I know that sounds like a stupid question in that nobody would choose stress, right? And I am sure consciously nobody would, but ironically people add to their stresses all of the time by the choices they make.
Just to be clear, I am not talking about positive stress – the pressure that helps us get up and achieve things. I am talking about negative stress – the sort that keeps us awake at night or has us in a constant fight or flight response.
It is inevitable that life will at times dish us out a heap load of stuff that does cause stress and whilst we might not be able to control that we can either help ourselves to deal with it or we can make things a whole lot worse.
Looking after your wellbeing is key. It is when we are stressed though that we are least likely to do that, and I think to a degree we need to cut ourselves a bit of slack during those times because we are after all in a time of struggle and beating ourselves up about not making the best choices won’t help. We all do the best we can.
Aside from times of extreme challenge, even everyday life can sweep us up in stress as if that is a normal way to live. I would like to suggest though that there is an alternative. That life can be more peaceful. How about checking in with your own peace score right now… If 10 was totally at peace and 1 was totally not at peace, where are you?
If you could do with a bit more peace in your life then here are some things you might like to consider…
1) Can you identify what is causing you stress and if so is there anything you can actively do to resolve it? Is there a conversation you need to have? Something you need to change? Advice or support you could get? Remember Eckhart Tolle’s great advice when we find ourselves in a situation that causes stress or unhappiness…can you change it? If not, can you accept it as it is? Or could you remove yourself from the situation?
2) Loosen your grip around life and allow a bit of space. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in everything we get overwhelmed. Taking a bit of time out in nature can be the soothing balm that we need, shift our perspective and allow us the breathing space to feel more at ease.
3) Reduce caffeine and alcohol – caffeine has the potential to ramp up any anxiety or worry, and alcohol is a depressant so cutting down on them is very likely to bring more peace and reduce your stress levels…..after the possible withdrawal symptoms pass of course!
4) Make time for pausing the pressures of life and doing something that you enjoy or find relaxing. Lunch or dinner with friends? A spa day? Going to see a film? Going to the beach for the day? Reading a good book?
5) Keep things in true perspective. If you only had a year to live what would you not worry about? What would you appreciate more in life? I know thinking about it like this doesn’t shift perspective on all things, after all you will still have a mortgage to pay in a years time and you will likely still need a job etc but it does help us to let go of stuff that really isn’t as significant as it can seem when we are swept up in it.
6) You don’t have to get on with all people. There are some people we just don’t really gel with and that is ok! Don’t overthink it. Sometimes we work with people we don’t really like (or they us which is also fine) but if you have a choice then maybe that choice is that you won’t choose to spend time with people that you don’t get on with. If you are stressing yourself out about spending time and energy with people you don’t really want to then ask yourself why you are doing that and if you really have to?!
7) Get more sleep….I won’t say more on that as I have written about it in a recent blog https://theinspiredzone.com/sleep-are-you-getting-enough/ but getting 8 to 9 hours a night really will reduce stress. That said, if you are doing all of things I suggest in the sleep blog to help you to get more sleep and you still can’t sleep then try not to worry about it. Even if you are awake at night if you can practice belly breathing (you can find how to do that here https://theinspiredzone.com/module-1-breathe/) then you are doing a lot to help yourself.
8) Look after your wellbeing….more on that here…. https://theinspiredzone.com/top-tips-to-maintain-your-mental-wellbeing/
9) De clutter your life from anything that isn’t working anymore. Keep your living space somewhere that supports you and your wellbeing. Get rid of situations and mindsets that you have outgrown or that keep you stressed. You might need some help in doing that, particularly the mindset stuff, but don’t think that it can’t improve. Mindset can always improve if we gain the know how and change our habits. See below for a book I highly recommend reading on how you can do that.
10) Value yourself! I mean it. Love yourself enough to recognise that you deserve to be healthy and happy so do everything that you can to look after yourself and create a life that supports peace not stress.
A worthwhile read for anyone whose mind or thoughts aren’t always as helpful as they could be. It’s easy to read and fun and definitely gave me self reflection on the power of my own chimp. I am sure you will find it very helpful to understand your own chimp too!