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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 January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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