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Is 98% of the World Stressed Out?
It seems like every time life is looking up, something nasty happens. This is a pattern I have noticed over the past 20 years. Just recently I was laid off from my contract position at a global trading management software company. That’s 20-25 hours a week of revenue gone, kaput, vanished, and ceased. Now I have to balance working on client projects with finding a new job or more contract hours.
Just when I think my family situation is going well, my parents or my son’s mom does or says something stupid, people get mad and fight, and I end up right in the middle of it. Just when I think my financial situation is getting better, I get hit with several thousands of dollars worth of bills that I wasn’t anticipating. The cycle never ends. Is everyone else’s life like this? I would venture to guess that for 98% of the people in the world, this is exactly how life transpires.
How to Combat Stress
- Take a deep breath and blow it out slowly, repeat at least 10 times. Now realize that you have power to control your life.
- Be aware that you always have a choice with both emotions and work. Sometimes you need to let your emotions out but still stay in control.
- Say something positive to yourself as soon as you wake up.
- Start every day with reflection on the previous day, focusing on positive accomplishments and events.
- Set goals for what needs to be achieved in the day then write a to-do list. Steps to consider when writing your to-do list:
- Know your limits and be realistic about what you can accomplish in a day.
- Prioritize your tasks and work to finish them starting with the highest priority (urgent/important).
- Do your most difficult task at the beginning of the day when you are fresh, thereby avoiding the stress of last minute preparation. Procrastination only facilitates stress!
- Focus on one task at a time. Multitasking is one reason people feel like they haven’t accomplished anything.
- Emphasize quality in your work, rather than quantity. A finished quality product is much better than a shoddy one that will have to be fixed later. Microsoft could stand to take a tip like this.
- Stagger deadlines for large projects. This will help you to deal with less stress at any one time.
- Schedule personal time-outs. This will allow you to relax and reflect at strategic points throughout the day. You will also be better prepared when an unanticipated task arrives.
- Delegate some of your tasks to others. Why should you have to do something that someone else is better at?
- Review your goals and accomplishments at the end of the day. This is soothing and will help you sleep better.
- Know your limits and do not push yourself too hard or beat yourself up when you do not achieve your goals. If you have unfinished tasks, go ahead and start your to-do list for the following day.
- Improve organizational skills. Stress arises from feeling overwhelmed, thus you should get organized by breaking responsibilities down into manageable pieces and by focusing on the things that really matter.
- Stop worrying about what you cannot change. This is hard, but it also acknowledged as an important coping mechanism.
- Take responsibility for your life. Control your own destiny by deciding what you want and go for it!
- You will have more self-confidence and energy if you treat your body right by following these tips:
- Eat a healthy breakfast and healthy snacks only. Stay away from sugary snacks by keeping fruit, vegetables, nuts, and high-protein snacks available when you feel like a snack.
- Drink water. Avoid alcohol and caffeine as they both contribute to stress in the grand scheme of the day.
- Exercise a little every day. Endorphins released by exercise can lower stress levels.
- Eat a small amount of chocolate for more endorphins. A SMALL amount.
- Use a good vitamin and mineral supplement everyday to keep micronutrients balanced.
- Get enough sleep and try to get into regular sleeping patterns. Most people need at least 7 hours of sleep a night, kids need more like 10.
- Listen to music. Get some aggression out by listening to something heavy, or calm yourself down with some positive and relaxing music.
- Use positive self-talk by reminding yourself that you have been in similar situations and that you can get through this one too.
- Visualize yourself overcoming a stressful situation. See it and feel it.
- Visualize positive things; this does not take long but can help you regain focus.
- Develop a sense of humor. I know I have been so stressed out before that I just have to laugh otherwise I will freak out.
- Talk to friends. This is one of the most important things, as keeping things bottled up can only cause more stress.
- Learn to say no. You can’t possibly do everything you are asked.
- Communicate to those around you, that you need a change in communication and situation.
- Learn to meditate and let the stress go.
- Taking a bath will give you private time and relax the body.
- Chew gum. It has been shown that the action of chewing can reduces stress, which is why some people under constant stress tend to overeat. If you don’t like gum, chew on a toothpick.