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Five Quirky Ways to Reduce Stress

Five Quirky Ways to Reduce Stress

Stress is a major problem in today’s fast-paced and busy society. Almost everyone seems to be stacked with back to back appointments, time-constraints, and overly-demanding lifestyles that can render the body’s coping strategies ineffective. However, it must taken into consideration that stress is not altogether a bad thing; as a matter of fact, it can even be a motivating and potentially a life-saving force.

Stress can only pose risks when it becomes uncontrolled and chronic.The detrimental effects of this type of stress on your health and life in general are numerous. Among the most are stress-related health conditions are: hypertension, heart attack, stroke, ulcer, infertility and depression.

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If you want to avoid these potentially life-threatening conditions, you should make the effort to keep your stress within manageable levels, and while there are a lot of stress-reducing techniques out there, I would like to share with you some of the simplest and underused yet effective techniques to reduce stress:

Slow down.

Changing the pace of your usually frantic and frazzled day can do wonders to your stress levels. Make a conscious effort to both walk and talk more slowly, and drive at a slower pace. You may think that slowing things down can cause you to fall behind your tasks and responsibilities but studies have actually showed that doing things at a relaxed pace leads to better performance and higher productivity, as it gives you the chance to think things through thoroughly; thereby, you are likely to come to more well-rounded and fleshed-out decisions.

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Go on a noise diet.

Recent studies have validated the assertion that noise aggravates stress. Several studies have revealed that distracting noise and unpleasant sounds have the ability to stimulate the release of the body’s stress hormones. This shouldn’t be too hard to understand as all of us must have experienced how nerve-racking it is to be in a noisy environment—whether in the home, in the workplace or in public places. However, as much as we would like to have a calmer, more toned-down environment, it is just not going to happen, especially if you are living in the city. So, the next best thing to do is to go on a sound diet. Simply, this means balancing annoying noise with healthier sounds—counter unpleasant noises with white noise or calming sounds. Great ideas include installing a table-top water fountain at your office, opt for noise-cancelling headphones and have regular noise detox sessions by visiting a nearby park or zen garden.

Get a massage.

Among the initial symptoms of chronic stress is muscle tension, where muscles tighten up, around your neck, shoulders and back. The rhythmic kneading, rubbing and stroking of your muscles during a massage stimulate circulation, provide warmth and reduce muscular flaccidity. Recent studies have also showed that massage increases levels of stress-relieving hormones serotonin, dopamine and oxytocin.

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Clean your home.

You may not have initially thought of the chore of house cleaning as an effective stress-reliever, but believe me it works wonders. Cleaning your house can get you busy and take your mind off the things that are causing you to feel stressed. By giving you a form of physical activity, it is also a great way to blow off steam and get some endorphins pumped into your system. And ultimately, there is nothing more relaxing than walking into a clean and clutter-free home.

Breathe.

When you are stressed, your breathing tends to be fast and shallow. This type of breathing pattern, when prolonged, tends to cause even more anxiety. Learning to control how you breathe can greatly help you lower your stress levels instantly. You will need to breathe slowly and deeply to combat anxiety and elicit a relaxation response. Whenever you are stressed out, take notice of how you are breathing and take control of it.

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Last Updated on February 15, 2019

Why Is Goal Setting Important to a Truly Fulfilling Life?

Why Is Goal Setting Important to a Truly Fulfilling Life?

In Personal Development-speak, we are always talking about goals, outcomes, success, desires and dreams. In other words, all the stuff we want to do, achieve and create in our world.

And while it’s important for us to know what we want to achieve (our goal), it’s also important for us to understand why we want to achieve it; the reason behind the goal or some would say, our real goal.

Why is goal setting important?

1. Your needs and desire will be fulfilled.

Sometimes when we explore our “why”, (why we want to achieve a certain thing) we realize that our “what” (our goal) might not actually deliver us the thing (feeling, emotion, internal state) we’re really seeking.

For example, the person who has a goal to lose weight in the belief that weight loss will bring them happiness, security, fulfillment, attention, popularity and the partner of their dreams. In this instance, their “what” is weight-loss and their “why” is happiness (etc.) and a partner.

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Six months later, they have lost the weight (achieved their goal) but as is often the case, they’re not happier, not more secure, not more confident, not more fulfilled and in keeping with their miserable state, they have failed to attract their dream partner.

After all, who wants to be with someone who’s miserable? They achieved their practical goal but still failed to have their needs met.

So they set a goal to lose another ten pounds. And then another. And maybe just ten more. With the destructive and erroneous belief that if they can get thin enough, they’ll find their own personal nirvana. And we all know how that story ends.

2. You’ll find out what truly motivates you

The important thing in the process of constructing our best life is not necessarily what goals we set (what we think we want) but what motivates us towards those goals (what we really want).

The sooner we begin to explore, identify and understand what motivates us towards certain achievements, acquisitions or outcomes (that is, we begin moving towards greater consciousness and self awareness), the sooner we will make better decisions for our life, set more intelligent (and dare I say, enlightened) goals and experience more fulfilment and less frustration.

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We all know people who have achieved what they set out to, only to end up in the same place or worse (emotionally, psychologically, sociologically) because what they were chasing wasn’t really what they were needing.

What we think we want will rarely provide us with what we actually need.

3. Your state of mind will be a lot healthier

We all set specific goals to achieve/acquire certain things (a job, a car, a partner, a better body, a bank balance, a title, a victory) because at some level, most of us believe (consciously or not) that the achievement of those goals will bring us what we really seek; joy, fulfilment, happiness, safety, peace, recognition, love, acceptance, respect, connection.

Of course, setting practical, material and financial goals is an intelligent thing to do considering the world we live in and how that world works.

But setting goals with an expectation that the achievement of certain things in our external, physical world will automatically create an internal state of peace, contentment, joy and total happiness is an unhealthy and unrealistic mindset to inhabit.

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What you truly want and need

Sometimes we need to look beyond the obvious (superficial) goals to discover and secure what we really want.

Sadly, we live in a collective mindset which teaches that the prettiest and the wealthiest are the most successful.

Some self-help frauds even teach this message. If you’re rich or pretty, you’re happy. If you’re both, you’re very happy. Pretty isn’t what we really want; it’s what we believe pretty will bring us. Same goes with money.

When we cut through the hype, the jargon and the self-help mumbo jumbo, we all have the same basic goals, desires and needs:

Joy, fulfilment, happiness, safety, peace, recognition, love, acceptance, respect, connection.

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Nobody needs a mansion or a sport’s car but we all need love.

Nobody needs massive pecs, six percent body-fat, a face lift or bigger breasts but we all need connection, acceptance and understanding.

Nobody needs to be famous but we all need peace, calm, balance and happiness.

The problem is, we live in a culture which teaches that one equals the other. If only we lived in a culture which taught that real success is far more about what’s happening in our internal environment, than our external one.

It’s a commonly-held belief that we’re all very different and we all have different goals — whether short term or long term goals. But in many ways we’re not, and we don’t; we all want essentially the same things.

Now all you have to do is see past the fraud and deception and find the right path.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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