“Take rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop.” – Ovid
Some of us come to believe that constant stress and anxiety over different things that happen every day is the foundation that our lives are built upon. For many years I thought that stress is a “regular” part of my being, that anxiety is a “typical” response to anything and that it will stay this way forever.
I guess I was just one of those people who never felt what it would be like to be calm and at peace throughout the day, not even talking about throughout the whole life to follow…
I was like that. I’m not going to lie. And I must admit that I’m still like that sometimes during those hiatuses of panic attacks and anxieties in the middle of the night. I also need to tell you that I’ve learned a lot over the past few years how to shape up that sense of tranquillity and calmness and keep it running most of the time more than EVER before.
I have a few ideas on staying stress-free that I found helpful in my everyday life. I’m not a perfect example, though. But I still try to keep up and practice staying stress-free daily as I understand that the decision to be stress-free isn’t about one-step change that will last forever but about making constant progress towards it.
It’s about changing behavioral patterns keeping in mind that we cannot possibly control other people and the way they act. We cannot monitor the world and what’s happening in it. Remember this: what is ALWAYS up to us is the way we respond to things. Yes, we can choose to throw ourselves into the familiar embrace of anxiety and stress. Or we can learn to respond in a calm and tranquil manner. It’s up to us when we decide to switch on the mindfulness.
“It’s a good idea always to do something relaxing prior to making an important decision in your life.” – Paulo Coelho
7 Habits of Becoming Stress-Free
Morning Glory in Peace
I noticed that most of my morning rituals in a rush manner created stress that kickstarted each and every day. I’m sure I’m not alone in this and that there are some people out there who’s habit of starting each day with rushing around is as severe as mine was.
I’m striving to start a day as early as possible. Then goes morning meditation with gentle music that induces positivity. Sometimes I do yoga in the morning too. Sometimes I read something short and inspirational. I’m not saying that you have to do the same things. What I’m suggesting is to cut down the habit of rushing.
What’s Your Response?
I had this habit of responding to any stressful thing with an immediate action without thinking it through first. I still fall for that sometimes; I have nothing to hide here really.
Sometimes I would respond with anger, and then an emotional vortex would suck me into the dark that was way too overwhelming, and I could not have to comprehend it. Sometimes I would do nothing about any situation and just sit there totally depressed, feeling sorry for myself and fruitlessly wishing for the things to be different.
But then I asked myself: Why the hell do you act and respond before thinking? For the love of me, just learn to respond better, would you?! So then I’ve started watching over the way I react to things. And every time I stay calm when something stressful happens, I feel somewhat victorious. A couple of years back I would jump straight into the unknown and would feel terrible about the outcome afterward.
Always watch your response.
It’s Never Personal
I had this awful belief that almost anything stressful that happened to me was somehow personal. If someone would accidentally kick me on the street during rush hour. If someone would unleash their anger at me when clearly the problem lies elsewhere. If someone at work were rude to me, I would think how dare they act like that? Some people sincerely believe that the whole world and the universe are plotting against them and they consistently come up with new suspicions and proofs to back up that mayhem theory!
But the simple truth here is simple: it’s never personal. The way people act is the way they are dealing with their problems on their terms. Trust me; they are doing their best to figure something out of this messy everyday life. As you are too and myself included, of course.
What we need to learn is to get rid of that stressful mindset. Would you feel stressed if a bird would accidentally shit all over your head? Would you feel stressed if a leaf fell from a tree and landed on your shoulder?! It’s just a coincidence that is not personal against you. That’s all.
I was accused of not being able to express my appreciation towards people and life that I have. It is a great accusation, and for many years I was living in denial until it wasn’t possible to notice a pink elephant in the room.
I always wanted more and more without any attempt to finally stop and SEE how great my life is. For that, I am truly sorry, and now I feel committed to remembering that I have to express it and be grateful for everything.
It’s easy to spot and pin down everything we think is “wrong” in our life. It’s easier to wish things were different while reflecting on some poor decisions that we made in the past. But that meaningless and soul draining experience will hardly do you any good. So we just need to stop and recall everything that we are grateful for.
Everybody talks about being grateful and the importance of expressing that feeling. That is why I start my day with a simple thought: I am ALIVE. Therefore, I am grateful. Therefore I feel lucky. Understanding that entirely somehow brings that sense of peace and calmness. Being grateful is a real game changer.
Healthy Stress Wrestling Habits
When a stressful situation overwhelms us, we have a tendency to cope with it in ways that no one would dare to call “healthy.” We would turn to those time wasting websites to withdraw ourselves from reality. We would abuse alcohol; we would strive to fill the void with junk food…
So when stress kicks in, watch closely what you are going for. What coping mechanism are you choosing?
Choose better coping mechanisms like a simple meditation, breathing deeper, yoga or a walk in the park. Maybe a running session or swimming in a pool? Drinking aromatic soul warming tea and listening to some mind calming music. It all works for me.
One Plate at a Time
The idea here is simple. The more we try to spread our attention like butter on every piece of bread we come across, the worse the outcomes we will get including the life full of stress. Do we need that stress?! Do we?
Focus on one thing at a time. Like a clay pigeon shooter who shoots red plates in the blue sky. One at a time. You will find that remarkable sense of peace by doing just one thing at a time.
Cutting the Buzz Down
Our daily life is filled with all the unnecessary things that create all sorts of noise. Things to watch, news to check, email to write, status updates to comment on. It all creates that never ending buzz in our mind that we cannot find the switch off as a force of habit.
Why do we need that buzz anyway? How is that relevant? How is that contributing to our life and daily wellbeing?
Instead of that noise, choose to create that tranquil and stress-free space around you. You will see positive results shortly after cutting down on the buzz.