So, you want to live a stress-free life?
Here's the good news: you don't have to start doing yoga every week, eat more kale, go vegan or know what a chakra is. All you have to do is to relax.
Try that, right now. Drop your tongue, relax your jaw, let your shoulders fall and uncross your legs. Here we go.
That's better, isn't it? Now, pay attention because these well kept secrets have been used by the pros for decades to manage their stress. They are easy techniques you can apply anywhere and might help you reduce your stress level dramatically when your anxiety level rises up.
Take a deep breath and read on.
1. It's all about perspective. No, seriously, it is.
You've heard a gazillion times: the glass is either half empty or half full. You choose the way you want to look at life. Most of the time, stress is made up by false beliefs and negative self-talk.
Look, if the things you are worrying about right now can't be solved in the next 2 hours or if you have absolutely no control over the situation such as the weather or a delayed train, then let it go. Choose to have compassion for your situation instead of beating yourself up or blaming others. Shift your perspective. Embrace whatever life throws at you with gratitude. See the bigger picture and try to perceive what life is giving you instead of what is lacking. Go help someone else, shift your attention off of yourself and give it to somebody else. It's hard to be stressed when life is meaningful.
2. If you can regulate your breath, you can regulate pretty much anything in life. The power of your breath is immense. Your breath is the one element that connects you to the rest of us, it keeps you alive and helps you navigate the physical and emotional challenges of life. Usually, when you're angry, stressed or scared the rhythm of your breath accelerates, sometimes so much that you can hardly articulate a word.
But here is the thing. You have all the resources available to you at every moment to slow down your breath and re-center yourself. All you have to do is to focus your attention to your heart center, maybe close your eyes and take even inhales and exhales until your heart rate goes down. It's very easy and anybody can do it. It just requires you to focus all your attention onto your breath for a few moments. And remember, if you have power over your breath, you are probably much more powerful than you think you are.
3. Honor your core values.
Integrity, honesty, courage, positivity, kindness, respect and commitment. You have a set of core values that you live by. These values, lead you through life, help you in your daily decision-making and shape your attitude towards others. Being conscious of your core values and following them is extremely important. Often, if you or someone else fails to honor these values, a huge amount of stress and worry is created. You can feel guilty, inadequate and ashamed.
Honoring your values helps to free your conscious mind and contribute to keep your stress in check. Speak up for yourself and stand strong, your health depends on it!
4. Give yourself a hug.
Maybe not literally, okay? But go ahead and take a warm bath, light candles, burn incense, play your favorite song on repeat, call a friend, book a massage, go on a retreat. Do whatever you need to do to feel like you are taken care of. Being stressed out can make you feel neglected, exhausted and helpless.
Carving time to slow down and be present to yourself is the best move you can make to dramatically reduce stress in your life. You might have heard this before and never took action on it but believe me -- it truly will save you. And if you are not feeling like taking care of yourself, make sure you are not developing an "I don't care" attitude towards life that could cover a problem deeper than stress.
5. Do less.
Really. It's as simple as that. Do less and be more lazy. Train yourself to do nothing and be cool with it. One of the main reasons why people load their day with tasks to accomplish, it's not because they'll die if they don't finish them, it's because doing lots of things, running around, making phone calls and answering tons of emails make you feel important. It makes you feel like you are making a difference, like you are in control.
The only way to make a real difference is to make every action count, be fully present and conscious of the consequences of all your actions. Focus on one task at a time, learn to prioritize and just go with the flow.
Your life matters.
For more stress-free tips by Garance, click here.