It happens to everyone.
You forgot your wallet on the way out the door. You have a huge presentation or deadline coming up. Money is tight due to some unexpected bills. Or maybe there are family, relationship, or personal problems.
And it gets worse.
Work piles up. You can’t get caught up on anything. People are coming in asking stupid questions or just annoying you. It’s one of those stressful days where nothing has gone right.
You head home the epitome of misery.
Put on top of it all that you have to get new brakes for your car, or maybe it broke down completely. Perhaps you got another medical bill in the mail.
All of these kinds of things build and build until your mind is flooded with more stress than you can handle.
How can you get a grip on it all? With so many things that can cause stress in our lives, it can seem an almost impossible task.
There are blogs and books and self-help courses that talk about how to reduce your stress. Heck, it’s a multi-million dollar industry!
But what you need are some simple strategies that can help you curb the stress in your life, and get a handle on it.
I have put together a list of 23 of simple things you can do to wipe out stress. You’ve probably seen a few of these before, but hopefully there is something in this list you haven’t seen that can help you.
It’s important to remember, these strategies take a little work on your part. The real way to eliminate stress isn’t with a pill or a drink (though I do recommend one later on). It’s with a little work from your mind.
It is true that some stress is necessary in life. Think about it, if you never faced any challenges, it would get pretty boring. However, there is a huge amount of stress that we don’t need.
If you’re willing do to a little work on it, the rewards will be better than anything you’ve felt in a while.
Take a look
23 Simple Things You Can Do to Wipe Out Stress
1. Figure out the things that cause you stress. Maybe this sounds obvious or kind of dumb, but identifying the things that stress you out during the week is literally almost half the battle, and is the first thing you should do before trying anything else. Try taking a few minutes to write down a list of the people, activities, events, and other things that cause you stress. Are those things weekly, daily, or monthly items? Once you have a list to work with, you can begin to try removing some of those problems from your routine.
2. Don’t spread yourself too thin. A lot of people over commit to way too many things. It’s okay to have several things going on, but if you spread yourself too thin it can be a real stress creator.
Whether it has to do with kids, chores, significant others, more family, work, hobbies, or whatever, those things can really add up fast. Take some time today to write them down and see which ones cause you the most stress then cross them out.
Be ruthless with this list. The more time you free up, the less stressed you will be.
3. Quit multitasking. People who are doing several things at once may seem like they are being really productive. But the truth is, by doing lots of little things, no big thing ever gets accomplished. And when big things don’t get finished, that causes huge amounts of stress. It is much better to focus on one task and get the job done. Then you can move on to the next thing.
4. Slow down. This one really helps me out a lot. I started the practice of drinking my coffee slower in the mornings, eating my food a little slower during meals, and just trying to enjoy each moment. Savor the things you enjoy. It’s like Ferris Bueller said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t slow down and look around every once in a while, you could miss it.”
5. Exercise. This one is on just about every list for almost anything out there in the world. I don’t really need to get into the benefits of exercise. You’ve heard all that. Just know that good, vigorous exercise can stimulate the mind and body, and be a tremendous release of tension and stress. I have found that running sprints do more for my stress levels than running a slow jog. Of course, consult your doctor if you’re considering doing more intense training.
6. Improve your diet. Much like exercise, I hope I really don’t have to speak much to the diet thing. It’s pretty simple: you put good fuel in the machine, the machine will run better. Your body is a machine and it is important that you put good fuel in it. I’m a big fan of plant-based diets because eating things made from plants was what nature intended. Research shows that there tends do be a decrease in stress levels with a healthy diet. Find one that is lower in fat, higher in vitamins and minerals, and that will give you a steady supply of fiber. Those are usually the ones that work best.
7. Arrive on time. Seriously, when you are running late for work, a game, or anything, it is a stressful occurrence. Well, it is for me. I can’t stand keeping people waiting. And I don’t like to have to wait on people. When running late for an event or somewhere you’re supposed to be, it builds up a tension in side of you that makes you hurry, make some unsafe decisions, and puts you at risk for multiple internal and external problems. Make sure you always plan on being early somewhere. Tom Coughlin, the coach of the New York Giants football team, tells his players that if they arrive on time, they’re late. Each player knows they have to be at meetings five minutes before the meeting begins.
My trick: I set my clocks a few minutes fast every few months, and I change the number of minutes so I never remember how fast they actually are. That keeps me honest.
8. Stop procrastinating. This one is so hard for me. I love to put things off until the last second. And then I curse myself for doing so when a deadline is tapping me on the shoulder. It takes my mind from relaxed and doing fine to hurry up and get this done or else. Don’t do that to yourself. Get things done before deadlines so that you won’t have to worry.
9. Don’t be a control freak. You can’t control everything. People will choose to do and say what they want. So, you may as well give up trying to make them do your bidding. Learning to accept what people do and what happens in situations is crucial. There is only one thing you can control in this life, and that is your actions and thoughts.
Another key part of this is learning to delegate things to others. You cannot do it all by yourself, as one of my book’s characters learns. You need help. If you refuse to let other people help you out, you will put too much pressure on yourself and end up driving yourself insane.
10. Get Organized. Being disorganized can cause massive amounts of stress. Even if you have a system for things, if you don’t monitor it carefully, it can all come crashing down. Albert Einstein’s office was extremely cluttered, though he had a system for everything.
That being said, I bet Albert could have saved himself a bit of stress when he needed to find something if he’d had a place for all his stuff under a neat file. Get yourself organized. A little work on that now can save you a lot of unnecessary stress later.
11. Simplify your routine. It really comes down to removing some of the things that cause you stress, then not complicating it with new ones. Keep it simple. Get rid of clutter in your home, personal life, and job. It will result in a much more even, calm day.
12. Leave work at work. It can be very difficult to master this one. So many people feel like they have to get stuff done and end up taking their work home with them. The thing is that if you bring work (something stressful) home, then you make the place that should be peaceful, a place of stress as well. You don’t need that.
13. Express gratitude. Putting your mind and body into a positive state is as simple as thinking about all the things you can be thankful for. Even if you don’t have a lot of good stuff going on (or so you think) you can find simple things to stimulate genuine gratitude. Start with little items like a soft pillow, warm shower, clean water, a roof over your head, fresh air, good coffee, or food. By focusing on gratitude and letting that emotion fill our minds and hearts, it removes the stressful emotions and thoughts and replaces them with something positive. I do this every morning before I go to work to get my day started off right.
14. Create a peaceful environment. I hinted at this earlier. You can create a peaceful environment at work and at home. Putting some plants in your office or cubicle, having some peaceful photos or paintings, and creating a place where tension is a distant memory can go a long way to helping you feel more relaxed.
15. Meditate. This one is super important. It’s not a religious thing. It’s a science thing. Take six minutes every morning to let yourself feel thankful for some things in your life (as mentioned in number 13) and then one by one, go through the tasks you need to complete in your mind. Put them in order. Visualize yourself doing them. I find that when I do this, I am way more productive and way less stressed out throughout the day. Example: days I practice this, I write an average of 2000 more words for my books than on days I don’t. And the writing comes much easier!
16. Be mindful of the moment. How many times have you bumped your head on something or stubbed your toe because you weren’t paying attention to what you were doing? I’ve done it a lot. We do stuff like that more than we probably know because we are geared to do things fast, and do several things at once (multitasking). By being mindful of each task and each moment, we can eliminate the stressful things in our lives. Focus makes each task simpler, and simple is a good thing.
17. Ditch technology for a designated amount of time each day. You might be reading this on a phone, tablet, or computer. We do so much with technology now that we forget about the natural world around us. We have stopped having actual conversations with others. And devices are things that almost force us to multitask (not good). Do yourself a favor and designate a time each day at work and at home where you won’t use any technology for fifteen minutes. See if you can work that up to thirty minutes or an hour. Heck, go longer if you can. We all need technology, but we don’t need it all the time.
18. Breathe. If you get into some moments where you feel tightness in your chest and the stress is just too overwhelming, I find it helpful to sit down, close my eyes, and just focus on breathing one breath at a time.
Sounds simple enough, but it is actually pretty tough to do when you get that overwhelming stressful feeling. The key to this working is to let go of all other things in your mind and feel the air go in through your nose, fill your lungs, and then let it out slowly through your mouth. I like to take deep breaths when I’m doing this.
19. Take little breaks throughout the day to relax. This one is easy for me. But some people try to say they don’t have time for this. You have to make time. Step away from your work for a few minutes and talk with a co-worker about last night’s game, or your favorite television shows, or a movie you just saw. Ask about any new restaurants they’ve been to in town. Getting that release at work is absolutely essential.
20. Help someone or be helpful. Volunteer, go out of your way to do something for someone else. Research shows that people who help others actually have much lower levels of stress. It might be because by doing these kinds of things, it gives you a good feeling inside. You never leave a volunteering gig feeling like you just wasted a bunch of time. Give it a try and watch your stress melt away.
21. Lose the negative people. You know who these people are. They are the ones who never seem to have enough money, always have problems at work, have health issues, and can’t ever seem to catch a break. Know why that is? Because they complain all the time. And by doing that, that’s all life will give them: negative experiences.
It can be hard to weed out the negative people in your life. You may be close to some of them. But when you do it, you will notice a much more relaxed feeling in your mind and will begin to see less stress coming your way.
22. A hot beverage. Tea is one of the most relaxing things I indulge, especially green tea. There are lots of good kinds out there now that have a cool mix of flavor combinations. I usually have coffee in the morning and green tea in the afternoon. It helps lower the stress partly because of the mindful process you need to take while making it, and also because of the powerful antioxidants inside the tea. Makes me want a cup right now.
23. Framing. This one is particularly helpful in regards to things at work, but can also help at home too. Framing is making yourself conscious of the fact that no matter what happens, you are going to be okay.
If you don’t land the big account, make a sale, get a promotion, or even if you get laid off, you are going to be alright. Why? Because you got there once before, and you can get there again.
Sometimes failing is the best way to teach us how to achieve greater success in the long run.
I hope that these tips have been helpful. If you have some ideas or techniques that you use to eliminate stress, post them in the comments. Know someone who experiences a great deal of stress and needs help with it? Share this article with them via one of the social media tools at the top of the article. It could be just what someone needed.