By Karla Layton
It’s almost impossible to say we can ever live both stress and anxiety-free. But have you ever noticed how happier people handle stress extremely well? How they have this attractive ability to be able to deal with tough situations with such grace and more than likely laugh about it afterwards?
These people are very admirable, yet they are no different from us. They’ve just managed to realize what’s important to them, simplify their life and amplify what makes them feel good.
Wondering how to reduce stress? Perhaps you're also wondering how to reduce anxiety. Here are our little secrets that will bring you some anxiety and stress relief.
1. Make self-care a non-negotiable
Write a list and get super clear on the self-care tasks that make you feel good, then schedule at least one of them into your day no matter what. It might be a 10-minute meditation, yoga class, reading a book, a 30-minute walk, a bath or cuddles with your pets.
2. Clean up your calendar
How many times have you said yes to something you really don’t want to do? Sometimes we can over-extend ourselves to tasks or relationships out of kindness, but at some point, we really need to learn how to say no. Communicate with people that you are restructuring your schedule to put your health first and this might mean you have to let a few things go.
This also applies to the things that drain us including Facebook and Instagram scrolling, old habits that wear us out or spending too much time on things that don’t bring us joy.
3. Simplify your finances
Money is one of the biggest causes of stress – but there is always a way around it. Work out a budget and set up a direct debit for your bills so you no longer get those frustrating phone calls or notices. Limit your grocery budget and experiment with wholesome yet affordable meals.
This also sets boundaries and allows us to make conscious choices on what we spend our money on. Also, find ways to have fun with the family or your partner that doesn’t involve money – which is doable and exciting for the eco-conscious person.
4. Focus on what you have and not what you don’t have
Have you ever heard yourself say "oh, I’ll feel better when I lose 10 pounds", "life will be so much better once I’m on vacation", "I can’t wait until the week’s over"? When we focus too much on the future, we lose our power in the present moment. Plus, it’s more than likely that when we get those things, it’s still not going to be enough or we will always want more.
Through living presently and being mindful of everything around us, we can enjoy our life exactly as it is. Creating a small daily gratitude list also helps with appreciating what we do have and manifesting more of it into our life.
5. Question your thoughts
This exercise isn’t meant to stress us out more and overthink, but filter out negative thoughts and emotions so we can choose to embrace positive ones. When a stressful or fearful thought enters your mind – stop, breathe deeply for a few seconds and ask yourself "is this real and true to me?" Then, let it go.
This exercise is one that takes practice and determination but has a profound effect on keeping our mind healthy and at ease.
6. Make the most of your morning commute
Sometimes we can find ourselves looking at news stories that trigger negative emotions. Consider listening to music that makes you feel good, or a podcast that is motivating and educating. If you’re using public transport, this is a perfect time to do some morning journal writing and put however you're feeling onto paper so you can refresh your mind before you enter the workplace.
7. Set boundaries on technology
Have you ever woken up to your alarm and the first thing you do is scroll through Instagram and start comparing yourself to others before the day has even begun? Social media is meant to serve us for many great purposes, but it’s not our sole use of connecting with the world.
Start your day on a good note with exercise and a nourishing homemade breakfast, limit your Facebook scrolling to lunch-breaks and avoid using it when you get home.
8. Create some simple healthy habits
Diets and fads can leave us feeling more stressed and lose our sense of purpose with our health. Start thinking about foods and movement that make you feel good, and slowly start incorporating them into your day. It might be hot lemon water in the morning, swapping your second coffee for a green tea or snacking on protein balls instead of chocolate.
By creating simple changes you begin to instill a belief in yourself that a healthy lifestyle is easy, and of course, end up being happier with yourself. Know that you are enough. You are doing the very best you can with what you’ve been given. You have all the answers within you. You cannot change what’s already happened. Stop sweating the small stuff because this too shall pass.
Here's to feeling blessed and less stressed.