Advertising
Advertising

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

Advertising

    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

    Advertising

      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

      Advertising

        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

        Advertising

          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.

          More by this author

          Holly Chavez

          Writer, Entrepreneur, Small Business Owner

          How I Keep the Spark Alive in My 10 Years of Marriage 8 Psychological Tricks To Help You Nail the Interview of Your Dream Job The Ultimate Solution To Your Super Long Stay At Bathroom: Constipation Remedy. Low glycemic index foods I Promise These 10 Low GI foods can Keep You Fuller For Longer! Emotional Quotient Isn’t Just About Emotions. It Involves Numerous Skills

          Trending in Lifestyle

          1 7 Morning Rituals to Empower Your Day And Change Your Life 2 10 Emotional Regulation Skills for a Healthier Mind 3 How to Find Your Passion and Live a Fulfilling Life 4 Signs You Need an Attitude Adjustment (And How to Do It) 5 How to Get Through a Weight Loss Plateau (Step-By-Step Guide)

          Read Next

          Advertising
          Advertising
          Advertising

          Last Updated on September 10, 2019

          7 Morning Rituals to Empower Your Day And Change Your Life

          7 Morning Rituals to Empower Your Day And Change Your Life

          Most of your reality is not a given. It is shaped by your expectations, beliefs and thoughts you have formed about it. A big chunk of these beliefs and expectations are encoded into habits you integrate in your daily life.

          Yes, some of these habits are formed unconsciously and can be counter-productive or limiting but conversely, you can consciously form positive habits that will transform and empower your life significantly.

          This is a powerful point of departure that more and more people are becoming aware of. The most common trait of highly successful people is the recognition of the power they have in co-creating their reality through changing the way they think, believe or expect their reality to be.

          One of the most effective ways of changing our belief patterns is through practising and maintaining daily rituals. Ancient traditions had clearly understood the power of rituals in reinforcing habits and changing the way we see and create our reality a long, long time ago.

          Once again, if you look into the life history of any highly successful individual, you will find some form of ritual in their daily routine. Some of these rituals may seem banal or eccentric but don’t be deceived by appearances. Rituals are one of the most effective self-empowering tools freely available at the practitioner’s disposal – that is, you!

          Below are some the easiest yet life-changing morning rituals you can do every day. Of course, you can have your own afternoon or bed-time rituals but morning rituals are extremely effective in empowering your day since they help you charge yourself before it all starts.

          1. Gratitude

          Feeling gratitude and appreciation for those little signs and moments of joy happening in your life is probably one of the most overlooked or underestimated rituals. It is a perfect morning ritual to start your day on a very positive key.

          Advertising

          The real power of gratitude is that it makes you pick out and focus on what is working in your life – what is in tune with your being as a whole. It is selectively positive. It reinforces happiness and positivity by shedding light on those awesome things, small or big, that grace your everyday living.

          Quite often, we just pick out the pain points, the problems, the bottle necks, whatever it is that is not working in our life and causing friction, anxiety and unhappiness. This is like constantly rewriting the script of your life with a negative or tragic overtone. Your subconscious mind follows faithfully that script you write whether it is a negative or positive one.

          So feeling gratitude is undoubtedly an immensely empowering ritual. Start your day by being thankful for those positive things that happened the previous day or throughout the week. It could be something really petty and small. It doesn’t matter. You might be grateful for an unexpected visit from an old friend, a beautiful encounter with a kind stranger, a new opportunity or whatever it is that shines your way. Do it every morning and see what happens during the day.

          Gratitude-Quotes

            2. Writing Down Your Most Important Tasks

            This is a very practical ritual. Start your day by identifying and writing down from one to three of the most important tasks you need to complete during that day. These tasks are ones which support important long term goals that are aligned to your purpose, passion or general direction in life.

            For example, if writing a book or building an online community are important long term goals which are aligned to your personal growth, then an important task for the day might be finishing off a particular page or two of the book or coming up with fresh content ideas for the online community.

            What is important with this ritual is that you identify these tasks and complete them as early in the day as possible. Of course, you will have other tasks apart from the ones you will write down but, these are tasks which can be tackled later or batched up and carried out in one go.

            Advertising

            Writing down your most important tasks in the morning helps you focus your day and life according to what is essential. It helps you prioritize and manage your time better. As a result, you simplify your life by applying your focus and energy on what really counts for your overall life progress.

            3. Affirm Your Goals in Writing or Drawing

            This is similar to the previous idea but different in its application and purpose. Writing down your most important tasks of the day is a way to have a concrete structure of action to follow. Affirming your goals, on the other hand, is a very powerful way of crystallizing your vision and goals in life into your everyday mental space.

            Writing down or doodling your goals on a piece of paper helps you externalize those goals by giving them form. In return, they are reflected back in your subconscious mind and thus, reinforcing them and integrating them more wholly.

            An example of this would be writing down “I am achieving greater success in my career” or “I am becoming healthier and stronger through my exercise.” Notice the present tense being used as a way to tell yourself you are in the process already. Remember the life script we subconsciously follow? You are basically modifying the script to be applied now in the present.

            Drawing or doodling can be equally, or even more, effective  (if you are more of a visual person) as it summarizes a graphical representation of your goals. For example, if your goal is to build a new house or live in another country, you can draw the house or draw things that symbolise the country you want to live in.

            write down goals

              4. Practice Qi Gong Exercises

              According to Chinese philosophy, Qi (pronounced ‘Chee’) means the life force or energy inherent in all things;[1] and Qi Gong is the practice to cultivate and circulate that energy in your body. This may sound esoteric or complicated but actually, Qi Gong is really a set of simple exercises aimed at increasing your health and vitality.

              Advertising

              There are numerous forms and practices available for free through the online media. As a morning ritual, I recommend following these simple exercises by Qi Gong master Lee Holden:

              5. Drink Hot Water with Lemon

              Simply add a slice of lemon in a glass of hot water and drink one every morning. This is a very simple ritual I follow faithfully every morning.

              Apart from being a good source of vitamin C and a great way of flushing out toxins in the morning, it balances and maintains the PH levels in the body, reduces pain and inflammation in joints and knees and helps nourishing brain and nerve cells. Here are some more benefits of drinking hot water with lemon.

              6. Rise Earlier

              The practical advantages of waking up early are obvious.

              For example, you gain more time for doing exercise such as walking, cycling or Qi Gong as suggested above. You gain more time to be with yourself to reflect, meditate or, more importantly, carry out the other morning rituals.

              So rising early can be seen as a foundation for all the other morning rituals. Many, like myself, find that they are more productive in the early hours of the day.

              Also, various studies have shown that there are many other benefits from waking up an hour or two earlier in the morning. Sleeping early and waking up early helps the body attune with the earth’s circadian rhythms thus, promoting more restorative sleep. Other curious results from such studies show, for instance, that early risers tend to be more optimistic and can anticipate and solve problems more efficiently than the norm.[2]

              Advertising

              7. Listen to Uplifting Music

              Uplifting music can have a direct impact on our mood, especially in the morning. It charges us emotionally and tunes us into a more positive outlook of the day ahead.

              Most people wake up to music or listen to music as they commute to work. Very often, however, they tune in to a radio or randomly pick a playlist from their device. Being more selective and conscious of the music you listen to in the morning can have a great impact on your day and life in general.

              It’s funny how we try to choose music according to our mood. For example if you are feeling down or disappointed by something, you are more prone to listen to music that reflects that mood – for instance blues, sad songs or downtempo music. This has the effect of reinforcing that mood. What you need to do is the exact opposite and retune your mood by listening to music that beats to a different tune than that mood.

              Try to listen to more uplifting music in the morning even if, or especially if, your mood does not dictate so.

              More About Energetic Habits & Rituals

              Featured photo credit: Carli Jeen via unsplash.com

              Reference

              [1] Live Science: What Is Qi Gong
              [2] Harvard Business Review: Defend Your Research: The Early Bird Really Does Get the Worm

              Read Next