Have you ever met anyone who didn’t feel they had stress in their lives? I can’t say that I have every come across anyone who said to me “I have no stress in my life, I feel at peace all the time”
In fact, most of the people I come across are paralyzed by stress and anxiety – without even knowing it, they have let stress slowly build in their lives, little by little, without even realizing that it was impacting their relationships, happiness, career, health and entire lifestyle.
Let me ask you these important questions:
1. Have you felt trapped – like a caged monkey who can’t seem to break free no matter how hard you try?
2. Have you all but given in to the pressures of life and find yourself often drifting through days, months even years without really accomplishing anything substantial?
3. Do you have more unhappy moments than you remember in the past?
4. Do you find that even when you do get a spare moment, that you can’t seem to really enjoy the things you used to?
Chances are negative stress has eaten away at your life, here’s 4 ways to reduce the stress you feel now…
1. Recognize and realize that stress is a response you have to things that occur in your life. This may seem less than powerful, but in fact, if you convince yourself that you control your response to stress, you gain hope and belief that you can really make changes to lower your stress response in your life.
2. Take time for you. Many people take time from us, our employers, friends, children, even the media and society at large. Its tempting to just give in and give up the piece of your day that must belong to you. By giving up your private relaxation, personal thinking or meditation time you are NOT benefiting those around you, in the long-run you are giving up control, allowing more stress into your life which will result in you being LESS effective to those around you.
3. Exercise. Its not necessary to instantly become an exercise fanatic. Too many of us think in terms of all or nothing. Start by committing to a morning, lunch hour or evening walk 3 times a week for at least 40-minutes. If you prefer a gym, then start slow and build up an exercise regime. Not only will this benefit you in terms of personal image, weight loss, energy gain, but it has been scientifically proven that exercise produces chemicals in your brain that help you overcome stress.
4. Become more self-aware. Its often the case that when we feel most stressed, we also feel that we have lost who we really are. In fact, losing a sense of what is really important to us is one of the biggest factors preventing people from pulling out of feelings of stress and hopelessness. Yoga and meditation are incredibly powerful techniques that are both simple to learn (at least the basics), and can lead to incredible changes from the inside out to alter the stress balance in our lives.
Yoga and meditation will take some up-front committment, but within a few weeks of consistently practicing these principles, you can experience some very dramatic changes in your ability to handle stress.
With the majority of our population being paralyzed by the inabiltiy to control stress leading to anxiety, it is perhaps one of the most desctructive forces threatening today’s society.
At an individual level, you have the ability to change your level of stress dramatically, but that change must come from within and it must start with your own belief that indeed, you can control your response to stress. Following the four principles outlined above will certainly allow you to quickly overcome the limitations of stress and anxiety in your life.