In modern life stress is usually unavoidable. Often the challenges that stress creates can help you to develop new skills and behavioural patterns to meet the demands of your environment.
However, when stress becomes excessive problems can occur. An overly stressed mind and body can make you feel sad, miserable and anxious.
This article outlines a number of strategies and techniques to help you manage your stress levels.
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Don’t chase too many rabbits
One of the biggest causes of stress is trying to focus on too many things at once. Unfortunately, the social demands that modern life places upon you, often involves having to focus on more than one thing at once.
When you try to juggle too many balls at once, you inevitably end up dropping some of them. Consequently, nothing is ever done properly, and in the process unwanted feelings of stress and tension are created.
Get in the habit of prioritising the things that you need to do, on a clear and well-defined list. Place the most important tasks at the top and complete the high priority tasks before anything else.
Focus only one thing at a time, and don’t let your mind become consumed with all the other tasks yet to be completed. This only creates more anxiety, damaging your performance on the current task.
Don’t push too hard
In many of the articles on the website I have discussed the importance of finding a controlled balance between over and under-trying when striving to achieve the results you want.
Arguably stress is created by over trying and over wanting something. When you push too hard to get the results you want, you usually end up damaging your performance, pushing the object of your desire further beyond your reach.
Pushing too hard creates tension and an internal friction that works against you!
The problems encountered in life are often blown out of proportion. This is usually because of a tendency to ruminate and dwell on negative experiences, making them appear bigger than they actually are.
When you chose to obsessively fume and fret over these negative experiences they begin to monopolise and overwhelm your mind.
You get more of what you focus on, and by constantly obsessing over negative thoughts and feelings, you create an internal reality filled with stress and anxiety.
Go with the flow
Becoming stressed involves creating some kind of force. Without force stress cannot be created.
Therefore the level of stress is dependent on the intensity of your internal thoughts and feelings. When you are ruminating over a negative situation, the stronger, and the more persistent your internal thoughts are, the greater the level of stress is.
When you experience setbacks and adversity learn to accept them. Fighting and battling against negative events is often where stress is born. Allowing negative experiences to wash over you, without engaging with them will prevent adversity from monopolising your thoughts.
Stress is created by an opposition of forces. Try moving with the forces instead of against them.
In the martial art aikido, the fighter blends with the direction of an opposing force, and by moving with it uses its power to diffuse the attack. The same should apply with negative events. If you move in the direction of the negative event without opposing it, you prevent the creation of any stress.
Take control by going a little slower
The fast paced lives that people lead is often the leading cause of stress. Rushing around trying to do a hundred and one things at once inevitably creates unwanted panic and anxiety.
If this sounds familiar, approach life a little slower. Sometimes less is more and by meeting life in a calm and collected manner you get more done than you would by approaching life in a frantic and rushed way.
In the sport of rowing many professional rowers talk about how in order to go fast one must row slowly. Through slow and controlled rowing actions you are able to propel the boat through the water more effectively, compared to generating fast and rapid strokes.
The same is applicable to leading a stress free life. If you can deal with life events in a composed and relaxed way, everything will move much smoother.
The character of your thoughts determines the pace at which you live (Vincent Pearle)