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5 Ways to Practice Stress Free Living

5 Ways to Practice Stress Free Living

There’s a funny phenomenon that happens to me daily. It happens the moment a person stops and asks me the question, “How are you?” My reply is often one of the following, “I’m always well”, “I’m perfect”, “I couldn’t be better”, or “I can’t complain”. As quick as the words exit my mouth, I am usually hit with a whiff of skepticism from the questioner and often asked the follow-up question, “So how do you do it?” Well, here it is in 5 steps.

1. Get Rid of Stressors

If you cannot rid yourself of all your known stressors, learn to disarm them.

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Phase one: Ridding yourself of stressors. Often times our main stressors stem from the feelings we develop when we feel we need to or have to perform some task that we aren’t fully passionate about or committed to. Basically, we can’t stand unwanted responsibilities. Other times our stressors can be the people around us. Now, I am sure as you read these lines, you have already gone ahead and implanted that person or persons into this equation and that’s fine but keep the following quote in mind.

“The key is to keep company only with people who uplift you, whose presence calls forth your best.” – Epictetus.

If people are the cause of your stress, then it may be time to consider creating some distance in order to develop better strategies of approaching and handling the relationship. It may also be time for you to reassess the necessity of the relationship. An important piece of advice to remember is that no task or person is worth more than your own sense of well-being. You have to be at your best in order to give your best and stress takes away all possibilities of you being able to be your best consistently and over time.

Phase two: Disarming your stressors. If you cannot rid yourself of your stressor(s), don’t panic. Learning to disarm them can be just as powerful. Disarming your stressors involves following steps 2 through 5 listed below. In short, disarming your stressor(s) happens the moment you decide to focus on personal development and work on yourself for yourself. A strong sense of self activates an impenetrable force field that only lets in what you allow!

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2. Think, Speak, Act, and Radiate Positivity

  • Think Positive and throw out everything that enters your mind that isn’t. Not giving in to negative thoughts of your own and from others requires faith, confidence, discipline, and the ability to choose the correct perceptual position at the appropriate time.
  • Speak Positive and don’t allow yourself to have or be influenced by your own negative thoughts or negative conversations, opinions or suggestions around you. Avoid negative communication and conversations as they have the tendency to effect your thinking consciously and subconsciously.
  • Act Positive (to do so successfully and consistently, your thoughts and words must align with your actions) and watch your environment and the people around you change or take notice. In order to create lasting change, you must be willing to model the change you seek. Modeling is one of the easiest ways to help others experience the benefits of a behavioral change without feeling like you’re reprimanding them.
  • Radiate Positivity because as Maryanne Williamson beautifully stated:

“When we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

3. Be Truthful

Honesty can go a long way when it comes to authenticity but it also works well as a stress reliever. If you really want to unload your burden, be truthful with yourself and others. Acceptance may be the final stage of grief but it’s the first stage of truth.

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4. Be Consistently Authentic

Being consistently authentic is being true to yourself. This is done through communicating your truth through your thoughts, speech and actions as close to you as humanly possible. It allows others to experience you for who you truly are and makes you more likely to be accepted, respected and admired thus increasing your ability to influence others positively. Being consistently authentic alleviates the often stressful and unnecessary belief that you need to live up to expectations or act differently among groups or environments, both familiar and unfamiliar. After all; it’s simpler to be yourself than it is to be someone else.

5. Be Grateful

If you allow yourself to take a more conscientious approach to how you view your life and the world around you, you will most surely be able to identify not only things you have to be grateful for but also things you do not have that you can be grateful for. When you can acknowledge the infinite amount of problems the creatures of this world face and are effected by in comparison to whatever problem or problems you have in your life, I’d hope you’d be able to find a few scenarios that not only humble you but cause you to seriously reflect upon all the things you have to be grateful for.

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Being grateful is not just being thankful for having or not having, being effected by or not being effected by. It is the ability to understand and grasp the big picture life presents to us and be thankful for our place in it. It is the ability to keep everything in perspective as it relates to humanity as one being. It is the understanding of life’s longstanding fundamentals and lessons that have been communicated and demonstrated throughout time and history. When you have everything to be grateful for, where does stress fit in?

Featured photo credit: Photo by: Ed Gregory via stokpic.com

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Tyrone Robinson

Life, Career, Executive Coach & Business Consultant

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Last Updated on August 20, 2019

Becoming Self-Taught (The How-To Guide)

Becoming Self-Taught (The How-To Guide)

Most of the skills I use to make a living are skills I’ve learned on my own: Web design, desktop publishing, marketing, personal productivity skills, even teaching! And most of what I know about science, politics, computers, art, guitar-playing, world history, writing, and a dozen other topics, I’ve picked up outside of any formal education.

This is not to toot my own horn at all; if you stop to think about it, much of what you know how to do you’ve picked up on your own. But we rarely think about the process of becoming self-taught. This is too bad, because often, we shy away from things we don’t know how to do without stopping to think about how we might learn it — in many cases, fairly easily.

The way you approach the world around you dictates to a great degree whether you will find learning something new easy or hard. Learning comes easily to people who have developed:

Curiosity

Being curious means you look forward to learning new things and are troubled by gaps in your understanding of the world. New words and ideas are received as challenges and the work of understanding them is embraced.

People who lack curiosity see learning new things as a chore — or worse, as beyond their capacities.

Patience

Depending on the complexity of a topic, learning something new can take a long time. And it’s bound to be frustrating as you grapple with new terminologies, new models, and apparently irrelevant information.

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When you are learning something by yourself, there is nobody to control the flow of information, to make sure you move from basic knowledge to intermediate and finally advanced concepts.

Patience with your topic, and more importantly with yourself is crucial — there’s no field of knowledge that someone in the world hasn’t managed to learn, starting from exactly where you are.

A Feeling for Connectedness

This is the hardest talent to cultivate, and is where most people flounder when approaching a new topic.

A new body of knowledge is always easiest to learn if you can figure out the way it connects to what you already know. For years, I struggled with calculus in college until one day, my chemistry professor demonstrated how to do half-life calculations using integrals. From then on, calculus came much easier, because I had made a connection between a concept I understood well (the chemistry of half-lifes) and a field I had always struggled in (higher maths).

The more you look for and pay attention to the connections between different fields, the more readily your mind will be able to latch onto new concepts.

With a learning attitude in place, working your way into a new topic is simply a matter of research, practice, networking, and scheduling:

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1. Research

Of course, the most important step in learning something new is actually finding out stuff about it. I tend to go through three distinct phases when I’m teaching myself a new topic:

Learning the Basics

Start as all things start today: Google it! Somehow people managed to learn before Google ( I learned HTML when Altavista was the best we got!) but nowadays a well-formed search on Google will get you a wealth of information on any topic in seconds.

Surfing Wikipedia articles is a great way to get a basic grounding in a new field, too — and usually the Wikipedia entry for your search term will be on the first page of your Google search.

What I look for is basic information and then the work of experts — blogs by researchers in a field, forums about a topic, organizational websites, magazines. I subscribe to a bunch of RSS feeds to keep up with new material as it’s posted, I print out articles to read in-depth later, and I look for the names of top authors or top books in the field.

Hitting the Books

Once I have a good outline of a field of knowledge, I hit the library. I look up the key names and titles I came across online, and then scan the shelves around those titles for other books that look interesting.

Then, I go to the children’s section of the library and look up the same call numbers — a good overview for teens is probably going to be clearer, more concise, and more geared towards learning than many adult books.

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Long-Term Reference

While I’m reading my stack of books from the library, I start keeping my eyes out for books I will want to give a permanent place on my shelves. I check online and brick-and-mortar bookstores, but also search thrift stores, used bookstores, library book sales, garage sales, wherever I happen to find myself in the presence of books.

My goal is a collection of reference manuals and top books that I will come back to either to answer thorny questions or to refresh my knowledge as I put new skills into practice. And to do this cheaply and quickly.

2. Practice

Putting new knowledges into practice helps us develop better understandings now and remember more later. Although a lot of books offer exercises and self-tests, I prefer to jump right in and build something: a website, an essay, a desk, whatever.

A great way to put any new body of knowledge into action is to start a blog on it — put it out there for the world to see and comment on.

Just don’t lock your learning up in your head where nobody ever sees how much you know about something, and you never see how much you still don’t know.

3. Network

One of the most powerful sources of knowledge and understanding in my life have been the social networks I have become embedded in over the years — the websites I write on, the LISTSERV I belong to, the people I talk with and present alongside at conferences, my colleagues in the department where I studied and the department where I now teach, and so on.

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These networks are crucial to extending my knowledge in areas I am already involved, and for referring me to contacts in areas where I have no prior experience. Joining an email list, emailing someone working in the field, asking colleagues for recommendations, all are useful ways of getting a foothold in a new field.

Networking also allows you to test your newly-acquired knowledge against others’ understandings, giving you a chance to grow and further develop.

4. Schedule

For anything more complex than a simple overview, it pays to schedule time to commit to learning. Having the books on the shelf, the top websites bookmarked, and a string of contacts does no good if you don’t give yourself time to focus on reading, digesting, and implementing your knowledge.

Give yourself a deadline, even if there is no externally imposed time limit, and work out a schedule to reach that deadline.

Final Thoughts

In a sense, even formal education is a form of self-guided learning — in the end, a teacher can only suggest and encourage a path to learning, at best cutting out some of the work of finding reliable sources to learn from.

If you’re already working, or have a range of interests beside the purely academic, formal instruction may be too inconvenient or too expensive to undertake. That doesn’t mean you have to set aside the possibility of learning, though; history is full of self-taught successes.

At its best, even a formal education is meant to prepare you for a life of self-guided learning; with the power of the Internet and the mass media at our disposal, there’s really no reason not to follow your muse wherever it may lead.

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Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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