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11 Stress-Busting Mindset Hacks You Need in Your Life Right Now

11 Stress-Busting Mindset Hacks You Need in Your Life Right Now

We live in a fast-paced, competitive, and stressful world. You may believe that you’ll eventually make it big, but there’s no escaping the everyday doubts and disappointments that everyone faces. However, there’s no reason to blame yourself at all.

According to the American Institute of Stress, 80 percent of workers are stressed with their job due to increasing hours, concerns about job security, and personal issues. When left unchecked, stress will slowly consume you—physically and mentally—and will cause you to miss out on the better things in life.

It may be hard, but you need to be resilient. Despite the blur we call life, you need to stay focused on your goals. Here are 11 mindset hacks that will help you do this:

1. “Can I do something about it?”

The golden rule of managing stress is to focus only on what you can control. Doing otherwise will only waste your time and energy. The disappointment will also lead to even more stress.

The key here is to liberate yourself and save your energy for things that count. Every morning, determine the tangible goals you can accomplish that day and try not to be distracted with meaningless things, like the bad weather, heavy traffic, and the sour attitude of your boss.

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2. Try a little humor

A dose of humor is an excellent cure for stress. Whenever you feel overwhelmed with work, try taking a break and revisit an episode of your favorite sitcom. Social media also makes it easy to find lighthearted videos – be it a prank or an animal video.

3. Drink a little caffeine

Stress and being out of energy are closely connected. Fortunately, people have known a cure for midday drowsiness for years. Not only will a cup of coffee help stimulate the brain, it will also provide you with an excuse to have a 5-minute break from work.

Studies have shown that coffee has positive effects on a person’s mood. Just remember to keep it moderate and not have more than 400 milligrams of caffeine in a day.

4. Try being mentally neutral

    A lot of people experience stress by focusing on one of two extremes. After all, not everything has a “right” or “wrong” answer. You can avoid a lot of stress by looking for a middle ground. For example, just because a co-worker has a different idea from yours, doesn’t mean you can’t work together for a common goal. Put the differences aside and look at the things you can agree on.

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    5. Try a little less

    People today can learn a lot from the philosophy of minimalism. Rather than giving in to consumerism and aiming to have more, you should roll back to the essentials and prioritize value. Web designers, for example, prioritize user experience over fancy graphics and visual effects.

    You can apply minimalism to your life in a variety of ways. A good start is to embrace minimalism at home and focus on owning less possessions. In addition to organization, having a minimalistic home will also lead to big savings in the long run.

    6. Look for the “at least” in every failure

    “Too bad the employer didn’t choose me, at least they pointed out the weaknesses in my resume.” Nothing is more powerful than the spirit of a lifelong learner. Remember that every failure has a silver lining. Leverage them and make a commitment to improve yourself.

    7. Isolate home from work

      Everybody deserves an escape from a hard day’s work. Unfortunately, some people deny themselves this privilege and choose to resume working when they get home.

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      If possible, try to discuss with your boss the possibility of postponing urgent assignments until the next workday. Home is where you should be resting, not a place to worry over tomorrow’s deadlines.

      8. Ask for help

      A lot of stress at work can be avoided if only you asked for someone else’s help. It doesn’t matter if you’re unsure about something or simply incapable of handling all the tasks yourself. At the very least, you should accept the input of others and learn.

      9. Try stress-busting apps

      Yes – there are now mobile apps and games for busting your work-related stress. Alternatively, you can look at apps that can help you organize and maintain your life/work balance.

      10. Look forward to future events

      It doesn’t matter who you are or what you do; there’s bound to be something you’re looking forward to right now. Admit it, there should be a few things that popped into your head upon reading the last sentence.

      Whether it’s an upcoming birthday or a new movie, you need to identify these simple pleasures and appreciate that you have something worth looking forward to.

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      11. Experience the joy of others

      Sometimes, the key to beating stress is to be selfless and focus on the happiness of others rather than yourself. If there’s nothing you can do to cheer yourself up, perhaps there’s something you can do to lighten up someone else’s day.

      Remember that it doesn’t take much to do something good for another person. Showing your gratitude by saying “thank you” should be enough to put a smile on someone’s face. Now that you thought about that, try to remember the last person who helped you out. It’s payback time.

      ____

      Image Credits:

      Woman girl freedom happy sun, Freedom sky hands handcuffs clouds Via Pixabay

      Featured photo credit: Pixabay via pixabay.com

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      Published on November 23, 2020

      How to Develop Big Picture Thinking And Think More Clearly

      How to Develop Big Picture Thinking And Think More Clearly

      Your neighbors downstairs are playing loud music. Again. How do they not get tired of partying? And why do they choose songs with such a heavy downbeat that the glass in your cupboard is vibrating every two seconds? What can you do to get some peace that you deserve? What should you?

      Human mind tends to go in circles whenever faced with a problem without a clear solution. It becomes easy to forget the big picture and get lost in anger and self-pity, wasting our precious time, energy and enthusiasm.

      Would it not be nice if we always remembered to put things in perspective?

      Would it not be more efficient to face all kinds of problems, from tiny annoyances to life-changing emergencies, with a calm demeanor, sharp focus and fearless determination to promptly take the most efficient action possible?

      Alas, humans are not like that. All too often we let anxiety or greed get the best of us and make a rushed or shortsighted decision that we quickly come to regret. Other times, we spend weeks or months at an impasse, rehashing the exact same arguments, unable to accept the compromise required to move forward with any of the available options.

      Buddhists talk about getting lost in the “small self.” In this state of mind, we literally forget the big picture and focus on the small one. We start taking our daily problems too personally and, paradoxically, becomes less capable of solving them in an efficient manner. And this is the opposite of big picture thinking.

      Let me share with you a story related to big picture thinking…

      In 1812, the French army of Napoleon Bonaparte invaded Russia.[1] After a decisive Battle of Borodino, the capture of Moscow and therefore Napoleon’s victory in the war seemed inevitable.

      Unexpectedly, the Russian Commander-in-Chief Mikhail Kutuzov made a highly controversial decision of retreating and allowing the French to capture Moscow. Much of the population had been evacuated taking supplies with them. The city itself was set on fire and large parts of it burned into the ground.

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      After waiting in vain for Russia to capitulate, Napoleon had to retreat in the middle of a bitterly cold winter. He won the battle but lost the war. The campaign ended in a disaster and the near destruction of the French army.

      What can we learn from this historical lesson?

      1. Focus on the Consequences

      Napoleon focused on the important part: capturing Moscow. Nobody could accuse him of thinking small. Yet he overlooked that the Russian army could still fight even after giving up the country’s most important city.

      So was Moscow not an important target after all?

      Success expert Brian Tracy has a litmus test: things are important to the extent that they have important consequences. Things are unimportant to the extent that they have no important consequences.[2]

      When faced with a choice, ask yourself, what would be the consequences of each option?

      • Want to spend an hour studying or watching the new series on Netflix? What would be the consequences of each option? Netflix can sometimes be a better choice, but it helps to put things in perspective.
      • Want to maintain your apartment by yourself or to pay a cleaning service? Would would be the consequences of each option?
      • Want to meet up for coffee with this acquaintance of yours or catch up on your work instead? What would be the consequences of each option?

      The choice can be different for different people. An aspiring filmmaker may have a legitimate reason for choosing Netflix. Personally, cleaning your own apartment can be relaxing and nourishing even if the economics of hiring a cleaner looks compelling because you are earning a high hourly rate.

      This is where you will need a basic idea of who you are — what are your goals, values and aspirations.

      2. Flip Defeat Into Victory

      Kutuzov managed to turn Russia’s defeat into a historic victory by recasting the problem in a wider context: losing Moscow need not mean losing the war.

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      Despite the symbolic meaning attached to the Kremlin, the churches, the priceless treasures that had been stored in the city for centuries, the outcome of the campaign was ultimately determined by the strength of the remaining armies.

      If you can adopt this result-oriented perspective, many of your personal defeats may be flipped into victories as well. Few events in a human life are absolutely good or absolutely bad, and it usually takes many years to recognize in retrospect, what role a particular encounter did play in your story.

      Therefore we have every reason to look for the good in the things that happen to us.

      This is a very practical attitude, far from baseless “positive thinking.” After all, if something unfortunate has happened to you and you find good sides in this circumstance, you will then be better positioned to take advantage of those good sides.

      Say your noisy neighbors are affecting your productivity. What if it is a blessing in disguise? How can you turn this defeat into a victory?

      • Perhaps you are too serious about life and could learn how to have more fun. Join your neighbors or go out for a walk instead of working;
      • Perhaps you only wanted to be productive while instead procrastinated on social media. Now that your procrastination has been interrupted, stop and acknowledge this much greater obstacle to your productivity;
      • Perhaps you are too sensitive to interference. Take this opportunity to practice ignoring the noise and doing your best anyway;
      • Perhaps you have a victim mentality and the feeling of unfairness drains you more than any actual nuisance your neighbors might have caused. Try accepting this lapse in your productivity the way you would accept bad weather.

      Get used to finding opportunities in your problems. This is the quintessential big picture thinking.

      3. Ask for Advice

      Both Napoleon and Kutuzov had trusted advisers to discuss their affairs with. In general, getting a different perspective — or several — can only help inform your understanding and lead to better decisions. Just ensure that the people giving you advice are competent in the particular area where experience is needed.

      Paying money for advice can also be a wise investment. Lawyers, tax accountants, medical doctors spend years learning how to assist people like yourself in living more successful, more fulfilling lives.

      A quick legal consultation can save you a fortune down the line or even keep you out of big trouble. A medical check-up can uncover potential issues and help keep you healthy and active for years to come.

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      Even big, complex dilemmas at your job or in your romantic relationship can be tackled more effectively by partnering up with a coach or a therapist or, of course, with the help of a wise friend.

      4. Beware of Biased Advice

      Many imperfect decisions occur in response to an imperfect piece of advice that you choose to act on. This advice often comes from a biased party.

      For example, we are often encouraged to buy something that we supposedly need:

      • Protect your skin from harmful UV rays by using a special lotion.
      • Fortify your health by taking multivitamins.
      • Connect with your friends by sending them elaborate gifts.
      • Brighten your weekend by consuming a delicious pastry.
      • Become more productive by getting a faster computer.

      However, most purchases are unnecessary.

      Some, such as the sunscreen, do have legitimate benefits when used properly.[3] Others, such as multivitamins, only make a difference for a small group of people.[4]

      Advertisers of those benefits inevitably want to narrow your focus in order to overstate the importance of their product. They frequently present it as the only solution to your problem, whether real or imaginary.

      After all,

      • Skin can also be protected from the sun by wearing appropriate clothing.
      • Health can be better fortified by consuming a balanced diet and getting regular exercise.
      • Spending time or talking on the phone with your friends is the foremost way of connecting with them, and it is virtually free.
      • Your weekend can be brightened by doing something that you love.
      • You can become more productive by focusing on the tasks that have the most important consequences. A faster computer can, in fact, decrease productivity by making it easier to multitask and by enabling your favorite distractions.

      There are other sources of imperfect advice. Politicians also frequently want us to focus on a particular “big picture,” to the exclusion of the alternatives.

      Even loving parents can be guilty of the same. They can advise their children to pick a career path that is safe and respectable, based on their “big picture” that in life one has to make a living. A child may disagree, however, based on another “big picture” that one’s life has to have meaning and fulfillment.

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      Bottom Line

      It is human nature to make rushed, emotional decisions based on incomplete information, then regret those decisions later on.

      You can protect yourself from poor judgment by striving to attain the big picture when careful consideration is called for.

      Focus on the consequences of your decision before considering how you feel about it.

      Play with the cards you’ve been dealt, but look for opportunities in each situation and you will find them.

      Ask knowledgeable mentors for advice, but beware of biased people who have an opinion, but do not necessarily have your best interest in mind.

      Yet remember, true big picture thinking comes from hard-won experience. Legendary military commanders Napoleon Bonaparte and Mikhail Kutuzov were both injured on the battlefield.

      Clear thinking comes from putting your big picture to the test of reality.

      More Tips on Thinking Clearly

      Featured photo credit: Haneen Krimly via unsplash.com

      Reference

      [1] Wikipedia: French invasion of Russia
      [2] Brian Tracy: No Excuses!: The Power of Self-Discipline
      [3] American Academy of Dermatology: Say Yes to Sun Protection
      [4] Harvard Medical School: Do multivitamins make you healthier?

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