“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
Go, go, go. Whatever you’re doing, you’re probably already behind. There’s so much to do in life, so much to accomplish. We have to climb the corporate ladder, make our relationships work, build families, see friends, fulfill obligations, and still function as a human being.
With modern demands, life is exhausting. It seems like when one area of your life gets squared away, the other shoe drops on the see-saw, and we’re thrown back out of balance.Advertising
So how do you take Bueller’s infamous advice and slow down enough to smell the proverbial roses? Try these 10 techniques.
1. Take responsibility.
Despite our laundry list of have-to’s, there’s actually nothing we have to do, only things we choose to do. So take responsibility and recognize that you’re choosing to job to work, see your friends or finish this project. Maybe the consequences of skipping out are less appealing than just getting it done, but recognize that the speed of your life is your choice.
2. Power down and unplug.
Anyone who’s ever responded to e-mails while watching a movie or checked Facebook while in bed with a significant other knows that technology is the fastest way to pull yourself out of the present moment. Set aside a mandatory power-down time. Maybe it’s after 8pm or for a few hours on Sunday. Whatever you choose, take some time to remember what it’s like to be in the moment without technology pulling you back to fast-paced cyber addiction.Advertising
3. Refuel your energy.
When you’re on the go all the time, you’re bound to get burnt out. So take some time to refuel your tank with some restorative exercise. Yoga, Tai Chi and Qigong are all wonderful, gentle ways to recharge those batteries. But even a 20-minute jog or bike ride will boost your energy just enough to get you through the day. Find an exercise that takes you out of the fast lane and brings you back in balance.
4. Spend some time alone.
Amidst the constant chatter of distractions and stress, you can hardly hear yourself think. Schedule in a few hours a day to be alone. Maybe some meditation or journal writing. Maybe a night in with take-out and cheesy movies. Whatever your luxury, choose something that will help you reconnect with yourself and reset your priorities.
5. Get more selective.
Let’s face it: we’re overcommitters. All of us. Instead of saying yes to every opportunity that comes your way, take a moment to imagine yourself coming home for a long, tiring day of work. If this is still something you want to do, then sign up. But, if not, learn how to say no. Part of the reason our lives move so fast is that we try to pack a week’s worth of activities into a single day. Saying “no” is the fastest way to slow it back down.Advertising
6. Catch some Z’s.
People who slow down tend to be more productive and accomplished–because they’re able to be fully present when they take on a task. Give yourself the eight hours of sleep you need a night to make sure your in prime productivity mode during your waking hours. If you spend a few extra hours in bed, time will seem to double during waking hours because you can get so much more done.
7. Be grateful.
Start a gratitude journal and write down everything you’re grateful for. It will force you to immediately slow down, reflect and shift from focusing on what’s wrong to focusing on what’s right. Finding balance isn’t about changing the chaos; it’s about finding balance in the chaos.
8. Catch your breath.
Breathing deeply activates the parasympathetic nervous system and switches you from the fight-or-flight panic into the rest-and-digest relaxation. Any time you want to slow down, take a few slow, deep breaths. It will calm your body down and bring you back to the present moment.Advertising
9. Make time for fun.
If you want to slow down, stop trying so hard to move forward. Life isn’t meant to be a road race. Try doing things that don’t necessary move you forward, but make you have a little more fun. Play hooky and go to the movies, play a round of golf, laugh with old friends, watch silly movies. Remind yourself that it’s not about who finishes first; it’s about how much fun you had along the way.
10. Be in the moment.
Be 100% present. Listen intently when anyone is speaking. Forget about the obligations you have in 20 minutes or all of the tasks on your to-do list. Just focus yourself completely in the present moment. Life isn’t about finding balance throughout; it’s about slowing down enough to find balance in individual moments. So take life one moment at a time. 100% present.
Featured photo credit: Wichid via flickr.com
Last Updated on December 9, 2019
5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively
Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it, plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!
Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.
Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:
1. Get Rationally Optimistic
Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.
This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.
In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”
The result: no more mental stress.
Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.
How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.
It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.
Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.
3. Easy on the Caffeine
Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.
Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.
4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door
That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.
How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:
- Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
- St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
- Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.
While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.
5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise
This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.
The result: mental stress will be gone!
So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.
More to Help You Feel Relaxed
- The Importance of Scheduling Downtime
- 3 Deep Breathing Exercises to Relax and Reduce Stress
- How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressed
Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com