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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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          Last Updated on July 8, 2020

          How to Prevent Decision Fatigue From Clouding Your Judgement

          How to Prevent Decision Fatigue From Clouding Your Judgement

          What is decision fatigue? Let me explain this with an example:

          When determining a court ruling, there are many factors that contribute to their final verdict. You probably assume that the judge’s decision is influenced solely by the nature of the crime committed or the particular laws that were broken. While this is completely valid, there is an even greater influential factor that dictates the judge’s decision: the time of day.

          In 2012, a research team from Columbia University[1] examined 1,112 court rulings set in place by a Parole Board Judge over a 10 month period. The judge would have to determine whether the individuals in question would be released from prison on parole, or a change in the parole terms.

          While the facts of the case often take precedence in decision making, the judges mental state had an alarming influence on their verdict.

          As the day goes on, the chance of a favorable ruling drops:

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            Image source: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

            Does the time of day, or the judges level of hunger really contribute that greatly to their decision making? Yes, it does.

            The research went on to show that at the start of the day the likelihood of the judging giving out a favorable ruling was somewhere around 65%.

            But as the morning dragged on, the judge became fatigued and drained from making decision after decision. As more time went on, the odds of receiving a favorable ruling decreased steadily until it was whittled down to zero.

            However, right after their lunch break, the judge would return to the courtroom feeling refreshed and recharged. Energized by their second wind, their leniency skyrockets back up to a whopping 65%. And again, as the day drags on to its finish, the favorable rulings slowly diminish along with the judge’s spirits.

            This is no coincidence. According to the carefully recorded research, this was true for all 1,112 cases. The severity of the crime didn’t matter. Whether it was rape, murder, theft, or embezzlement, the criminal was more likely to get a favorable ruling either early in the morning, or after the judges lunch break.

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            Are You Suffering from Decision Fatigue Too?

            We all suffer from decision fatigue without even realizing it.

            Perhaps you aren’t a judge with the fate of an individual’s life at your disposal, but the daily decisions you make for yourself could hinder you if you’re not in the right head-space.

            Regardless of how energetic you feel (as I imagine it is somehow caffeine induced anyway), you will still experience decision fatigue. Just like every other muscle, your brain gets tired after periods of overuse, pumping out one decision after the next. It needs a chance to rest in order to function at a productive rate.

            The Detrimental Consequences of Decision Fatigue

            When you are in a position such as a Judge, you can’t afford to let your mental state dictate your decision making; but it still does. According to George Lowenstein, an American educator and economy expert, decision fatigue is to blame for poor decision making among members of high office. The disastrous level of failure among these individuals to control their impulses could be directly related to their day to day stresses at work and their private life.

            When you’re just too tired to think, you stop caring. And once you get careless, that’s when you need to worry. Decision fatigue can contribute to a number of issues such as impulse shopping (guilty), poor decision making at work, and poor decision making with after work relationships. You know what I’m talking about. Don’t dip your pen in the company ink.

            How to Make Decision Effectively

            Either alter the time of decision making to when your mind is the most fresh, or limit the number of decisions to be made. Try utilizing the following hacks for more effective decision making.

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            1. Make Your Most Important Decisions within the First 3 Hours

            You want to make decisions at your peak performance, so either first thing in the morning, or right after a break.

            Research has actually shown that you are the most productive for the first 3 hours[2] of your day. Utilize this time! Don’t waste it on trivial decisions such as what to wear, or mindlessly scrolling through social media.

            Instead, use this time to tweak your game plan. What do you want to accomplish? What can you improve? What steps do you need to take to reach these goals?

            2. Form Habits to Reduce Decision Making

            You don’t have to choose all the time.

            Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but it doesn’t have to be an extravagant spread every morning. Make a habit out of eating a similar or quick breakfast, and cut that step of your morning out of the way. Can’t decide what to wear? Pick the first thing that catches your eye. We both know that after 20 minutes of changing outfits you’ll just go with the first thing anyway.

            Powerful individuals such as Steve Jobs, Barack Obama, and Mark Zuckerberg don’t waste their precious time deciding what to wear. In fact, they have been known to limiting their outfits down to two options in order to reduce their daily decision making.

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            3. Take Frequent Breaks for a Clearer Mind

            You are at your peak of productivity after a break, so to reap the benefits, you need to take lots of breaks! I know, what a sacrifice. If judges make better decisions in the morning and after their lunch break, then so will you.

            The reason for this is because the belly is now full, and the hunger is gone. Roy Baumeister, Florida State University social psychologist[3] had found that low-glucose levels take a negative toll on decision making. By taking a break to replenish your glucose levels, you will be able to focus better and improve your decision making abilities.

            Even if you aren’t hungry, little breaks are still necessary to let your mind refresh, and come back being able to think more clearly.

            Structure your break times. Decide beforehand when you will take breaks, and eat energy sustaining snacks so that your energy level doesn’t drop too low. The time you “lose” during your breaks will be made up in the end, as your productivity will increase after each break.

            So instead of slogging through your day, letting your mind deteriorate and fall victim to the daily abuses of decision making, take a break, eat a snack. Let your mind refresh and reset, and jump-start your productivity throughout the day.

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            Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

            Reference

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