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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 16, 2018

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system”.

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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The power of habit

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being six hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The wonderful thing about triggers (reminders)

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to make a reminder works for you

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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