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4 Simple Steps to Lift Your Dark Cloud of Stress

4 Simple Steps to Lift Your Dark Cloud of Stress


    Is there a dark cloud over your head?  Do you find it hard to get out from under the feeling of “always being behind the eight-ball?”  Do you want to see the sun again?  Do you want to feel contentment and happiness in your life?

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    The hustle and bustle of everyday life can really create a dark cloud over  (and even around) you. This dark cloud weights you down, it leaves you feeling “crazed” and always behind. This dark cloud can start impacting your health, happiness and relationships.

    While I don’t believe that you can eliminate stress from your life completely, I do believe there is a lot more we can do to reduce it.  There is not a “one size fits all” solution either — you need to find the strategy that works best for you.  Maybe even combine one or more strategies together and make a game of it.

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    Here are some strategies that I use to help banish my daily stress. Give them a try…I believe you will find them to be very helpful:

    1. Support Systems. If you’re constantly running on empty, your mind, body, and soul will suffer the repercussions of your tenacity. There’s no shame in asking for a helping hand. Sometimes, you’ll be able lean on a spouse, coworker, or friend, but other times you may have to hire help.  Start with having a discussion with your partner or family and see if you can brainstorm a way to share the chores around the house. Even just taking turns cooking dinner is helpful.
    1. Self Care. What do you enjoy doing? Knitting, relaxing in a bubble bath, drawing, lounging in bed watching reruns of Grey’s Anatomy? Indulge yourself in your favorite restful activity a few times each week. Carving out a few hours each weekend to indulge in your favorite lazy activity. Choose at least one weeknight to relax after work. Start with a walk outside. I know you might need your sunglasses because you have been under that dark cloud for so long. But trust me — there is sunshine, fresh air, beautiful things to look at out there!
    1. Simplify life. Simplify your routines, your commitments, your information intake, your cluttered rooms, and have less stress as a result.  Identify those things that are most important in your life…and then get rid of the rest.  It may not be quite that easy, but you can certainly start somewhere with this idea.  Think of just one thing that has been bothering you that you can remove and do it.  Once you start with one, you will see a ray of sunlight.
    1. Meditation. With meditation we can learn to transform our minds from chaos to calm. And it is really not as hard as you might think. My favourite meditation is a “Breathing Meditation”. It is simple and you can do it anywhere. Sit in any comfortable position, with your eyes partially closed. Now breathe. Just breathe normally through your nose. Notice how your body moves and what the air feels like. If your mind wanders, just bring it back to your breath. Even just practicing this for two minutes a day will add another ray of sunlight. (If you’re looking for a more in-depth look at meditation, check out Lifehack’s Mindfulness Meditation Mini Guide.)

    Sometime stress seems like it is a normal part of life, but it doesn’t have to be that way if you’re willing to put your sanity and happiness first. Most of the time there’s a simple fix to the challenges that are causing you stress. Simply adjust the way you perceive the issues and how you address them.

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    Small simple steps on a daily basis will create a huge momentum in your life and you will feel the dark clouds life away and the warm breath of the sunshine on your skin.

    (Photo credit: Businessman Dark Portrait via Shutterstock)

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    Last Updated on December 2, 2019

    10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

    10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

    Plato knew that the body and mind are intimately linked. And in the late 1800s, the Mayo brothers, famous physicians, estimated that over half of all hospital beds are filled with people suffering from frustration, anxiety, worry and despair. Causes of worry are everywhere, in our relationships and our jobs, so it’s key we find ways to take charge of the stress.

    In his classic book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, Dale Carnegie offers tools to ditch excessive worrying that help you make a worry-free environment for your private and professional life.

    These are the top 10 tips to grab worry by the horns and wrestle it to the ground:

    1. Make Your Decision and Never Look Back

    Have you ever made a decision in life only to second-guess it afterwards? Of course you have! It’s hard not to wonder whether you’ve done the right thing and whether there might still be time to take another path.

    But keep this in mind: you’ve already made your decision, so act decisively on it and dismiss all your anxiety about it.

    Don’t stop to hesitate, to reconsider, or to retrace your steps. Once you’ve chosen a course of action, stick to it and never waver.

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    2. Live for Today, Package Things up in “Day-Tight Compartments”

    You know that feeling: tossing, turning and worrying over something that happened or something that might, well into the wee hours. To avoid this pointless worrying, you need “day-tight compartments”. Much as a ship has different watertight compartments, your own “day-tight” ones are a way to limit your attention to the present day.

    The rule is simple: whatever happened in the past or might happen in the future must not intrude upon today. Everything else has to wait its turn for tomorrow’s box or stay stuck in the past.

    3. Embrace the Worst-Case Scenario and Strategize to Offset It

    If you’re worried about something, ask yourself: “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” Could you lose your job? Be jailed? Get killed?

    Whatever the “worst” might be, it’s probably not so world-ending. You could probably even bounce back from it!

    If, for example, you lose your job, you could always find another. Once you accept the worst-case scenario and get thinking about contingency plans, you’ll feel calmer.

    4. Put a Lid on Your Worrying

    Sometimes we stress endlessly about negative experiences when just walking away from them would serve us far better.

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    To make squashing that worry easier, try this strategy, straight from stock traders: it’s called the “stop-loss” order, where shares are bought at a certain price, and then their price development is observed. If things go badly and the share price hits a certain point, they are sold off immediately. This stops the loss from increasing further.

    In the same manner, you can put a stop-loss order on things that cause you stress and grief.

    5. Fake It ‘Til You Make It – Happiness, That Is

    We can’t directly influence how we feel, but we can nudge ourselves to change through how we think and act.

    If you’re feeling sad or low, slap a big grin on your face and whistle a chipper tune. You’ll find it impossible to be blue when acting cheerful. But you don’t necessarily need to act outwardly happy; you can simply think happier thoughts instead.

    Marcus Aurelius summed it up aptly:

    “Our life is what our thoughts make it.”

    6. Give for the Joy of Giving

    When we perform acts of kindness, we often do so with the expectation of gratitude. But harboring such expectations will probably leave you disappointed.

    One person well aware of this fact was the lawyer Samuel Leibowitz. Over the course of his career, Leibowitz saved 78 people from going to the electric chair. Guess how many thanked him? None.

    So stop expecting gratitude when you’re kind to someone. Instead, take joy from the act yourself.

    7. Dump Envy – Enjoy Being Uniquely You

    Your genes are completely unique. Even if someone had the same parents as you, the likelihood of someone identical to you being born is just one in 300,000 billion.

    Despite this amazing fact, many of us long to be someone else, thinking the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. But living your life this way is pointless. Embrace your uniqueness and get comfortable with who you really are: How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

    8. Haters Will Hate — It Just Means You’re Doing It Right

    When you’re criticized, it often means you’re accomplishing something noteworthy. In fact, let’s take it a step further and consider this: the more you’re criticized, the more influential and important a person you likely are.

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    So the next time somebody talks you down, don’t let it get to you. Take it as a compliment!

    9. Chill Out! Learn to Rest Before You Get Tired

    Scientists agree that emotions are the most common cause of fatigue. And it works the other way around, too: fatigue produces more worries and negative emotions.

    It should be clear, therefore, that you’ve got to relax regularly before you feel tired. Otherwise, worries and fatigue will accumulate on top of each other.

    It’s impossible to worry when you are relaxed, and regular rest helps you maintain your ability to work effectively.

    10. Get Organized and Enjoy Your Work

    There are few greater sources of misery in life than having to work, day in, day out, in a job you despise. It would make sense then that you shouldn’t pick a job you hate, or even just dislike doing.

    But say you already have a job. How can you make it more enjoyable and worry-free? One way is to stay organized: a desk full of unanswered mails and memos is sure to breed worries.

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    Better yet, rethink about the job you’re doing: What to Do When You Hate Your Job but Want a Successful Career

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    Featured photo credit: Tyler Nix via unsplash.com

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