Tips for Reducing
Stress & Anxiety
Awareness: The first step in reducing stress in our lives is simply to recognize whether we feel stressed or not. It's amazing how with all of our busy schedules and responsibilities in life, we sort of feel that "I can't possibly be stressed, because I don't have time for one more problem." So first we have to become aware that we are stressed in order to begin to deal with it in a loving, caring, compassionate and self-nurturing manner.
Identifying the Problem: The second step is identifying the specific problems or issues in our lives that are causing the stress. This is crucial because it enables us to look at those things that we need to change in our lives such as:
- Making lifestyle changes;
- Changing our attitudes and behaviors;
- Maybe even changing our job or career;
- Moving to a different location;
- Changing our family dynamics or situation; and so on.
- Spiritual Life: One of the first places we can turn to for help with stress reduction is our spiritual life. Some spiritual practices that help us to relax and increase hope include prayer, meditation, yoga, Tai Chi, Reiki, long walks out in parks or nature, sharing with a spiritual mentor or friend, and so on. In this way we can begin to get back in touch with our feelings of loving kindness, gratitude, forgiveness, appreciation and all things positive and good. And naturally the more we feel these uplifting, healing, hopeful feelings and thoughts, the more they replace the negative ones. It's extremely helpful to pray to our Mother-Father GOD, Jesus, Mary, the Buddha, Saint Germain, or some other Ascended Master or Lady Master, the Angels, or whoever is your favorite spiritual figure. This is because they will pour down into us wonderful soothing, emotionally healing, loving Divine Energy which uplifts our spirits and expands our sense of well-being. And this of course strengthens our own personal coping mechanisms which help us to deal with life’s’ difficult situations.
- Emotional Support: It can also help to talk with friends, relatives, neighbors, counselors or other professionals, or join a support group of some kind. Knowing that there are good people around us to help us through difficult times can be reassuring and help reduce stress.
- Exercise: Exercising is a great way to relieve stress, anxiety and tension. The body works off the stress and secretes feel-good hormones, so we feel better after the workout. Plus, the bonus is that exercising keeps us both physically and mentally fit.
- A Healthy Diet: A well balanced healthy diet is an important part of creating optimum health, and in doing so we are better able to cope with life’s challenges.
- Prioritizing Our Daily Activities: By doing the most important things first, then the secondary ones, etc, we can organize our day to lessen stress. We can make a list according to priorities and check them off as we complete them. It's good to be realistic and only make a list of reasonable, attainable things that actually need to be done, otherwise the list can cause more stress. This time management technique helps us to stay focused on our priorities. It's helpful to not take on more than what we can handle. Sometimes we need to say “no” to others. An excellent, easy-to-understand book on time management is The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, (especially see Chapter 3 or "Habit 3" on prioritizing: "Put First Things First" - page 145 in the paperback version).
- Simplicity: One of the best ways to reduce stress and increase inner peace is to simplify our overly complex lives. The best way to do this is simply to eliminate anything that isn't crucial to our lives - especially those unnecessary things that take a lot of our time and cause us a lot of stress and anxiety. Also break large tasks into smaller ones. Another helpful thing is to restructure our daily schedules to be less pressured. For example, if your morning is routine is too complicated and rushed, try doing part of it the night before. Go here for more on Simplifying Our Lives.
- Sleep & Rest: Make sure you get enough sleep so you start your day feeling refreshed. If need be, take time out from your busy schedule to relax and rest even if it is only for a few minutes. Some people like to use their lunch hour to take a walk in the park, meditate, pray, do some easy yoga, or read an uplifting book. Anything like this helps us to feel rejuvenated so we can better tackle the various challenges that come our way.
- Don't Worry About Being Perfect: Remember no one is perfect. We just need to do the best we can while remembering that perfection doesn’t exist in the physical realm. And remember the:
"God, grant me the serenity to accept the things
I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference."
- Be Kind to Ourselves & Others: Let's try not to be so hard on ourselves and others. If we criticize people all the time without providing any positive feedback, we're only stressing everyone out. Oftentimes it's helpful to compromise. Everyone has their own views and sees things from their own perspective. Value what they have to say and listen to what they are actually saying. We all learn from each other. We all have wonderful things to share. After all, we are all students as well as teachers in our life-long journeys.
- We Need to Learn to Unwind, Before We Unravel: In other words, we need to take time out for ourselves to do the things we love to do. For example, maybe taking a half-hour to watch something funny online.
- Volunteering: Helping others is a blessing, both to them and to ourselves.
- Compromise: Sometimes we need to compromise. For instance, sometimes people need to agree to disagree. It's helpful to acknowledge and accept that everyone is entitled to their own opinions. Go here for tips in handling "Difficult People".
- Reduce Competition: In our careers we can strive to be the best we can be, without being competitive. People who are fair and engender teamwork are often promoted over those who are super competitive and who spread tension and friction.
- Sharing Love: Life is to be shared and enjoyed. If we surround ourselves with people and pets we love and care about, it will bring us nurturing joy and happiness. This is because when love is pouring through us to others we feel a deeper feeling of happiness and sense of purpose. By doing this we create a more fulfilling and enriching life for ourselves and those around us. So embrace and enjoy life to the fullest and let your love flow to all!
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