Stress Reduction Tips

4 Dramatically Effective Ways to Simplify Your Life and Reduce Stress

Reduce Stress With These Tips
Photo by Alan Cleaver

4 Dramatically Effective Ways to Simplify Your Life and Reduce Stress

When I set out to simplify my life and lower my stress levels, I was trying to build a business that wasn't going anywhere while I worked a full-time job. I was frustrated. It didn't matter how much I wanted to quit my job, nothing seemed to be working out. I revamped my website. I did social media. I wrote blog posts twice a week. I even did Facebook ads. I tried to get people signed up on my newsletter list. Nothing seemed to be working. I needed something different. I needed to focus on making the most of the position I had and work on something that I enjoy.

Making the most of a situation allows us to learn the thing we need to learn so we can move onto something better (or different, in some cases). Have you ever noticed that oftentimes when you make the worst of a situation, you find yourself stuck in that situation or similar situations? Even if you change jobs, if you haven't learned what you need to learn at the first one, you'll likely end up having similar issues in your new job. If you never learn, you're not able to move on. You never get to experience that sense of relief that comes with accepting where you are currently and what you need to learn from it.

So, when I began working toward lowering my stress levels, I started by letting things go. Things I simply have no control over. Like how someone else behaves. Or what someone says. The thing I can control is my reaction and how I interpret the behavior or information.

For example, when a coworker makes a snide remark or chews you out for something you did wrong, how you react is what determines your stress level. Sometimes not saying anything or downplaying the situation is the best way to respond, especially if you know that person enjoys getting a rise out of people (I'm sure we all know at least one person who does that). Don't take the bait. Keep the apology simple. Don't give excuses or try to explain. And keep your voice and tone level. Even thank the person for pointing out the error. Be genuine about it.

Another thing that helps me keep my stress levels down is to stop feeding worry or a bad conversation in my head. Worried about what the boss might say if he finds out you made a mistake? Or playing out a bad conversation with your spouse in your head?

The problem with feeding worry is that we add our own interpretations and negative thoughts to the mix and take away the other person's opportunity to respond before things get heated. By the time we're able to talk to the person, we've already filled in for him and put ourselves on the offensive. Maybe when we confess a mistake to the boss, he says it's no big deal. Now we just spent too much time making ourselves sick over it when it was really no big deal.

Worrying doesn't do us any good. Oftentimes, the things we worry about never come into fruition anyway or are never as bad as we thought they'd be. And if they are, go back to number one!

A third way that helps me keep my stress down is to take care of things right away. Those things that will become an issue if I ignore them too long. Things like paying the bills or feeding the cats or making sure they have fresh water or cleaning the kitchen as I prepare lunch. It's the things that will nag at you if you don't take care of them. Sometimes it's answering the phone when we're busy because we know we won't be able to stop thinking about (or dreading) returning the call.

That being said, we need to give these things a time limit, otherwise we could spend all day working on them and never get to the important stuff.

The last tip that I wanted to share with you is to stop procrastinating. It's important to get those nagging activities out of the way as quickly as you can so you can stop dwelling on them and start giving the important tasks your full attention. Procrastination leads to stress and frustration. It keeps us from working toward our dreams and achieving our goals. Take charge of your schedule and show procrastination the door. If you want to build a business or work toward a goal, stop procrastinating and start doing. Even if it's small steps, you'll make progress which is far better than no progress at all.

What are your top goals for the next year? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Jody Calkins
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