month in one place, and you can write shorter, bullet-style entries about everything that happens in your life.

          9. Create A List of Affirmations

          According to Kathleen Hall, Ph.D, every single emotion and thought that you have, creates a chemical reaction which then impacts your emotional and physical health. Therefore, writing and reciting positive affirmations can actually change the way you feel. The next time you are dealing with a stressful event, take a moment to recite some positive affirmations that you have already written or gathered from another source. An example of an affirmation is “I am a good person with a strong support system.” Saying this few times when you feel depressed or disconnected from your family and friends can help recovering your emotions and taking action to improve your life.

          10. Avoid Unnecessary Stressors

          We all have certain stressful things that we have to deal with on a daily basis and we cannot avoid. But, there is absolutely no reason to add additional stress on top of these existing burden. Therefore, identifying unnecessary stressors and eliminating them from your life will allow you to feel lighter and happier. For an instance, if you find yourself getting agitated every time you read the comments’ section of a news article, make it as your new goal to ignore this section altogether.

          These 10 techniques should give you a great start to improve your life and reduce stress. Additionally, there are numerous other little things that you can do to make your life less stressful and more rewarding, such as de-cluttering your home and minimizing your TV-watching time.

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          Holly Chavez

          Writer, Entrepreneur, Small Business Owner

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          Last Updated on March 13, 2019

          How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

          How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

          Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

          You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

          Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

          1. Work on the small tasks.

          When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

          Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

          2. Take a break from your work desk.

          Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

          Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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          3. Upgrade yourself

          Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

          The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

          4. Talk to a friend.

          Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

          Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

          5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

          If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

          Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

          Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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          6. Paint a vision to work towards.

          If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

          Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

          Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

          7. Read a book (or blog).

          The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

          Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

          Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

          8. Have a quick nap.

          If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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          9. Remember why you are doing this.

          Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

          What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

          10. Find some competition.

          Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

          Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

          11. Go exercise.

          Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

          Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

          As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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          Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

          12. Take a good break.

          Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

          Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

          Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

          Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

          More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

          Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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