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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.

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      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 October 5, 2020

      What Are Creative Problem Solving Skills (And How To Improve Yours)

      What Are Creative Problem Solving Skills (And How To Improve Yours)

      I think we’re all familiar with that feeling of needing to solve a problem, trying way too hard, getting frustrated, and then throwing our hands up in defeat. For example, when my editor assigned me this topic, the structure and concept of the piece weren’t instantly clear to me. I had to problem-solve to figure out how to even begin. But problem-solving isn’t quite so linear. It’s not just a matter of brute force. You can’t just muscle your way through. This is where creative problem solving comes in.

      Creative problem solving is about using what we know about how the brain works to come up with outside-the-box solutions to creative problems. Sure, we can do things the same way we’ve always done them. Or we can try creative problem solving, which means we spend time ideating (a.k.a. brainstorming), collaborating, ruminating, and refining to land on better and more novel solutions than we could have if we tried to force or rush a solution.

      Stages of Creative Problem Solving

      There’s no right or wrong way to try creative problem solving, but there are some stages that can help you integrate it into your creative process. Here are the 4 stages of creative problem solving

      1. Ideating/Brainstorming

      If we’re using creative problem solving, we’re not just going with the first idea that pops into our heads. Brainstorming is crucial to come up with more novel solutions.

      One of the most important things to keep in mind during brainstorming is that this is not the time to evaluate or judge ideas. The goal of ideating is to come up with as many ideas as possible.

      There’s an improvisation rule called “Yes, And” or the rule of agreement that can help you get the most out of your brainstorming sessions.[1] The idea is simple. If you’re brainstorming in a group and someone tells you an idea, you need to go along with that idea. That’s the “Yes” part of “Yes, And.” Then, you can take it a step further by trying to add to that person’s idea.

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      Let’s say you and your team are trying to figure out how to rebrand your shoe company. Your colleague says you could use a mascot. If you’re using improv’s “Yes, And” rule, you might agree and say that the mascot could be a shoe or a sock or a lonely sock looking for a shoe.

      During the ideation stage, no one should be worried about which ideas are good and which are bad. Everyone is trying to come up with as many ideas as possible, and everyone should be trying to make the most of everyone else’s ideas.

      “Yes, And” can also work if you’re creative problem solving alone. Instead of discarding ideas, you should be saying yes to your ideas, writing them all down, and trying to make all of them as workable as possible. But before you get too far in your creative process, it’s important to run your ideas by someone else.

      2. Collaboration

      I know sometimes you don’t want to share your ideas with other people. Maybe you’re self-conscious or you just don’t think that your idea is ready for prime time. However, it’s important to step out of your comfort zone and let other people join your creative process if you want to reach the best possible creative solution.

      When we’re working in a team, it’s important to not judge each other’s ideas until we’re safely in the final stage of the creative problem-solving process. That means no critiques, no evaluations, and no snarky comments. Not yet, at least.

      The reason to hold off on evaluating ideas at this stage is that some people tend to shut down if their ideas are judged too early. There’s a concept called creative suppression that occurs when people stop a creative pursuit temporarily due to feeling judged, shamed, or embarrassed.[2] Even worse, creative mortification is when judgment, shame, or embarrassment makes you quit your creative pursuit altogether.

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      When you’re collaborating with others while creative problem solving, you don’t want to shut anyone down. The more people who are actively engaged in the creative process the better.

      In improv, there’s something called “group mind.” The basic idea is that a group can come up with a better solution than any single individual. It makes sense since each person in the group enters the creative process with their own strengths, knowledge, background, experience, and ideas. That means that when the group is working harmoniously, the best contributions of each individual will be reflected in the team’s solution, making that solution far better than what any individual could have come up on their own.

      So, find someone you trust and lay the ground rules for your collaboration. Tell each other that you won’t be judging each other’s work just yet to bring out the best and make it as creative and effective as possible.

      3. Pause

      It can seem counterintuitive to pause during the creative process. But to tap into the creative unconscious parts of your brain, you need to stop forcing it and let your mind wander.

      The part of your brain that you’re using to understand this article right now is not necessarily the part that’s going to come up with the most novel solution to your problem. To start using your creative unconscious brain, you need to take a break.

      Have you ever had that experience of struggling with a problem and then effortlessly figuring it out while you were showering or walking the dog? That’s your unconscious brain doing the heavy lifting.

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      This part of the brain can’t be forced into creative problem solving, so stop consciously obsessing about your problem for a while. Take a walk. Go for a drive. Let your mind wander. Dream. This gives your unconscious mind a chance to sort information and come up with some truly novel solutions.

      The bonus to letting your unconscious take over is that it’s effortless. Conscious thought requires you to burn lots of energy, while unconscious doesn’t. So, stop trying so hard and let ideas come to you.

      4. Refine

      At some point, you’re going to have to start evaluating, eliminating, and refining your ideas to get to the best solution. But if you’ve brainstormed, collaborated, and ruminated enough, you should have plenty of material to work with.

      An Example of Creative Problem Solving

      I think it’s helpful to walk through an example of creative problem-solving in action. Let’s go back to the example of me writing this article.

      First, I was presented with the problem, so I started brainstorming and “Yes, And”-ing myself. I thought about everything I already know about creative problem solving and did some preliminary research, but I still didn’t have a structure or theme to tie my ideas together.

      Once the problem was marinating in my mind, I started talking to people. I talked to an old friend about my initial ideas about the article, but I still didn’t have any words on the page just yet.

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      Then, one morning, the article seemed to come fully formed while I was showering. I could see which examples would work best and how to structure the article. So, I sat down to write and refine the ideas. During the refining stage, I swung back to the collaboration stage when my editor further refined and improved my ideas.

      It’s important to remember that these four stages of creative problem solving aren’t linear. They’re circular. After I refine an idea, I can go back to brainstorming, collaborating, and pausing as needed to develop and improve that idea.

      Bottom Line

      Creative problem solving is, first and foremost, creative. You have to give yourself time and space to be able to reflect and ruminate. It’s also important to collaborate as necessary to improve your ideas with the help of other people.

      The most important thing to keep in mind is that you can’t force creative problem-solving. Forcing it only leads to frustration and failure, so give yourself some time and a team you trust to come up with the best possible solution to your problem.

      More About Creative Problem Solving

      Featured photo credit: Per Lööv via unsplash.com

      Reference

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