How To Become Stress Free In 10 Steps

This post is as a follow-up to my earlier thought of the day build a stress free life so if you haven’t already read that then read it here.

As you probably already know, high levels of stress leads to a poor physical and mental wellbeing and a reduced life span. Stress has been shown to increase your rick of cancer, lung disease, fatal accidents and even suicide. It even effects little every day things in a negative way, it reduces your ability to control emotions which leads to a poor performance at work and in social situations. Your overall happiness will lower, you will look older and be more prone to illness as you immune system weakens.

If you want to lead a successful life then you need to get your stress levels under control, success means more than just being rich. It doesn’t matter how rich you are if are not happy, happiness should be the end goal of any life.

10 Ways To Lower Your Stress Levels

Here is a list of the ten most effective ways to reduce stress the I have found most helpful. I will start of with the most obvious and then go on to the more unknown. I will include some obvious ones because all though you probably know what you should be doing to reduce your stress levels I bet you are rarely doing it.

1. Eat well. A poor diet leads to a lack of energy, obesity and disease. All of which lower your moral as well as lead to you finding it harder to perform every day tasks. Start incorporating large amounts of vegetables into your diet, especially dark green ones. Vegetables should make up at least half go your diet and provide the majority of your carbohydrates. Eat small amounts of fruit everyday, and fill up the rest of your diet with lean meats.

2. Exercise regularly. As well as giving you a stringer heart and raising your moral as you see yourself progress physically exercise releases endorphins. Endorphins are a hormone which causes you to be happy, so exercising literally makes you happy and there’s nothing you can do about it.

Go out running in the open air, widen your mind. As you run outside you will begin to see the problems in your life that seem so large are not so big after all, most of the problems in life that cause large amounts of stress are really quite trivial.

3. Avoid stimulants. Alcohol, nicotine and caffeine are all stimulants, this serves to increase your stress levels rather than decrease them, also once the effects wear off you are left on a low, you will be in a worse mood than when you began. Replace these drinks with water or herbal teas.

4. Sleep at least 8 hours per day. Make sure your bed is comfortable and in a tranquil and clean place, make sure you relax before you go to bed to ensure a deep sleep. In your sleep you brain thinks through all the problems in your life and tries to make sense of them, after a good nights sleep you will wake with a greater sense of clarity.

5. Find out exactly what causes you stress. It may be something that you didn’t expect to that is causing you stress, to find out exactly what is making your life harder start keeping a stress diary. Monitor your thoughts and feelings and record them at the end of the day, record everything that you did that day. You will begin to see a correlation between certain activities and your stress level.

6. Start cutting out stressful things. Now you know what causes you stress you can begin to work around it, sometimes just knowing the cause can go along way to reducing your stress. You can begin to think of new ways to perform certain tasks, perhaps reduce your workload or interspersed different tasks. In drastic cases you may need to change your life entirely, but that’s up to you.

7. Learn to say no. Learn your limits and don’t go beyond them, many people become stressed because they try to work hard than their body can cope with. Your mind can be more motivated than your body can keep up with. Listen to your body and adjust your workload to suit it. Everyone can manage different amounts of work, it is no indication of how hard-working you are you just need to respect your body.

8. Admit your feeling to yourself. If you are getting down, tired or angry frequently then don’t ignore it, these are signs you need to slow down. You are not invincible so don’t ignore you weak points, they will just come back to haunt you. A day of today can save you a mental break down in a years time.

9. Treat your self. Make sure you find time to spend at least two hours per week doing something you really enjoy, small and frequent treats can have a drastic effect on your mental and physical well-being. Don’t save up all your fun time for holidays, every week should be fun.

10. Live for the 80%. most people live their lives for the weekend, if you find yourself dreading Mondays and seeking Saturdays then you have the wrong life. If you live for the weekends then you are only going to enjoy 20% of your life. You are not a happy person if only 20% of your time is spent having fun. Make yourself a life where you enjoy every single day, you should be skipping out of bed not dragging yourself out of it.

Image credit: edited from Alonso Inostrosa Psijas Flickr

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