How to Reduce Stress in Everyday Life
Many people are stressed, which is nothing new. The constant need, or our feeling that we need to get ahead and progress leads to stress in very many cases. In America especially, where work is considered the be all and end all of our lives as opposed to rest and relaxation, stress and the problems resulting from it are at all time highs. Stress mixed with unhealthy lifestyles of little or no exercise and eating too much of bad food is totally overtaking our quality of life in a very negative way.
Although it's easy to just put our heads down and believe that this amount of stress that is put on us by the outside world cannot be helped it is just an excuse to go on running ourselves into the ground. If we'd just step back for a moment and actually look at the things we think are so important and are honest with ourselves, we'll see that they aren't so important after all. Trying to get a promotion and not getting it can run our blood pressure through the roof. But why do you really need that promotion? It'll most likely put more pressure on your workdays and for what? Just so you can get a new wide screen TV sooner than you'd be able to in your present position? Here are 3 tips to taking it easy. Having less stress is more in our hands than we like to realize, simply because it's easier to go along with the status quo of feeling helpless and putting the blame on others.
1. Getting Out of Your Labyrinth
Sure, many people feel like they are juggling work, family, money, kids etc. in a never ending labyrinth that they can't get out of. Too many people can't see the way out of this constant pressure they feel from all sides. It's like wandering around in a huge labyrinth that is getting tighter and tighter due to responsibilities, and where we never find the end. Society puts pressure on us all to be something called "successful", which our society broadly defines as having a good job, a spouse, kids, a house, at least 2 cars, large screen TVs in almost every room of that house, and a huge backyard BBQ grill, not necessarily in that order. Many people buy into this even though these things may not be what they want, but because it is pretty much expected of them in order to be a "success". They go into it not realizing that acquiring these things probably won't make them happy if they never wanted them of their own accord in the first place.
Once you're in this labyrinth, it's hard to get out. Responsibilities pile on as you walk in deeper and deeper into the confusing shrubbery of the labyrinth. Before you know it, you are hopelessly lost. And what happens when we feel hopelessly lost, either physically or emotionally or psychologically? We get stressed. Feeling like we are stuck in something and can't get out can take a huge toll on our mental and thus on our physical well being? How do we know that so many people are lost in the labyrinth? They try to find a way out in secret. A way to cut through the bushes without others noticing and getting to freedom. What do we do in reality? Take happy pills, drink alcohol, get hooked on sleeping pills, binge eat, smoke pot, take whatever prescription pills we can that numb us to our feelings of being lost. Why else would people who seemingly have it all become pill poppers on massive scales?
Of course the easiest way to avoid getting lost in a labyrinth is not to enter it in the first place.
2. Don't Let Yourself Get Battered
It's easy to let little things get to us. Pressure from a boss, annoying colleagues, whining children, aggressive drivers, noisy neighbors etc. etc. When we add all of these things up they take a toll on our well being. These things all raise stress levels. Just like one canon ball won't topple the walls of a castle, thousands of canon balls inevitably will.
A healthy sense of humor can go a long way in deflecting these canon balls. Humor will save you and will help to lessen stress levels in those around you. Sure, we can't solve all problems with humor, but we can lessen the seriousness of issue which really aren't that serious to begin with in many cases. I think we all know what these non-serious serious things can be, but just in case not: traffic jams, long post office lines, rude customer service people, slow internet etc. These things are all minor annoyances. Not worth having a heart attack over.
Fighting back against our own stress and the things that cause it can give us a sense of control over our own lives.
3. Fighting Back
Yes, fighting can be a good thing. Usually our hardest opponents are ourselves. Getting into lazy and sloppy thinking can allow us to think that stress is normal and something we all go through, which is true, but only to an extent. This is what I mean by lazy thinking. Stress is a common thing in everyone's life, but you can have control over how you react to it and handle it. Of course there are people who are naturally of a more nervous disposition than others and thus more highly prone to stress.
This need not be the case though. Self confidence and the courage to look the causes of our stress in the eye is in our hands. They say that humans only use about 10% of their minds. If we could open up just a bit more of our minds we might in fact be totally different people. Many of us are afraid to change our lives and our routines. This feeling of helplessness only adds to our growing stress and will eventually come to a breaking point, be it a heart attack, a mental breakdown, or severe depression. We cannot let ourselves be imprisoned by our own stresses and fears. Sure, this is easier said than done, but so are many other things that we take for granted and don't have much trouble doing in general: finishing college, driving a car, getting a job, putting together IKEA furniture etc.
High stress need not ruin lives. Societal pressures need not govern our personal decisions and choices in life.
Take a moment to think about what you believe to be the major stress factors in your life and whether you can honestly go about not letting them get to you as much. I think we'll all find many such things.