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10 Ways To Reduce Stress And Live A Worry Free Life

10 Ways To Reduce Stress And Live A Worry Free Life

Today, we live in such a fast paced society and there is so much going on around us that is hard not to be stressed out. We have families, friends, taxes, rent and so many other factors we have little control over. When we can, we need to minimize our stress and aid the universe in making life go as smoothly as possible. Here are 5 ways which helped me reduce stress in my life.

stress

    1. Make checklists.

    This will help you take things one step at a time and not overwhelm yourself mentally. When we make mental checklists, we tend to look at the overall picture of all the things we have to do instead of taking it one task at a time. Also, when we cross something off our checklist, we feel a sense of accomplishment and feel even more motivated to tackle the next task. By doing this, we begin to build a positive momentum.

    2. Don’t take the opinions of others to heart.

    The key to living a happy and fulfilling life is being able to be authentically you and do the things that bring you joy. Often, the opinions and judgments of others get in the way of our authenticity. We cannot allow this to happen, as Don Miguel Ruiz points out in The Four Agreements:

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    “Whatever people do, feel, think, or say, don’t take it personally. If they tell you how wonderful you are, they are not saying that because of you. You know you are wonderful. It is not necessary to believe other people who tell you that you are wonderful. Don’t take anything personally.”

    Understanding that whatever people say, think and do are projections of their own reality will take the weight off of the opinions of others. The need to please will only lead into a very stressful life—we will never please everyone.

    3. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

    “The willingness and the courage to face a problem often means identifying and talking about the problem, looking at available resources, identifying solutions and alternatives, and developing a plan of action that works best.”

    Ellwood City Ledger 

    Being able to ask for help is a sign of maturity, not weakness. It is an essential part in developing a plan of action. Many times when we are facing a problem, we are not always seeing things clearly. Asking for help can often show us different way of approaching a problem that we may have never thought of ourselves—there is always something to be learned. Not to mention, having a confidant and someone to help you through a tough situation makes the process a lot less stressful.

    4. Meditate.

    Zen Cat

      Meditation is something that has personally helped me on my journey and has significantly reduced my anxiety and stress levels. Psychology Today posted an article on their website about a study that was done proving that “mindfulness meditation strengthens a person’s cognitive ability to regulate emotions.” The ability to regulate our emotions and maintain a mindful outlook will help us deal with our stress in a much healthier way. Meditation has also opened my mind up to the idea of other forms of relaxation and alternative healing such as hypnosis, which has changed my life! I love challenges like Oprah and Deepak’s 21 day series. Their guided meditations are not too long, easy to listen to and help to get you into the routine of meditating. Check the link out here.

      5. Be patient and embrace the process.

      Every time you feel impatient and restless, try to remind yourself that life is a marathon, not a sprint. We all need to embrace present-moment living more instead of always wanting to be at another place than where we currently are.  The present is the only time that has purpose and meaning right now. When we become impatient and rush through life, we are probably missing out on important lessons and not reaping the full benefits of life.

      6. Don’t compare yourself to others.

      This can be difficult, but we need to keep in mind that we are completely different people than those we are comparing ourselves to—we have completely different perspectives. Comparing ourselves to others will only result in decreased self esteem and increased anxiety.

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      7. Get a therapist!

      therapy

        I am a huge advocate of finding someone who you can speak to in a private, safe place without judgment. It is a completely outside perspective that may result in clarity and insight.

        8. Do something physical and GET MOVING!

        I am not the hugest fan of working out but I realized that there are so many physical activities I could do that are fun such as bike riding, taking a walk with a friend, roller blading, etc. Endorphins are natural pain and stress relievers.  Give it a shot. ;)

        peewee

          9. Practice breathing techniques.

          Rhythmic breathing has been proven to be an effective method for reducing stress and anxiety. There are tons of great books on Kundalini Yoga that will teach you how to get started or look up a studio that teaches Kundalini.  It is totally worth it!

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          10. Practice self care.

          Go get a message.  Watch your favorite movie. Get your nails done. Take a bubble bath.  The options are unlimited, but the idea is to pamper yourself and relax. I am committing to getting a message once a month to force myself and relax and take care of myself.  I think this is a necessary but often pushed to the bottom of the list due to timing, money etc.

          Featured photo credit: Daniela Munoz-Santos via flickr.com

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          The Productivity Paradox: What Is It And How Can We Move Beyond It?

          The Productivity Paradox: What Is It And How Can We Move Beyond It?

          It’s a depressing adage we’ve all heard time and time again: An increase in technology does not necessarily translate to an increase in productivity.

          Put another way by Robert Solow, a Nobel laureate in economics,

          “You can see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity statistics.”

          In other words, just because our computers are getting faster, that doesn’t mean that that we will have an equivalent leap in productivity. In fact, the opposite may be true!

          New York Times writer Matt Richel wrote in an article for the paper back in 2008 that stated, “Statistical and anecdotal evidence mounts that the same technology tools that have led to improvements in productivity can be counterproductive if overused.”

          There’s a strange paradox when it comes to productivity. Rather than an exponential curve, our productivity will eventually reach a plateau, even with advances in technology.

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          So what does that mean for our personal levels of productivity? And what does this mean for our economy as a whole? Here’s what you should know about the productivity paradox, its causes, and what possible solutions we may have to combat it.

          What is the productivity paradox?

          There is a discrepancy between the investment in IT growth and the national level of productivity and productive output. The term “productivity paradox” became popularized after being used in the title of a 1993 paper by MIT’s Erik Brynjolfsson, a Professor of Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and the Director of the MIT Center for Digital Business.

          In his paper, Brynjolfsson argued that while there doesn’t seem to be a direct, measurable correlation between improvements in IT and improvements in output, this might be more of a reflection on how productive output is measured and tracked.[1]

          He wrote in his conclusion:

          “Intangibles such as better responsiveness to customers and increased coordination with suppliers do not always increase the amount or even intrinsic quality of output, but they do help make sure it arrives at the right time, at the right place, with the right attributes for each customer.

          Just as managers look beyond “productivity” for some of the benefits of IT, so must researchers be prepared to look beyond conventional productivity measurement techniques.”

          How do we measure productivity anyway?

          And this brings up a good point. How exactly is productivity measured?

          In the case of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, productivity gain is measured as the percentage change in gross domestic product per hour of labor.

          But other publications such as US Today, argue that this is not the best way to track productivity, and instead use something called Total Factor Productivity (TFP). According to US Today, TFP “examines revenue per employee after subtracting productivity improvements that result from increases in capital assets, under the assumption that an investment in modern plants, equipment and technology automatically improves productivity.”[2]

          In other words, this method weighs productivity changes by how much improvement there is since the last time productivity stats were gathered.

          But if we can’t even agree on the best way to track productivity, then how can we know for certain if we’ve entered the productivity paradox?

          Possible causes of the productivity paradox

          Brynjolfsson argued that there are four probable causes for the paradox:

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          • Mis-measurement – The gains are real but our current measures miss them.
          • Redistribution – There are private gains, but they come at the expense of other firms and individuals, leaving little net gain.
          • Time lags – The gains take a long time to show up.
          • Mismanagement – There are no gains because of the unusual difficulties in managing IT or information itself.

          There seems to be some evidence to support the mis-measurement theory as shown above. Another promising candidate is the time lag, which is supported by the work of Paul David, an economist at Oxford University.

          According to an article in The Economist, his research has shown that productivity growth did not accelerate until 40 years after the introduction of electric power in the early 1880s.[3] This was partly because it took until 1920 for at least half of American industrial machinery to be powered by electricity.”

          Therefore, he argues, we won’t see major leaps in productivity until both the US and major global powers have all reached at least a 50% penetration rate for computer use. The US only hit that mark a decade ago, and many other countries are far behind that level of growth.

          The paradox and the recession

          The productivity paradox has another effect on the recession economy. According to Neil Irwin,[4]

          “Sky-high productivity has meant that business output has barely declined, making it less necessary to hire back laid-off workers…businesses are producing only 3 percent fewer goods and services than they were at the end of 2007, yet Americans are working nearly 10 percent fewer hours because of a mix of layoffs and cutbacks in the workweek.”

          This means that more and more companies are trying to do less with more, and that means squeezing two or three people’s worth of work from a single employee in some cases.

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          According to Irwin, “workers, frightened for their job security, squeezed more productivity out of every hour [in 2010].”

          Looking forward

          A recent article on Slate puts it all into perspective with one succinct observation:

          “Perhaps the Internet is just not as revolutionary as we think it is. Sure, people might derive endless pleasure from it—its tendency to improve people’s quality of life is undeniable. And sure, it might have revolutionized how we find, buy, and sell goods and services. But that still does not necessarily mean it is as transformative of an economy as, say, railroads were.”

          Still, Brynjolfsson argues that mismeasurement of productivity can really skew the results of people studying the paradox, perhaps more than any other factor.

          “Because you and I stopped buying CDs, the music industry has shrunk, according to revenues and GDP. But we’re not listening to less music. There’s more music consumed than before.

          On paper, the way GDP is calculated, the music industry is disappearing, but in reality it’s not disappearing. It is disappearing in revenue. It is not disappearing in terms of what you should care about, which is music.”

          Perhaps the paradox isn’t a death sentence for our productivity after all. Only time (and perhaps improved measuring techniques) will tell.

          Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

          Reference

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