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Managing Stress in Daily Life

Managing Stress in Daily Life
Stress

    How many people do you meet who complain of being totally stressed out and tired all the time? Do you also feel that you are tired and fatigued most of the times and do not have time for yourself?

    In this fast paced life, one of the highest complaints that people have is about the fact that they are tensed or disturbed about some thing or the other. The cause of stress could be deadlines at work, finances to pay the bills, catching up with colleagues in terms of lifestyle or a tense relationship at home.

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    Though it has been agreed by all experts that a certain amount of stress is required to add that little bit of spice to life and also to enable you to perform to the best of your capabilities, prolonged levels of high stress can cause physiological and mental issues. It can manifest itself in illnesses like recurrent headaches, upset stomach, rashes, ulcers, sleeplessness, high blood pressure and heart related ailments.

    But given that there is merit in a certain amount of merit the idea is not to get rid of stress completely. Which is why in most of the information that you read, people talk about ‘stress management’ and not ‘stress elimination’.

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    The first step towards managing your stress levels better is to be cognizant of the various stimuli that that stress you. These could be situations, environments, people or expectation. This initial part of managing stress is of extreme importance since there are different things that stress different people. Some people can work well under pressure and a structured and less challenging environment may cause them frustration. And then there are others who prefer to work in a company that has a process orientation. There could also be certain people who criticize you whenever you meet them and so an impending meeting could also be the cause of stress.

    Once you have identified your stress situations and people, you need to think about whether you can change the stimulus or not. For example, if your stressor is a close relative of yours, you may not be able to avoid meeting them completely. But you may be in a position to limit them to only family gatherings that may happen only a couple of times a year. If your boss at the workplace stresses you out, there may be no way in which you can avoid him on a daily basis.

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    When such a situation occurs, you should then try and evaluate if you can check your response towards the stress-causing stimuli. If your uncle is bent upon criticizing your business ventures and harps about the lack of success that you have had, you can choose to ignore the comment rather than trying to rationalize your attempts vehemently.

    Trying to change your response may not be an easy thing to do if you feel strongly about something. But this is where changing your perspective helps. Take one step back and look at the whole situation from another person’s point of view. Does it really matter whether your uncle thinks highly of your ventures? Is it so important that you try and please every person whom you meet? Expecting the moon from yourself is also not a fair thing to do. No one is perfect and each person has his or her own faults. Rather it is more prudent to be practical and expect what is possible and achievable. If you set goals that are too high to be achieved, there is bound to be frustration and stress. And even then, if you feel you have the ability to achieve the goals that you have set for yourself, give yourself time to achieve them. Minor setbacks on the way are inevitable and these should not be considered as setbacks but stepping-stones to success.

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    Lastly, if you are already stressed out due to some reason or the other try some of the relaxation techniques. Some of the various techniques that you can try out are

    • Correct breathing
    • Taking time out
    • Listening to music
    • Yoga
    • Laughter therapy
    • Meditation
    • Acupuncture and acupressure
    • Progressive relaxation
    • Exercise and stretching techniques
    • Self-suggestion
    • Diet management
    • Massage

    Last but not the least, try and be around people who are happy and jovial all the time. If you spend time with people who have a negative perspective towards life, you are also likely to find that you are cribbing all the time. But appreciate the gifts that have been bestowed on you and look at life in a more carefree way and you will realize that suddenly life has actually become carefree and easy.

    Vishal P. Rao shares his insights and tips on stress management at Relishing Life.

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    Last Updated on October 15, 2019

    Is Procrastination Bad? The Truth About Procrastination Revealed

    Is Procrastination Bad? The Truth About Procrastination Revealed

    Procrastination is very literally the opposite of productivity. To produce something is to pull it forward, while to procrastinate is to push it forward — to tomorrow, to next week, or ultimately to never.

    Procrastination fills us with shame — we curse ourselves for our laziness, our inability to focus on the task at hand, our tendency to be easily led into easier and more immediate gratifications. And with good reason: for the most part, time spent procrastinating is time spent not doing things that are, in some way or other, important to us.

    There is a positive side to procrastination, but it’s important not to confuse procrastination at its best with everyday garden-variety procrastination.

    Sometimes — sometimes! — procrastination gives us the time we need to sort through a thorny issue or to generate ideas. In those rare instances, we should embrace procrastination — even as we push it away the rest of the time.

    Why we procrastinate after all

    We procrastinate for a number of reasons, some better than others. One reason we procrastinate is that, while we know what we want to do, we need time to let the ideas “ferment” before we are ready to sit down and put them into action.

    Some might call this “creative faffing”; I call it, following copywriter Ray Del Savio’s lead, “concepting”.[1]

    Whatever you choose to call it, it’s the time spent dreaming up what you want to say or do, weighing ideas in your mind, following false leads and tearing off on mental wild goose chases, and generally thinking things through.

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    To the outside observer, concepting looks like… well, like nothing much at all. Maybe you’re leaning back in your chair, feet up, staring at the wall or ceiling, or laying in bed apparently dozing, or looking out over the skyline or feeding pigeons in the park or fiddling with the Japanese vinyl toys that stand watch over your desk.

    If ideas are the lifeblood of your work, you have to make time for concepting, and you have to overcome the sensation— often overpowering in our work-obsessed culture — that faffing, however creative, is not work.

    So, is procrastination bad?

    Yes it is.

    Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you’re “concepting” when in fact you’re just not sure what you’re supposed to be doing.

    Spending an hour staring at the wall while thinking up the perfect tagline for a marketing campaign is creative faffing; staring at the wall for an hour because you don’t know how to come up with a tagline, or don’t know the product you’re marketing well enough to come up with one, is just wasting time.

    Lack of definition is perhaps the biggest friend of your procrastination demons. When we’re not sure what to do — whether because we haven’t planned thoroughly enough, we haven’t specified the scope of what we hope to accomplish in the immediate present, or we lack important information, skills, or resources to get the job done.

    It’s easy to get distracted or to trick ourselves into spinning our wheels doing nothing. It takes our mind off the uncomfortable sensation of failing to make progress on something important.

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    The answer to this is in planning and scheduling. Rather than giving yourself an unspecified length of time to perform an unspecified task (“Let’s see, I guess I’ll work on that spreadsheet for a while”) give yourself a limited amount of time to work on a clearly defined task (“Now I’ll enter the figures from last months sales report into the spreadsheet for an hour”).

    Giving yourself a deadline, even an artificial one, helps build a sense of urgency and also offers the promise of time to “screw around” later, once more important things are done.

    For larger projects, planning plays a huge role in whether or not you’ll spend too much time procrastinating to reach the end reasonably quickly.

    A good plan not only lists the steps you have to take to reach the end, but takes into account the resources, knowledge and inputs from other people you’re going to need to perform those steps.

    Instead of futzing around doing nothing because you don’t have last month’s sales report, getting the report should be a step in the project.

    Otherwise, you’ll spend time cooling your heels, justifying your lack of action as necessary: you aren’t wasting time because you want to, but because you have to.

    How bad procrastination can be

    Our mind can often trick us into procrastinating, often to the point that we don’t realize we’re procrastinating at all.

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    After all, we have lots and lots of things to do; if we’re working on something, aren’t we being productive – even if the one big thing we need to work on doesn’t get done?

    One way this plays out is that we scan our to-do list, skipping over the big challenging projects in favor of the short, easy projects. At the end of the day, we feel very productive: we’ve crossed twelve things off our list!

    That big project we didn’t work on gets put onto the next day’s list, and when the same thing happens, it gets moved forward again. And again.

    Big tasks often present us with the problem above – we aren’t sure what to do exactly, so we look for other ways to occupy ourselves.

    In many cases too, big tasks aren’t really tasks at all; they’re aggregates of many smaller tasks. If something’s sitting on your list for a long time, each day getting skipped over in favor of more immediately doable tasks, it’s probably not very well thought out.

    You’re actively resisting it because you don’t really know what it is. Try to break it down into a set of small tasks, something more like the tasks you are doing in place of the one big task you aren’t doing.

    More consequences of procrastination can be found in this article:

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    8 Dreadful Effects of Procrastination That Can Destroy Your Life

    Procrastination, a technical failure

    Procrastination is, more often than not, a sign of a technical failure, not a moral failure.

    It’s not because we’re bad people that we procrastinate. Most times, procrastination serves as a symptom of something more fundamentally wrong with the tasks we’ve set ourselves.

    It’s important to keep an eye on our procrastinating tendencies, to ask ourselves whenever we notice ourselves pushing things forward what it is about the task we’ve set ourselves that simply isn’t working for us.

    Featured photo credit: chuttersnap via unsplash.com

    Reference

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