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25 Simple but Powerful Things You Can Do to Reduce Stress and Anxiety

25 Simple but Powerful Things You Can Do to Reduce Stress and Anxiety

Too much stress and anxiety can lead to serious health problems, such as high blood pressure, panic, heart palpations, and can even lead to stroke. These are all the result of what doctors term “bad stress.” Try some of these simple but powerful tips to reduce your stress and anxiety.

25. Rock out. Listen to any kind of music that you find soothing.

24. Call someone you know who will listen to your day.

23. Give yourself a pep talk. Remember that the situation is temporary.

22. Pick up a carrot stick and chew away. In other words, eat something but make sure it’s healthy.

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21. Chew some gum.

20. Have a laugh. Sure the situation you are in isn’t laughable, but it really does help to laugh even at yourself. This is when calling a friend may be particularly useful, to help you find the humor in the situation.

19. Get outside and take a walk. While walking just enjoy the scenery. Decide that later is a real good time to do any worrying.

18. Decide to worry about the problem later. All you have to do is make the decision to make time for worrying later.

17. Fix a hot cup of green tea. Use a natural sweetener, like honey, and sip away. Chamomile is also a natural soother; try some before bed or when you need a good dose of loving kindness for yourself.

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16. Find a mediation exercise. There are many available on YouTube. Take a few minutes, close your eyes and be soothed by the sounds of nature or a chant.

15. Stand up and stretch it out. Take your time and really stretch your muscles. Stand up and stretch your leg and hip muscles.

14. Give yourself a massage. Rub out the stress you may be holding in your neck and shoulders.

13. Tense and relax your muscles, from your toes, to your abdomen, to your arms, and finish with the neck muscles.  Remember to do some deep breathing.

12. Follow a strict sleep routine. Experts still say that a full seven to eight hours are needed for a good night’s sleep. When your sleep pattern is disrupted, it can lead to higher stress levels during the day.

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11. Take a breather. Inhale deeply, hold for five seconds and then breathe out slowly.

10. Use a warm wrap to ease stressed muscles, especially in the neck.

9. Find something to be thankful for. Researchers say that concentrating on something good in your life reduces stress and anxiety tremendously.

7. Relax the neck muscles, right at your desk, with some head rolls and shoulder shrugs. Reach up and stretch your arms, if you are stuck in a cubicle all day.

6. Start a private journal–one that is either electronic or hand-written. Either way, take at least 10 minutes a day to write it out. Some psychologists recommend having more than one journal. Get in the habit of jotting down the good things you see and feel.

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5. Make a point of celebrating your accomplishments. Go ahead and give yourself compliments for a job well done. Save up some money to treat yourself to a special treat. You deserve it.

4. Sing along to your favorite tunes. Belt out your feelings while driving or in the shower.

3. Try looking at your situation from someone else’s perspective. For example, go ahead and talk the situation out with yourself, you might just end up with a smile on your face.

2. Instead of focusing on the future or the past, try to stay in the moment. Doctors call this being “mindful.”

1. Get up and do something besides worrying. Worry does the body and its defenses absolutely no good.

Featured photo credit: Common Kingfisher Relaxing/Vinc3PaulS via commons.wikimedia.org

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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.

    More Tips About Decision Making

    Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

    Reference

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