Stress can seriously affect the quality of your life. Having loads stress diminishes your sense of gratitude and contentment. It can lead to burnout, general dissatisfaction, complicated health issues, and premature aging.
How you cope with stress levels and uncontrollable situations plays a big role in your well-being. While you may not be able to control all external influences such as your boss, your kids, the unpaid bills, the neighbor’s barking dog, bad news on TV, etc., you can develop strategies to better manage your reactions to these factors.
You have the power to lessen the impact of external stressors on your health, your mind, and your emotions. While completely eradicating the stress components may not be probable, you can take some steps to help you experience happiness regardless of your circumstances.
Here are some simple steps to help you live a happy and stress-free life:
1. Stay in the current moment.
You may not have been aware of this, but it is common to worry about too many things at the same time. You may be currently working on a spreadsheet that’s due at 3 pm but your mind drifts off to tomorrow’s presentation which triggers a surge of anxiety. In the next instant, a memory of your last year’s vacation pops into your mind and you experience a longing to be lounging poolside. Then you find yourself suddenly cursing the moment and hating your job.
Entertaining all these thoughts simultaneously distracts your present focus and compounds your stress factors. It makes you less productive and unnecessarily miserable.
The first step to a stress-free life is to learn how to deal with thoughts of the past or the future that disturb you while you’re working on the “now.” When these distracting thoughts cross your mind, acknowledge them but don’t get carried away on the tide. Quietly tell yourself “Yes, that was a good vacation and I’ll do it again soon. But I need to do this task right now” and then store those thoughts away. Bring yourself back to the present and stay focused on your current task.
2. Make a checklist and timetable.
To avoid getting overwhelmed with your multitude of duties, you need to have a plan. You can draw monthly and weekly plans to help you keep track of your deliverables. Make a checklist and a corresponding timetable at the start of the week to guide you through your list of tasks. Having a checklist lessens your mental stress because you can refer to it anytime to check for reminders or to monitor progress.
When listing your target deliverables, make sure that you only set reasonable goals. Remind yourself that you are not a superhero and therefore, you can only do so much. Make a schedule that is flexible enough to accommodate probable adjustments and interruptions.
3. Avoid procrastination.