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7 Simple Ways to Lower Your Stress in 15 Minutes or Less

7 Simple Ways to Lower Your Stress in 15 Minutes or Less

Everyone feels overwhelmed and stressed sometimes.

  • Maybe you have a family situation that needs extra time and attention.
  • Maybe you have a particular co-worker that just somehow grates on your very last nerve.
  • Maybe you are ill or some you love is ill.

So what can you do when you feel angry, overwhelmed and stressed about the things you really have little control over?

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I believe that if you add preventative stress management into your daily lifestyle you can more easily control how you handle your reaction to the stressful situations that crop up.

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I would like to say that you can eliminate stress completely — but I can’t. However, there is a lot you can do to prepare yourself so when you are faced with these situations you can handle them with grace, an inner calm, and compassion.

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Follow these simple steps to invite peace and harmony into your life:

  1. Exercise. One way to work off stress and anxiety is to get moving. You can join a gym, work out in your bedroom or garage, or just take a walk. It’s a great way to get your endorphins going and feel happier.  You can also try exercising together with your family. One of the benefits of exercising together is that you’ll all feel calmer afterward. When you’re all de-stressed together, you can help one another through issues. To help you get started with exercising: How to Be Healthy and Lose Fat: The 3 Minute HIT Health Hack That Helps Burn Fat
  2. Smile. Smiling and laughing is one of the best ways to instantly lighten your mood.  A good joke with a friend, a good movie with your partner or just smiling at the sun shine.
  3. Listen to music. Try doing something mentally soothing to keep stress at bay. Music is one of the best ways to relax and de-stress, and it’s popular with people of all ages, income levels, and other factors. Pick the music you like; it’s usually more effective, though, when you choose something quiet. Listen to music that makes you feel rested and calm.  Try several different musical styles – you’ll know when you’re listening to something that works for you. And once you’ve located it, you can listen whenever you need to for a calming break.
  4. Read. Reading is also a good way to de-stress. Choose a lighthearted book that’s comical, romantic, or otherwise makes you feel good. You can also read a religious or spiritual book if you’re so inclined. Any book that gives a good, positive message about the world or the people in it can help you feel better and be more relaxed. Courtney has compiled a great list of books: 10 Must-Reads to Tap Into Your True Potential
  5. Visualization. Picture an idyllic and peaceful scene, such as a meadow or a beach, and use all of your senses. Do you smell jasmine in the air? Can you hear the birds singing and feel the light breeze on your skin? Your body can’t tell the difference between a thought and a real event, so bring your peaceful scene to mind the next time you’re feeling anxious. You can visualize the stress flowing out of your body or running off your back like water. You can visualize growing roots, just like an old oak tree, you can feel the stress draining into the earth and being absorbed my mother nature.
  6. Be grateful. When you’re feeling stressed, try counting your blessings. Write them down in a gratitude journal. There is always something you can be thankful for… sometimes it is as simple as waking up. Think about all the things that are good in your life.  When you focus on gratitude, you’ll also see more of the good in your life. When you think negatively, it’s easier to feel angry and stressed. Positive thinking, on the other hand, helps diffuse your anger and brings you more good things to feel good about!
  7. Breathe. When you are caught up in those really strong emotions that come with stress and overwhelm, take a moment to take a few slow, deep breaths. This action has multiple benefits. When you breathe deeply, it sends extra oxygen to your brain for clarity of thought and relaxes your muscles. It also gives you a moment to take a mental step back and look at the bigger picture.

When you give yourself time to think first, you’re much less likely to lash out, either verbally or physically. You can then approach the issue feeling calmer. By using the tools suggested here to help you stay positive, you can get a handle on your stress and enjoy greater happiness in your life.

Inspired Actions

Take just one idea, add 15 minutes, and feel your stress winding down. Leave a comment below to let me know how it went.

(Photo credit: Portrait of Sadness and Stress via Shutterstock)

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Last Updated on December 2, 2018

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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Review Your Past Flow

Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

    Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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