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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 March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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