7 Powerful Ways to Manage Stress (Without Becoming A Monk)
Today, the idea of leading a stress-free life sounds like a saint-like aspiration. It’s now the Holy Grail for all to find that heightened level of peace and contentment that we only picture in the monks, clad in robes, chasing after something intangible, only measured by mind’s depth!
The culture around us has etched stress so deep into our lifestyle, even aspiring to live without it seems godly. And perhaps this is one of the biggest reasons why so many of us – beyond listening to Tony Robbins and Brian Tracy – do not even attempt to manage the stress level that drains our energy every day.
We have, in fact, trained ourselves to make a life filled with stress. From the moment we get up in the morning, we start reeling under its burden- be it at home, office, school and the like; how we plan the day, the demon called ‘stress’ seems to be constantly gnawing at our life!
Is this YOU?
Your ‘friend’ is scheduled to pay you a visit the same week you have to attend a party. And you’re sweating buckets. Is this you?
Or, you forgot to carry your phone to work and you think the world is coming to an end. Is this you?
Or wait, this would certainly be you: your classmate got 200 Facebook likes on his last picture and you’re worried whether you will be able to hit the same numbers or more in your next upload. Right?
In today’s world where our world is shaped around success, suitability and being social – all of which must be 10/10 – we are stressing even on the tiniest of things.
People get anxious, angry and stressed if someone cuts them in a crowd or if someone is innocently making a humming sound. Our emotions have been bottlenecked with a very thin cork at the end that can literally explode anytime.
Stress has become chronic now, which spurs into many underlying physical and psychological diseases, hence becoming one of the biggest killers in modern civilization.
Did you know the annual healthcare costs in the USA due to workplace stress is $190,000,000,000? (Source)
How to manage stress?
Thankfully, away from the mainstream perception, managing stress is much simpler than you really think it is!
And you don’t necessarily have to give up your current lifestyle and become a monk to lead a happy and peaceful life. Just minor changes in your habits here and there will do the trick for you.
Yes, really—it’s easy.
So, here are 7 powerful (and simple) ways to manage your stress:
1. Track your stress level
Now an integral part of our lives, so many people do not even recognize that they are indeed stressed out and this is one of the biggest challenges. Because you can’t fix the problem if you don’t know it exists in the first place.
So, the first step in solving this problem is actually identifying it. Understand how stressed you are. Is it just a way of life which actually helps in your daily functioning or is your emotional health taking a toll on your well-being?
Answer such questions and recognize how deep you are in troubled water.
Once you figure it out, move on to recognizing the real causes behind this problem. List these causes on a piece of paper. It’s important to do this if you are to devise the effective solutions.
Be extremely detailed in explaining your causes. DON’T go “oh, it’s just the office and boss”. Explain what is it about your office and boss that triggers your stress level.
The causes could be plenty and diverse. Like…
Categorically figuring out the real causes will help you map the right solutions very easily and quickly.
So, track your stress level and then identify the root causes.
2. Stop working too hard
Call it the fanaticism towards entrepreneurship or obsession to succeed, many people believe hard work is the key to lead a happy life. Because it is what leads to success and success is what we use as synonym to happiness these days.
Needless to say, the truth cannot be farther.
For instance, the life of Steve Jobs. He is considered as the greatest entrepreneur of the modern time. He co-built the first trillion-dollar US public company. He was rich. He was successful.
But did he really live a happy and content life? Likely not if one reads his autobiography and listens to people close to him. The struggles in personal life were the biggest source of his unhappiness.
He worked hard, he succeeded, yet the large part of his life was filled with discontentment.
What we’re trying to say is that people must give up their ideologue that life is all about hard work. Because it is not!
There’s much more to life than this. Family, hobby, traveling, staring at the moon, talking to friends, sitting on the beach, playing with the kid—these are equally important like your work is!
So, please stop working so hard at your workplace that it actually comes to haunt you in your mind and exhaust you off your emotions.
Whether you’re working in a 9-5 job or own a business—take it easy, draw a line, prioritize and take things as it comes. Compartmentalize well when you are juggling with your personal and professional commitments. Many people are in a bad habit of bringing their office to home—don’t be one of them!
Explore so many other things that are outside your work. Give them some of your time. Or, you will burnout, which is the biggest source of stress, anxiety, anger, and unhappiness.
In short, stop working too hard that you can’t really take in! When compared to your happiness, it’s not worth it.
3. Get rid of negative people from your life
The quote reads: “You’re the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with”. And it’s as true as it gets.
If you’re hanging around with people who are stressed out themselves – who are yelling all the time and are, at large, a bad influence on others – you will turn up to be exactly like them.
It’s important to be careful when forming your group or squad. Know whom to associate yourself with and whom to ignore without feeling any sense of remorse.
So, identify the people in your life who are a negative influence on your thoughts and emotions. It could be someone as distant as your mailman or someone as close as your best friend. Find them and get rid of them.
These people pass on their negative energy to you, which then triggers your stress level and other damaging feelings and habits.
Know who these people are and stay as far as possible from them. In a week or two, you will feel the positive change in your life, helping you to alienate stress and overall attitude.
4. Wake up early (please!!!)
One cannot emphasize more on just how essential waking up early is towards how you feel, what thoughts you foster and how you carry yourself throughout the day.
There’s a reason why CEOs around the world swear by their morning routine because they know how positively this habit pans into their emotions.
Breathing in the fresh morning air, sipping in your coffee, and reading your favorite book for the next one hour—this alone is the biggest stress buster.
If you’re not a bibliophile, instead of reading, just stare at the cornflower blue sky dappled with clouds, look at the birds and connect with Nature.
There’s something about dawn that assemble all your thoughts, trade the good ones with the not-so-good ones together, leaving you to feel life in its true essence!
No matter what your worries are and how you were feeling the last night, you will instinctively feel much relaxed and stress-free. And this will act as the pivotal point making your rest of the day, amazing!
So, make it a habit to give an early start to a day when you wake up with loads of energy or sans it! For this, it’s important that you hit the bed at the right time.
5. Train your thoughts to flow free
Did you know our brain makes 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 calculations per second? That’s mind-bogglingly-amazing!
Now imagine if you start focusing on even 10s of these calculations. You will go crazy.
To combat this, in today’s world, we must learn how to let go off our thoughts and feel relaxed without investing any energy in any one of them.
Look at this way: You’re in a middle of the road with cars coming from either side. You will be scared, stressed and angry. Now imagine if you’re just sitting in the sideway and looking at the same cars pass you by. This is easier and relaxing, is it not?
Here, the road is our brain and cars our thoughts. You cannot stop the thoughts—even monks can never do that. You simply have to pull yourself out from the middle of the road and position in the sideways.
You must train your mind to NOT linger on all the thoughts but to let them flow by your attention like those free cars on the road.
This basic approach – which isn’t defensive (like trying to control your thoughts) but offensive (letting them do what they want) – can literally change your entire life.
It’s a permanent solution to stress pulling you down in life. You see a thought coming to your mind, which triggers your emotion (stress). But you don’t react to it. You just let it be there. You will be much at ease and peace.
So, train your thoughts to flow freely. Meditation is the way to go to make this happen.
6. Get some exercise every day
You’re awake early already. You’re even meditating. Why not invest some time in running and lifting?
And let’s not kid—you want that hot bod that men swoon over. And you also want that calm and charismatic composure, right?
So, make it a habit to exercise every morning for at least 30 minutes. One day hit the gym, the other day run or indulge in some physical activities in your local park. To get results, invest in the right pre-workout and recovery supplements.
Also, if you want a healthier physical appearance, which itself can have plenty of positive effects, you can also purchase high-quality fat-burning products.
It has been proven time and again: exercising releases a chemical in your body called endorphins. This chemical triggers a positive response in your body, which slays the stress quotient in your life and make you feel happier.
A consistent flow of endorphins can help you battle depression, anxiety, and chronic stress rather easily.
We know you’re extremely busy and you would rather opt for aimlessly scrolling through your social media feeds than workout. But sadly, it’s a trade with no bargain.
If you’re really serious about managing your stress effectively and improving your lifestyle, you must exercise. There’s no other way to it. So, make some room for it in your life to welcome positive changes.
7. Take up minimalism
The basic concept of minimalism is something highly messed up today. The general perception is that if you are to lead a minimalistic lifestyle, you must give up all your world possessions (and likely head to the Himalayas in search of nirvana). This idea is flawed!
Minimalism is basically about keeping a check on your needs, means, and expectations. It’s about feeling happy and satisfied with as less as you have.
This doesn’t mean you give up your smartphone—it means you give up on your dreams to buy a ‘better phone’. It doesn’t mean you bid adieu to the people in your life and find solace in seclusion—it means you curb down on your expectations and feel good with whatever the people around you are offering.
In fact, it is even scientifically proven that minimalism leads to higher level of happiness. (Source)
So, if you take up this form of lifestyle, which is more about checking and controlling than giving up, you will automatically see your stress, anger, and anxiety plummeting down significantly.
It’s a much holistic and long-term way of resolving your stress problem that promises to fix every aspect of your life, uniformly. So, say goodbye to the dreams of a big house and BMWs. Say hellos to family bond and travel experience.
These are 7 powerful ways to manage your stress level—without turning yourself into a monk.
These steps are habit-forming that will take some time to deliver you the desired outcome. Also, implementing them won’t necessarily come easy as breaking your current cycle of habits is difficult. So, don’t expect the rewards to come overnight!
You’ve got to be consistent with your efforts. It will take some time., determination and diligent working towards your goal. But, again, if you’re serious about managing stress in your life like a champion, you must make all the efforts.
Just begin today. That’s the most difficult part. Once the wheels are on run and you are able to do it for at least 21 days, the rest that follows will become incredibly easier.
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