Today, I want to talk about my techniques for reducing stress.
What Causes Stress?
“There is more to life than increasing its speed.” – Mahatma Gandhi
Stress is emotional or physical tension. Symptoms of emotional and physical pressure include feeling distracted, restless, or ill. Furthermore, stress is your body’s natural reaction to a challenge, demand, or struggle.
However, not all tension is bad for you. Remember that stress is designed to remind you how delicate, valuable, and meaningful life is. For example, feeling stressed before a big job interview is rational. Your interview is important, and you should want to succeed. Your body is trying to remind you to remain focused, and this reminder comes across as stress.
However, long stretches of anxiety will ruin your health. Stress tenses your mind and body by pumping you full of chemicals, such as cortisol. These chemicals are meant to help you focus, so you can better deal with danger. Unfortunately, if these chemicals are always on, your body will be in an unnatural and unhealthy high. This constant high comes with a lack of focus, increased aggression, and harmful short-term thinking. Thus, being continually stress is not suitable for your health or personal success.
Common causes of long-term stress
- Fear of the unknown
- Lacking stability
- Not having control over one’s life
- Avoiding responsibility
- Obsession with things we cannot change
- Overconsumption of media
- Associating with destructive people and ideas
- Pessimistic mindset
- Being busy and overworked
- Not finding time to relax
Today, we will cover the best ways to over chronic stress. Through this quick guide, I hope to help you bury your anxiety and start living a healthier life.
How To Reduce Stress, How To Avoid Stress, and How To Live A Calmer Life
Reducing emotional and physical pressure is challenging yet doable. However, you can’t eliminate stress. Thus, you need to learn how to manage your anxiety. Luckily, the more you can manage stress, the better control you will have over your life.
A few benefits of reducing stress include:
- The less you stress about, the clearer your mind can be.
- Reduced stress means your body isn’t pumping you full of chemicals.
- Less anxiety means fewer destructive coping methods, such as overeating or compulsive shopping.
- The techniques you use to reduce stress will help you in other areas of your life.
1. Reduce Stress By Setting Realistic, Achievable Goals
“It is in fact the height of selfishness to merely consume what others create and to retreat into a shell of limited goals and immediate pleasures.” – Robert Greene
How and why you create goals will define your life. Unrealistic, immoral, self-centered, and counterproductive goals will create anxiety. Why? Because stress comes from living a subpar life where you seek what is easy over what is right. When your goals point you towards comfort, your mind will rebel, and this rebellion is stress.
Therefore, understand your life goal. Everything, from your daily activities to your monthly objectives, should support your life goal. Furthermore, define your identity and decide on your legacy. Reflect on who you want to be remembered as when you pass. Also, think about who you would like to be and take steps to become that person.
Lastly, create goals that solve problems and push you to become a stronger person. Apathy will not save you. As a result, if you notice a problem in your life, make plans to resolve it. For example, are you stressing about your health? Then hit the gym. No excuses.
Having a life of purpose will give you the power you need to defeat stress.
2. Avoid Stress by Building Better Habits Surrounding Your Time, Money, and Health
“Problem #1: Winners and losers have the same goals.” – James Clear
Since our habits are unconscious behaviors, they define how we live our lives on autopilot. If you have bad habits (especially ones you dislike), then you will lose trust in yourself. For example, if you can’t control your poor eating, then you can’t trust yourself around junk food. Furthermore, if you can’t shake your junk food habit, then your dreams of becoming healthier will seem impossible.
Therefore, you need to go through the arduous task of creating better habits. Firstly, start small. If you overeat junk food, then find alternatives. Baked strawberries can replace candy; sparkling water can replace soda; baked chips can replace unhealthy options, and so on. Next, wean yourself from junk food by refusing to associate with it. Don’t go down the candy aisle or take trips to the ice cream shop. Lastly, reward your efforts to avoid junk food. Watch TV when you’ve successfully avoided junk food for a set amount of time.
In conclusion, find the habits which bother you most and take steps to eliminate them. Additionally, start small because you cannot change your bad habits overnight. However, removing harmful habits surrounding money, health, time, and productivity will help reduce your stress and set your mind right.
3. Understand What Helps You Feel Stable
What makes you feel safe and secure? Stress can come from lacking control. The more inconsistent and unstable your life is, the more tension you’ll feel.
Do you live in a dangerous neighborhood? Or, are you struggling to find time to develop your personal skills? You need to jot down what makes you feel insecure. Then, you’ll want to find a way to resolve the issue.
As always, start small. Does your dirty bathroom cause you a little anxiety when you see it? Then clean it. Once you tackle more minor issues, start looking at the more significant concerns. For example, I used to live in a dangerous neighborhood. I did everything I could to earn more money, build my skills and cut back on my spending. I had to shelve my personal goals and reduce my playtime. However, in a year, I was able to move out. With a significant stressor gone, I was able to focus on my health, skills, and life goals.
In conclusion, stability is the key to reducing stress. Living a frivolous, inconsistent life will only freak you out. Additionally, create habit systems you can repeat daily. Lastly, identify your most significant problems and move to correct them. If you need to, place life goals on the backend until you can create a stable life.
4. Find a Hobby You can Safely Invest in
You shouldn’t exclusively focus on work. A work-filled life will create stress because your mind is always “on.” Just as your physical muscles need rest, so does your brain.
Finding a hobby is hard. However, I suggest sticking to one hobby. Your hobby shouldn’t be too expensive, and it needs to be realistic. Never choose a hobby which doesn’t fit your responsibilities or budget. For example, I like to play video games. However, as a father and husband, I cannot buy every new game that comes out. I have to purchase games that provide the highest entertainment value. Additionally, I carefully schedule my gaming time, so I can continue to excel at work and spend time with my family.
Lastly, your hobby should engage your mind but help you relax. Avoid mindlessly consuming brain-dead sitcoms, for example. You want to rest your mind, not turn it off completely.
A hobby is a safe place to return when you’re feeling overwhelmed. Being able to rest your mind safely is crucial to overcoming your anxiety.
5. Ignore the Noise and Mayhem of the World as Carefully as You can
“Collectivism means the subjugation of the individual to a group—whether to a race, class or state does not matter. Collectivism holds that man must be chained to collective action and collective thought for the sake of what is called ‘the common good’.” – Ayn Rand
The world is broken. Politics offers nothing but noise, and the average person is incapable of self-regulation. Meanwhile, our environment is going down the drain, and identity politics reigns supreme. If you want to find answers, you will not find them in the chaos of the majority.
Therefore, look internally and at the wise. Trust your moral compass, your feelings of shame, and any pull you have towards the good. For example, if you feel shame for your continuous one-night stands, then listen to your internal voice. Don’t try to drown any regrets you have with distractions.
Additionally, read the works of great, powerful, and accomplished individuals. By understanding the actions of great people, you will gain timeless wisdom on how to live a better life.
Thirdly, consume better works. Don’t consume dull, repetitious fictions about anti-heroes, extreme violence, and destructive ideas. Instead, you need to engage with uplifting pieces where heroes triumph over evil and the innocent defeat the guilty. Inspirational art will help you feel more at ease and inspired to improve yourself.
Lastly, ignore the world. Vote when you feel compelled and follow the news sparingly. Get off social media and ignore the loud voices seeking to stir your bitterness, pity, or rage. The more you listen to the demagogues, the more stressed you’ll become.
6. You Should Help Others and Accept Personal Responsibility
“If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else.” – Booker T. Washington
Gratitude, discipline, and generosity. Be grateful for what you have. Most people are poor, especially in spirit, because they do not count their blessings. Yes, life is stressful, but you have three meals a day, access to advanced technology, and live in a progressive society. Life can be much worst. Therefore, reflecting on what you have, instead of what you don’t, can help lower your stress.
Discipline means accepting your responsibilities. For example, do you have children? You are responsible for shaping them into virtuous, accomplished human beings. If you take to this task with zeal, discipline, and seriousness, you will be exhausted, but you won’t be stressed.
Remember, taking care of your responsibilities will give you power over your fate. Having control over your life will lower your stress. Therefore, excel at your job, take care of your health, care for your family, and help others.
Lastly, think of generosity. Who needs your help? Who can you aid? What can you do to alleviate the pain and suffering of others? When you do good for others, you live your life at its best. You change the world and make the improvements which you’ve previously ignored. Furthermore, doing good for other people means you are making the world a better place. Living in a better world will lower your stress and help you feel more at ease about the future.
7. Take Care of Your Health, and You’ll Have One Less Thing to Stress About
Firstly, you must sleep. Sleep allows your brain to recharge and gives your body much-needed energy. When you don’t sleep, you run on fumes, and these fumes prevent the production of serotonin. Serotonin reduces stress and helps you mellow out. Furthermore, lacking sleep drains you of energy, steals your focus, and undermines your health. All these drawbacks and more should remind you of how important sleep is.
Secondly, exercise keeps you active and aids in defeating stress. Exercise releases tension and can help prevent long-term stress. Additionally, the more you exercise, the less you have to worry about future health concerns. Obesity, certain cancers, diabetes, and other health problems can be eliminated through proper exercise and nutrition.
Thirdly, let’s talk about nutrition. Healthy eating will help you think better, stay fit, and sleep. Food is crucial because it is the energy that powers your body and mind. You’ll have a harder time feeling depressed with clean food running through your system. Therefore, make healthy, clean eating a necessity.
Lastly, don’t forget to brush your teeth, iron your clothes, bathe frequently, drink less coffee, and groom regularly. Making improvements to your life in small ways will reduce your stress, improve your appearance, and give you power over your life.
8. Keep Track of What Makes You Stress and Create Solutions For Your Stressors
“The purpose of life is finding the largest burden that you can bear and bearing it.” – Jordan Peterson
You have to get out of your headspace. When you note your stresses, you add a level of objectivity to your life. Objectivity allows you to see habits clearly, so you can reduce stress and minimize its influence. Tension works best when you are isolated. Objectivity helps you escape isolation.
Once you have a list, get to work. Start by eliminating small problems first, then move to more significant issues. Adjust your life if you need to. However, your goal is to knock down the things freaking you out, so you can focus on excelling.
Lastly, remember there are good stressors. Occasionally, I become stressed about being a good father. My father-related stress is good because I should constantly reflect on how to care for my children.
However, your list will include harmful stressors, and you should resolve these issues. For example, I should address the stress I feel about a toothache. The resolution is me having the courage to go to the dentist and being grateful I have the resources to go.
Manage Your Stress By Being Humble, Patient, and Industrious
Stress, like anxiety, has value. You should stress about your health. If you’re eating poorly, you’ll live poorly, and your mind is reminding you of your mortality. Additionally, you can create solutions for your long-term issues. Never let significant problems sit and eat away at your peace of mind.
Tension should not lock you in place. It should elevate you and re-focus your mind on being a better person. Therefore, reduce your stress by taking control of your life and your happiness. Become an individual, and you’ll live a lighter, better existence.
- What stresses you out? What steps are you taking to resolve your stressors?
- What keeps you at ease? How can you participate more in what makes you feel calm and collected?
- How do you feel when you’re on social media? Braid dead? Elated? Scared?
- Are there any people in your life who stress you out? Is there any way you can help them reduce the burden they create on your mind?
- How To Manage Stress by Art of Manliness
- A Stoic Response To Anxiety by The Daily Stoic
- A Guide to Letting Go of Stress by Zen Habits
Please remember that it’s important to do the actionables. You’re not on this earth to simply read but to do. To become an individual, you must act more than you consume.
*Image credit to Unsplash.